AS A CUSTOM HOME BUILDER FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS, Jerry Meek has helped many clients create their ideal kitchens. Usually, however, they want to start from scratch with a new space—not model it after one they were leaving behind.
“I think this may have been a first for us,” says Meek, president of Desert Star Construction in Arizona.
He explains that his clients loved their old home, which he and his team had also built. But with their children now older and on their own, they were ready to downsize to a more manageable space.
Their previous house pulled its themes from 17th-century Europe and could have passed for an old villa in the South of France.
“They wanted that same feel on a smaller scale,” Meek says, “so that defined the whole project, and it’s how we approached the kitchen.”
Indeed, says interior designer Karen Rapp, the new kitchen—like the home itself—is “just like something you’d find in Provence.”
French Countryside Home in Arizona
The walls, for example, are hand-chipped limestone, while the weathered wood beams spanning the 11-foot ceiling came from an aging house in Belgium.
The flooring is antique terra-cotta ceiling tiles reclaimed from a home in France, and old-world details like an arched Dutch door make the room seem transported from another time.
Carefully carved, dark-stained oak shelves sit on stone corbels next to a plaster hood. And in a corner stands an antique bonnetiere (an 18th-century French wardrobe)—a monument worthy of the desert mountain visible through the kitchen windows.
“That piece is truly beautiful,” says Rapp, who also worked with Meek on the clients’ previous home. “When they bought it, it was in total disrepair, but a master craftsman we like to work with restored it and refinished it.”
The space doesn’t sacrifice function for beauty, however. That bonnetiere holds glassware and dishes, and the range, sink, and refrigerator form a perfect work triangle.
Then there’s the kitchen’s substantial centerpiece: an island the homeowners brought with them from their previous home and had trimmed down to fit the smaller space.
“It has a 2½-inch-thick butcher block countertop,” Meek says. “Like everything in there, it’s meant to be used every day.”The kitchen was put to the test early on when the homeowners threw a party for everyone involved in the home’s construction.
“You could tell they were happy with how it turned out,” Meek
says. “It’s just what they wanted—it feels like home.”
View the original article as featured in the Spring 2019 issue of Beautiful Kitchens and Baths by Meredith Publishing.
WRITER Chris Hayhurst
PHOTOS Laura Moss
FIELD EDITOR Jessica Brinkert Holtam