The Kitchens at Bedford

I recently sat down and counted the number of kitchens that Martha oversees at her various residences. There are 13 kitchens that I am aware of, and there are likely several more hidden away in the outbuildings and work areas of her homes. Skylands has at least three kitchens. Lily Pond Lane has two. Her Manhattan apartment has one and there are at least seven kitchens on her property in Bedford (yes, I said seven!) and probably more!

It is these kitchens - the kitchens of Cantitoe Corners - that I will post about today. In my view, these kitchens can teach us so much about streamlining the busiest room in the house and they say a lot about Martha's personal tastes. The sum of their parts and the collective lessons they impart really do deserve a book all their own: "Martha's Kitchens." Wouldn't that be a fun book to read?

Below, I've categorized the kitchens at Cantitoe Corners by abode. There are five houses on the property, as well as numerous out buildings. Each house has a kitchen (or two) and I thought it would be fun to explore some of them. I hope you enjoy this collection.

The main kitchen in Martha's 1925 farmhouse - the one she uses every day - was a new addition to the home when she purchased it in 2000. It is a large space that acts as a connective hub between the main house and her large entertaining room, known as the Brown Room, which extends from the south wall. The outdoors can be accessed through front, side and back doors and there is a lot of light from the numerous windows. Marble-topped surfaces provide durability and great looks that pair nicely with the sycamore-veneer cabinetry, stained a light grey hue. The cabinets were designed by architect Beth Weinstein and they were constructed by Bruce Bjork of Bjork Carle Woodworking in Brooklyn. The kitchen (indeed much of the house) is painted a warm shade of grey: Bedford Grey, one of Martha's signature paint colours available at the Home Depot. Martha opted for open shelving for much of the kitchen, particularly for plates, cups, glasses and serveware that is used daily. A professional cappuccino maker, shown above, is one of Martha's favourite installments.
For the center of the room, Martha designed two large kitchen islands. One is stationary and the other is set on castors. It can be wheeled anywhere in the room for additional space or prep surface but is used primarily for casual dining. The stationary island is used for food preparation and houses more shelving below for storage. The kitchen is fully equipped with professional-grade appliances and cookware: two banks of double ovens, a professional grill and gas elements, two refrigerators, two dishwashers and two deep marble sinks. This is a kitchen designed for frequent (and heavy!) use. The floor is reclaimed marble from a house she once owned in the Hamptons: a modern Gordon Bunshaft home that has since been demolished. It is cool in the summer and retains the heat in the winter, plus withstands heavy traffic from guests and pets alike.
The room is bright with windows on three sides. The windows are kept mostly unadorned. A light, opaque shade acts as a privacy screen at night and shields intense sunlight without darkening the space. Two deep apron sinks made of marble make clean-up a breeze. 
Clockwise: Martha, of course, thinks of everything. The stationary island has room to store linens and is equipped with electrical sockets for portable appliances, such as mixers. Baking pans have found a niche here too in elongated, vertical storage spaces nestled into the island. On one wall, Martha has installed what she calls "command central" - a media center with a large-screen television, stereo system and plenty of jacks and sockets for computers and phones. (She is a media mogul, after all!) An assortment of teas is neatly stacked on a marble shelf with several teapots above.
Next to the elements, grill and ovens, Martha keeps a stainless-steel caddie filled with canisters that proffer all manner of utensils: whisks, spoons, spatulas, brushes, tongs, sieves and ramekins that hold frequently-used spices. 
The kitchen connects to the formal dining room in the main house via a room called the servery. It is ostensibly a very large butler's pantry that enhances the kitchen's functionality by expanding the storage space and providing an area to plate food before it is taken into the dining room. The room is equipped with refrigerator drawers and warming ovens to keep food at an appropriate temperature before it is served. It has an extra sink and an extra dishwasher, plus plenty of storage drawers for table linens, place mats, napkins, flatware and serving dishes. Two glass cabinets hold additional glassware and dinnerware while another marble-topped island on castors in the center of the servery provides extra counter space. It is a lovely space with windows on both sides and double doors leading to the dining room.
Some of Martha's Drabware, shown in one of the custom-built glass cabinets in the servery.

Adjacent to the farmhouse is the tenant cottage, a small abode that Martha's daughter, Alexis, uses when she visits the farm with her kids. Alexis designed much of the interior space herself, including the kitchen, which continues much of the same design themes and features of the main kitchen in the farmhouse. 

This kitchen is a small space, almost like a galley. Open shelving keeps the space looking clear and bright. Soapstone is used on the counter tops and on the tabletop, which is set here for a casual Thanksgiving dinner. I love the high contrast between the light of the subway tiles and the deep black of the soapstone.
For her holiday brunch in 2012, Martha designated the Tenant House as "the Candy House" and filled the rooms with Christmas candies and confections. In the kitchen, she lined the sleek shelf above the counter with peppermint trees from Hammond Candy. In this photo the attention to detail in the finishes and fixtures is very evident.

When Martha designed the stables with architect Allan Greenberg she knew she wanted to occasionally use this space for entertaining large groups. A kitchen was essential. It is very open with high ceilings and tiled floors, designed for functionality and utility. There are several ranges and a cook top, as well as refrigerator drawers and a long galvanized sink. Much of Martha's collection of copper is stored here. The oversize shelf brackets add a lot of charm and architectural detail.

