Shannon Poché was sure of one thing when she set about redoing her kitchen in 2014.
“I didn’t want what everybody else had,” she said. “I am anti-trendy.”
This time, she knew exactly what she wanted. Poché had renovated her kitchen 15 years ago when she and husband Jim moved to their Jefferson Place home. The accomplished cook had lived with the kitchen long enough to know what worked and what didn’t.
Her goal was to create a more open, efficient and welcoming area. She also wanted the adjoining den, which hardly anyone used, to be brightened and updated so the Pochés and their three children could actually enjoy the space.
Working with contractor Chris Choppin, Poché came up with a plan.
The first step was to get rid of a breakfast room at the back of the kitchen.
“We had a table there, but what ended up happening is that we all sat around the kitchen island,” Poché said.
Opening up the breakfast room created one large kitchen space, which Poché centered with a long island with a deep wooden top and storage below.
On the front side of the expanded kitchen, she widened the opening to the dining room, and, on the back side, she created a wall of windows that overlooks the backyard.
Wooden walls and cabinets are painted a clean Sea Pearl white. The countertops are stainless steel, and the floors in both the den and kitchen are peacock pavers, handcrafted concrete with the look of old stone. There’s lot of well-planned space for appliances and storage.
Poché’s one extravagance was a combination gas and electric Lacanche French stove with six regular burners, a large center burner, two ovens and a warming cupboard. On the same wall as the stove is a china pantry with antique shutters for doors.
“Chris and I went to The Bank (Architectural Antiques) in New Orleans and picked the old shutters,” she said. “We went through piles of shutters until we found what we wanted.”
Opposite the stove wall is a commercial Nor-Lake refrigerator and freezer.
“These commercial refrigerators and freezers are deeper than regular refrigerators and freezers and much less expensive,” she said.
She also has two dishwashers — one on the dining room side and one on the back wall.
Poché closed in the back porch off the kitchen and created a sunroom-office with a built-in daybed and a long desk covered with the old wood from the breakfast room ceiling.
By reconfiguring space from the kitchen and old porch, she added a large pantry, a tiny bathroom and connected the sunroom to her outside storage.
The den was completely transformed by adding about 12 or so feet to the back, building a new brick fireplace and creating a vaulted ceiling.
“Chris figured that ceiling out,” Poché said. “It was absolutely amazing. He only took 18 inches from the hall upstairs.”
Poché is a huge collector, who admits that she and her mother, Advocate food writer Corinne Cook, “go junking” for interesting things for decorating and cooking.
“I’m kind of a hoarder,” she admitted with a laugh.
You would never know it from her neat kitchen.
With the enormous amount of storage, everything has a place out of sight. Even her spices are tucked away in a concealed cabinet in the wall next to her stove. “I don’t like seeing anything out,” she said. “Electric outlets just kill me. I don’t want to see them.”