Jon and Kathy Rosell are empty-nesters who keep their grown kids close: They try to have their sons and their families over for dinner every Sunday evening.
It actually happens about every other weekend, says Jon Rosell – the cook of the family.
So when the couple moved to a house in Eastborough last year, one of their first projects was to remodel the kitchen, making it easier for the family to hang out together and making entertaining easier and more fun. The project has been just completed – 30 people came over for Easter dinner – and now the Rosells’ kitchen will be part of a kitchen tour next weekend sponsored by the Junior League of Wichita.
Five kitchens in Eastborough, Lakepoint, Vickridge and Rocky Creek will be on the tour. Proceeds from the $40 tickets will go to the league’s mission of awareness, intervention and prevention of child abuse. A recently launched website, www.childabusewichita.org, is one result of the league’s efforts.
It is because of that mission that the Rosells decided to be on the tour: They both serve on boards that work to combat child abuse.
Interior designer Mitzi Beach led the design of the Rosells’ new kitchen, following the trend of putting usefulness at the top of the priority list.
“It seems like the kitchen is the gathering spot,” Jon Rosell said. So Beach knocked out two walls to open it up, extending the kitchen counter and creating space for a long island of dense Vermont marble.
The island can serve several functions. Bar stools flank the long ends of it so that it can be used as a dining table, and it can also serve as a buffet. At one of the short ends, a refrigerator is built into the island, and at the other end is a built-in cabinet. A rectangular prep sink atop the island also can serve as a sort of ice bucket, keeping chilled food and drinks cold.
Before the renovation, the kitchen looked out on a sunken sunroom that in turn takes in a sweeping view of the backyard. “We wanted to create this connectedness,” Beach said. So the sunroom floor was raised to the level of the kitchen’s, and the sunroom became the dining room, with a long table whose edges are the bark of a tree.
Two existing pass-throughs in the kitchen look out over the family room and the new dining room, providing a variety of views and creating a coziness.
“This is great for empty-nesters,” Kathy Rosell says. “We don’t want it to be so big.”
The Rosells’ house illustrates that what’s been called downsizing doesn’t necessarily mean less space these days, but using space well, Beach says.
In the future for the Rosells’ house: an outdoor kitchen that includes a pizza oven.