Anne, a retired information technology manager at Bank of America, and Mike, a retired toxicologist at Chevron, love to travel. A recent trip saw them riding the historic railroads of Colorado. Mike, a train and photography buff, will enjoy their next vacation as well—touring Utah's five national parks in the company of a professional photographer.
Anne, a master gardener, and Mike also enjoy walking the neighborhood, local trails, and regional parks with their Australian shepherd, Kylie.
But they enjoy few things more than entertaining family and friends, and that's where their new kitchen shines.
"There's plenty of room around the island for preparation. Our daughter and her boyfriend, and our son Phil and his new bride, everybody can cook together," Anne says. "A couple of people can work on the salad or dessert and somebody else on the main dish. It just works out very well."
They've thrown a Thanksgiving dinner for 18 and an engagement party for 40-plus guests. They expect big crowds in the future. "Phil's wife comes from a large family," Anne says.
The island, of easy-to-maintain Caesarstone quartz, gets use throughout the day, with a lower, wood-paneled portion providing a place to read the paper or snack. It's also where neighborhood kids do craft projects. "I've been a surrogate grandma to them," Anne says.
The Cissons' favorite feature, however, is the breakfast nook, a glass-walled corner that connects kitchen to backyard. Originally a closed-off laundry room, it's where they eat most meals. "You can't beat the view," Anne says.
None of this would have been half so pleasant before the remodel.
After two years in the home, the Cissons began shopping for architects and contractors. "The bathroom got us, and the kitchen," Anne says of their motivation for the remodel.
Their complaints about the kitchen included poor storage. "The cabinets were so high, and Anne is so short," Mike says.
The kitchen "had no view while cooking or cleaning up," Anne says. "You had to actually bend over to talk to people in the family room, through a little pass-through. It wasn't very conducive for get-togethers or just conversation."
The kitchen project, which grew into a complete house remodel, began with Joe DeCredico. GDeS suggested "some things that we didn't even imagine would be possible," Mike says.
These included removing a structural wall to open up the kitchen, redoing the floor plan in the entire area, and creating the breakfast nook. "You want to take advantage of your backyard," DeCredico told them.
The initial design thoughts continued to develop with Garcia, who now heads Garcia Studio. "The design evolved as we went through the process," Anne says.
Together with Garcia and often with Steele, Anne visited showrooms and shops. Before choosing Miele appliances, they had lunch with the Miele chef. "It was so much fun. I loved it," says Anne, who once wanted to be a designer herself.
It was Garcia who suggested dividing the new kitchen into four sections: breakfast nook, kitchen proper, scullery, and laundry room—the latter two with translucent sliding doors to let in light while blocking sound.
Dirty dishes are out of sight and can be washed without disturbing guests that remain in the kitchen.
Anne loves the storage, drawers artfully arranged with pegs to keep dishes in place, and dishes stored inches from the dishwasher for easy transfer.
In the kitchen, 'prep towers' keep all baking goods and tools in one spot, all spices and oils in the other—in both cases, just where they are needed.
Anne, who generally prepares simple meals, says, "I'm working on becoming a better cook. The kitchen inspires me."
Photos: David Toerge & Mathew Millman