Expert Kitchen Design

HGTV Magazine offers a peek inside the kitchen of caterer Peter Callahan. The cooking pro shares his kitchen design tips with organization ideas, timesaving tools and budget tricks.

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  • A Caterer Knows

    Peter Callahan has been a caterer for 26 years and has organized everything from over-the-top engagement parties to U.S. State Department soirees. Even though it's just him, his wife, Josephine, and their daughter, Juliet, 12, in the house, Peter designed his own 1920s Haverford, Pa., kitchen \"for fast flow like a commercial kitchen.\"

  • Smart Design

    The real genius of Peter's room is that, despite its hard-working design, it feels personal and homey. \"Our kitchen gives us the opportunity to do things as a family. We cook together, test recipes and have great conversations in-house.\"

  • Storage-Packed Island

    The Callahans designed a 5 1/2-foot-by-6 1/2-foot island at IKEA using the store's premade components, then added stainless hardware. Open shelving at one end holds pots and pans, and cabinetry on the side stores small appliances. There are plenty of drawers to stash flatware, linens, bowls and plates in all sizes.

  • Restaurant-Worthy Hood

    Peter paired a residential Viking range with a commercial-grade Zephyr hood, which has an extra-powerful exhaust fan. \"The best beef and fish dishes need to be seared at a super-high heat to make a delicious crispy crust,\" he says. \"But only the best hoods can handle the amount of smoke that emits.\"

  • Lighting Mix

    A curvy iron chandelier hangs above the island, and another lights the butler's pantry. Both offset the industrial appliances. But since a hard-working kitchen needs more than pretty fixtures to function, the Callahans' space also has lights under the cabinets and in the range hood to spotlight prep and cook spaces.

  • Cabinet Restoration

    The Callahans preserved most of the Shaker-style cabinet doors and rebuilt the ones that were in bad shape to match the originals. \"Restoring rather than replacing saved the character of the space,\" says Peter. They also switched out the original brass hardware for a similar style in nickel to match the stainless steel appliances.

  • Commercial Fridge

    Peter installed a restaurant-grade refrigerator in the kitchen and a freezer in the butler's pantry, each with the capacity of typical residential units, but stripped down of crisper drawers and door shelves. A bonus of commercial refrigeration: an external thermometer for precise temperature control.

  • Family Message Center

    In the pass-through between the kitchen and the butler's pantry hangs a board with a roll of white butcher paper so the Callahans can make lists and leave notes for one another. The whole unit is metal, so magnets stick to it too. For a similar look, try the Wall-Mount Craft Storage Rack With Corkboard ($129, grandinroad.com).

  • Semi-Custom Shelves

    Creating a built-in look doesn't have to break the bank. The Callahans purchased the unit for the glass canisters at a junk store for about $300. To make it blend into the room, they added trim, molding and hardware that match the rest of the cabinets.

  • Marble Countertop

    Here's a clever idea that customizes a space: The IKEA island is topped with Carrara marble (the rest of the kitchen counters are black granite). The top was made by sandwiching two 1 1/2-inch-thick pieces to make a single 3-inch slab — a luxe look for a fraction of the price.

  • Butler's Pantry

    \"Renovations today tend to rip out the butler's pantry and make the kitchen one big open space, but it was one of the things I fell in love with about this house,\" says Peter. A favorite original feature: the built-in slide-out cutting board beside the sink.

  • Stainless Steel Sink

    \"We're big fans of stainless for the sink since we tend to bang around heavy pots, and stainless is pretty invincible,\" says Peter. \"And I like the sink to be deep for washing fruit and veggies.\"

  • Wine Storage

    In place of a pair of cabinets, a built-in wine rack sits on square feet and fits perfectly under the sink, just in front of the pipe. \"I like to use every inch for storage,\" says Josephine. More cabinets were removed to install a wine refrigerator and an icemaker beside the wine rack. \"The wine fridge gets all of our favorite whites, and we keep the pantry cool, so it's a great storeroom for the reds,\" says Peter.

  • Dishes on Display

    Glass-front cabinets are just the spot to show off collections, and the Callahans' is quite eclectic. They picked up the blue goblets to use outside, and even though they're plastic, they look just as pretty as the green glass pitcher and water glasses, and the more formal china.

  • Photo Gallery Wall

    Inspired by her grandmother, who decorated her kitchen with family photos in black frames, Josephine covered nearly every inch of empty wall space with 88 photos of her and Peter's families, going back several generations. To cut down on framing costs, she had a carpenter build custom frames out of glass and inexpensive molding from The Home Depot, which she spray-painted black. \"I love being surrounded by photos from all stages of our family's life,\" says Peter. \"They're probably my favorite things in the room.\"

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Olive Oil

    \"We use olive oil every day, and this is my favorite. It's organic and delicious.\" (Paesano organic olive oil, Whole Foods Market stores)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Bamboo Cutting Board

    \"Bamboo is a solid surface to cut on, plus it's a renewable resource.\" (Large bamboo cutting board, oxo.com)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Cleaning Supplies

    \"I like natural cleaning supplies, but they have to work well, too.\" (Seventh Generation Free & Clear dish liquid and 100% recycled paper towels, grocery stores)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Good Set of Knives

    \"I use lots of knives, but I'm partial to Henckels because they stay sharp.\" (Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro three-piece starter set, cutleryandmore.com)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Recipe Books

    \"My book's full of recipes for mini comfort foods, but Joy of Cooking is like my bible.\" (Bite by Bite, and Joy of Cooking, both barnesandnoble.com)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Deluxe Toaster

    \"This is my favorite gadget; it can toast even the thickest slices of bread.\" (Dualit chrome retro toaster, brookstone.com)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Sea Salt

    \"I can't live without this sea salt — it makes almost anything taste better.\" (Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, surlatable.com)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Heavy-Duty Pans

    \"I'm loyal to All-Clad pots and pans for their even cooking and sturdiness.\" (All-Clad d5 brushed stainless steel fry pan, williams sonoma.com)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Glass Canisters

    \"It's perfect for storing ingredients and keeping snacks fresh.\" (Heritage Hill 256-ounce glass jar with lid, crateandbarrel.com.)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Brass Wool Scrubbers

    \"The way I cook, I need these workhorse scrubbers to clean up afterward!\" (Brass wool sponge, All-Spec Industries)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Classic Stand Mixer

    \"They designed the first stand mixer; this one's still as strong as ever.\" (KitchenAid Artisan series stand mixer, macys.com)

  • Peter's Kitchen Must-Have: Frozen Dinners

    \"Organic frozen soup and a baguette make for a great quick dinner.\" (Tabatchnick organic Tuscany lentil soup, grocery stores)

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