Beyond the stables, nestled in a grove of maple trees, is the Maple Avenue House, a ranch-style home that Martha uses as her primary guest house. The kitchen in this house is one of my favourites; it is bright, painted a sunny yellow, and has a unique L-shaped layout.
We can see several recurring design themes in Martha's kitchens: open shelving, sturdy flooring, stainless-steel appliances, multiple sinks, the use of soapstone and marble for countertops and sinks, and lots of light. I love the slightly Shaker-style design of this kitchen.
New cabinets mix with antique cabinetry, such as the two shown hanging on the walls to the right of the photo above. The cabinet shown beyond the doorway was re-purposed from Martha's old television studio in Connecticut; it was once used in the potting shed studio to showcase terracotta pots.
Martha keeps much of her Yellowware in this kitchen, which is an effective design decision. Notice the open cupboard door with the slide-out trays that can hold serving pieces.

On the second floor of the Maple Avenue House is a guest apartment that Martha very recently renovated. She added a kitchen here, too, using kitchen cabinetry from the Martha Stewart Living line of kitchens at The Home Depot
The kitchen design used was the Martha Stewart Living Viatera Quartz Collection at The Home Depot. This style is called "Snowcap". The upper cabinets were extended all the way to the ceiling, and finished with simple crown molding. The cabinets were also fitted with glass front doors to make them visually lighter. The upper cabinets were mounted a bit higher than standard ones - 22-inches above the countertop versus 18-inches. A long shelf was installed with corbels underneath to store frequently used items. The base cabinets are "Weston" in Timberline textured laminate. The wall cabinets are Maidstone in "Ocean Floor". The main counter features a cooktop and a sink. Tucked inside the island are two refrigerator drawers.
In front of the sink is a tilt-out drawer for sponges, nail brushes, bottle brushes, etc. This is an ingenious idea! The counters are marble.
Using a pegged board style kept dishes safe from hitting each other, and in place, until they were needed: another great design feature.

Well, those are the principle kitchens at Cantitoe Corners! I hope you found the tour insightful and interesting. There are other kitchens on the property, as well, but it was not easy to find photographs of them. (If anyone has photographs of any kitchen at Bedford that I may have missed, please send them my way.) I am sure the Summer House, for instance, is equipped with a kitchen but it has not been shown to my knowledge. The Contemporary House on the property likely has a full kitchen as well, although this is the one house on the property that Martha has not yet renovated. There is also a very small kitchen adjacent to the Flower Room, which is located in the same building that houses Martha's garages. Below, you can see Chef Pierre Schaedelin of PS Tailored Events working with his assistant in this kitchen.
As for the outbuildings, such as the large structure that houses Martha's gym, hobby room and homekeeping room, there is sure to be a kitchen or two that has so far escaped the lenses of Martha's photographers and editors. This is why we need a book about Cantitoe Corners! (Martha, if you're reading this, please do take note!)


Anonymous said...

Years ago on MS's TV show, which network I'm not sure --she introduced the Bedford, NY location. Andrew do you remember which segment that it aired? So many kitchens and an Aga range or two to boot--- Anyway through all these years of educating people how to cook you would think MS would take the bull by the horns and say enough is enough. The school children of America deserve better then the lackluster meals served by the food service personnel of many a school cafeteria. And those trays honestly segmented trays screams Institutional food not a good message . The Congress and all the agricultural subsidies paid out to farmers not to grow crops and the poor diets and obese children in this country consuming potato chips and soda is an abomination. Recent repots state cows are wrecking havoc on the environment with methane gas and such well some enterprising individual just received a Buckminister Fuller award for his developing and harvesting from the sea. If cows are fed seaweed will the ozone layer stop shrinking who knows -- Martha needs to step up to the Plate and save the children. And Parents need to stop kowtowing to childish demands of junk food. Back to the kitchens the charm of filming her cooking segments on location on the farm is not so much as the PBS series is shot in a studio.


I think Martha has done quite a lot to educate the public on healthy eating: several cookbooks on the subject, numerous articles in Martha Stewart Living, even a magazine called Whole Living devoted to healthy eating practices. Jamie Oliver is championing the cause of educating schools and school boards about getting healthy food into cafeterias and I think Martha does so in her way, through her media channels.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, and fun to read :) I so agree with you that it would be great with a book about Marthas kitchens (my favourite room in my house)!! I've got her old book about how she redid her house in Turkey Hill - and I love it. It would be really interesting with books about her other properties as well, both interiors and gardens. I would also love to see the floorplans.

I favour the same kitchen that you do - it was actually the inspiration for my own kitchen when I renovated it a couple of years ago :)

Anonymous said...

I have a wonderful kitchen that my husband remodeled a year ago and I love it. It has tons of counter space and storage. These pictures of Martha's kitchens are so well done and beautifully organized. My only problem would be remembering what was kept in which kitchen! I'd need sticky notes up and down my arms to remember where I needed to go to access what I was looking for. Would definitely keep one active.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the excellent work putting together this blog on Ms Stewart's kitchens.
I 100% agree the Maple Ave Kitchen is the nicest and most welcoming ( the renovated Turkey Hill Kitchen was another beautiful example of MS design talent). While I realize there is a different design style and use, I find the main house kitchen slightly too utilitarian.. Although I believe I recently noticed a photo with copper pots now hanging over the island which has warmed up the look of the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for compiling this post, great work! Love these kitchens, classic Martha details :) I would love a book devoted to her kitchens.