The kitchen, it is often said, is the heart of a home, a central place of gathering and sharing. To get it “just right,” to create that place of comfort and welcome, is always an aspiration. And who doesn”t enjoy a glimpse into how homeowners, designers and builders turn the vision into a reality? So, on Saturday, April 25, the Columbus Girlchoir presents three of Columbus” newer kitchens, open for tour, ready to offer inspiration for your own building or remodeling plans.
The fundraiser, organized by the Girlchoir board of directors, will feature the North Columbus kitchens of Mary Anna and Douglas Ford, at 1427 Greenbriar Drive; Welissa and Gregg Rader, at 150 Briarbend Drive; and Nikki and Dr. Jay Wiygul, at 106 Sweetbriar Lane.
While the kitchens are the stars of the show, ticketholders will also be treated to appetizers provided by The Front Door/Back Door, The Grill and Huck”s Place. Floral designers including the Ivy Cottage and Beth Jamison will create lovely arrangements for the occasion, and tablesettings by Belk”s, Gifts, Etc. and Pizazz will showcase china and decor. To add to the incentives, sponsors Frye Tile, The Granite Guys and River City Stone will be on hand to answer questions and offer kitchen design advice.
Tour tickets are $20 per person, available at the Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main St.; Military Hardware Gift and Garden Center, 1002 13th St. N.; or from any Girlchoir member or board member.
The Tour of Kitchens marks the first fundraiser for the 5-year-old nonprofit Girlchoir, directed by Dr. Cherry Dunn. Funds raised will help send 30 senior choir members in June to the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans, La., where they will perform in Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.
Girlchoir board of directors President Jim Mauldin said, “We”re working hard toward raising money to support the choir in attending the festival. It”s a very big honor to be asked, and it will be such a broadening learning experience for the girls.”
While architectural styles, materials and decor make each home unique, a common theme is an openness that helps make the kitchen the central nerve center of the house.
“Ours is comfortable, homey,” says Welissa Rader, of her family”s 3-year-old kitchen. “Old pine flooring from Indianola” creates a visual flow throughout the spacious floor plan from kitchen to breakfast area and then into a cozy sitting area.
“It”s very open, very simple. And very kid-friendly; this is pretty much where we live,” the mother of Bailey, 16, Bryce, 18, and Blakeney, 20, added.
While the Rader”s favor neutrals, Mary Anna and Douglas Ford opted for color in the home they moved into about a year ago with their son, Dalton, 10.
Three different colors — red, green and golden brown — grace the walls of the casual space that also encompasses a breakfast area, dining room and den.
“It”s one big room so we can all be together when I”m cooking and Douglas is watching TV, or Dalton”s doing his homework; we”re all in one room doing it all together.”
Casual is a recurring theme in the Wiygul”s country French kitchen completed about two years ago.
“Our kitchen has a kind of rustic quality to it,” says Nikki, an interior designer with Bella in Columbus.
“I used a lot of old, reclaimed brick and beams we got in Indianola to give it character and warmth.”
The cabinetry features a dual-color paint theme and tumbled marble (marble distressed through a machine process to create an antique effect) adds to the appeal, as do tile floors laid in a French stonework pattern. A hearthroom, with vaulted ceilings, opens from the kitchen.
“I love it because when we built it I didn”t want to have a big rambling house with huge rooms,” said the mom of daughters Alden, 7, and Foster, 12. “I wanted it to feel comfortable and have real warmth, so we have lots of smaller living spaces, open to each other, that are real cozy.”
A bright idea
Mauldin credits board member Ron Locke with the original idea for the tour.
“Ron and several of the board members have worked tirelessly to put together the details of this,” he praised. “We have wonderful board members that are contributing a lot of time and energy in helping girls fulfill their dream of learning to sing and be good performers.
“It brings a lot of joy when you can see these young women grow up and mature with each concert, performing in front of audiences and feeling good about themselves. For me, that”s a real pleasure,” Mauldin expressed.
“I deeply appreciate our board of directors for their wonderful support of the quality choral experiences the Girlchoir offers girls in the Golden Triangle area,” said Dunn of the organization open to girls ages 9 to 18.
In addition to Jim and Margaret Mauldin, current board members include Dr. Debra Atkinson, Dawn Burtram, Barbara Calland, Dr. Eric Daffron, Dr. Cherry Dunn, Diane and Dr. James Gatewood, Martha Kirkley, Ron Locke, Dr. Bridget Pieschel and Anne Wilder.
The Columbus Girlchoir will perform at Relay for Life April 24 at Saunders Field and present a spring concert May 15 in the Jeff Artz Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church at 7:30 p.m.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.