Kitchens that amaze — even their owners
Susan and Richard Wolfe's new kitchen in their Oak Park home reflects an open concept. The kitchen will be open for tours Saturday during the Parenthesis Kitchen Walk in Oak Park and River Forest. | Photo courtesy of Mike Coppolino of Caliber Construction and Design
Updated: May 27, 2012 8:19AM
Things will surely be cookin’ Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when Parenthesis Family Center holds its oh-so-popular 27th Annual Kitchen Walk in Oak Park and River Forest.
My kitchen is my hangout place (although I admit, it needs a makeover and I wish one of those TV shows would come to my house!).
These days, a kitchen isn’t just for baking and breaking bread; it’s where we gather.
Parenthesis — an Oak Park-based, non-profit organization providing a wide range of parenting education, counseling, respite, and case management services on a sliding-scale fee basis — is offering the self-guided tour of 10 newly remodeled kitchens.
“We are so grateful to these homeowners,” said Julia Harmon Bell, an Elmwood Park resident chairing the walk. “We have nothing to offer them so without them, we couldn’t do the walk. They not only let us in, they’ve been so gracious. They’ve been great.”
The walk usually pulls in about $50,000 before expenses for Parenthesis, which needs about $350,000 annually to operate out of its rented space in an Oak Park church. The center took a “big hit” this year, losing a $30,000 grant, Bell said.
“It’s nothing too fancy, but for the people who’ve made it part of their lives, it’s been great,” Bell said of Parenthesis. “It’s a terrific program and this kitchen walk is a big part of why it’s able to keep going.”
The stylish kitchens will showcase the work of selected architects and design professionals.
Special stops include Flavour Cooking School in Forest Park, where Chef Denise Norton will offer tour-goers samplings of her work. And Marion Street Cheese Market has specialty cheese samples in another kitchen and will donate 10 percent of the evening’s proceeds to Parenthesis, as will several local restaurants, including Cucina Paradiso.
Oak Parkers Susan and Richard Wolfe are opening their home for Parenthesis’ biggest annual fundraiser not only because it’s for a great cause, but also because they’re proud of the work of contractor Mike Coppolino of Caliber Construction and Designs and River Forest-based designer Mark Menna.
“They really put their hearts in it, plus lots of hard work to make sure everything was done right,” Susan Wolfe said.
She said her house is somewhat small and didn’t have an open-concept kitchen, yet instead of moving or adding an addition to create more space, they opened up three smaller rooms (kitchen, dining room and breakfast room) into one larger, open kitchen and family room. They also opened a wall to the living room.
“We didn’t need a formal dinning room but desperately needed a place to hang out and entertain,” said Wolfe. “The overall space has now been transformed into a more usable space with better flow.
“We couldn’t be happier,” she said. “We’re still amazed every morning when we walk in and see our beautiful new kitchen.”
Get tix in advance at www.parenthesis-info.org and select local retailers for $40. Tickets are $45 on walk day.