Prefab Home Custom Kitchen Design
11 guests gathered around a 4 by 12 foot food prep island, which is surfaced in a fine Italian marble. In full view are a pork roast, fresh tomatoes, basil and other herbs, newly rolled-dough and a pasta maker, plus the chef’s hand-printed cookbook. The large open room includes a view of the breakfast room and budding garden beyond. A family room with coffered ceiling and patio-access is off to the right.
Chef Luca Tinti, a rising star in culinary circles, is holding a class on how to prepare a full menu ranging from Parmesan flan to herb-crusted pork to biscotti.
He is the featured talent at Foresteria Villa Cerna in Tuscany’s Chianti district, a spot Trip Advisor ranks as one of Italy’s top culinary destinations. He’s also engaged to Claudia Tersio, sister of the home’s owner Rita Tersio.
“We just wanted to welcome Luca to the family, and share some of his five-star recipes with neighbors” Rita Tersio said, “ But we also responded to several people who wanted to see just how customized a kitchen designed from a modular construction process can be.”
Rita Tersio with husband Marcelo Dobrauchi operates Terranova Construction K&B in Tyson’s Corner. It has been a principal as one of northern Virginia’s more prolific home remodeling shops since the late 1990s. As a rule, the couple concentrates on remodeling solutions in conventionally constructed “stick-built” homes.
But in 2003 on a business trip in Pennsylvania they witnessed a pre-constructed home component being whisked through the air on crane and decided to investigate current technologies in the modular home sector.
“It was obvious from what we saw that a modular home is more solidly constructed than a house built by traditional methods,” Rita said. “We decided to become more familiar with the current practices. As builders, we wanted to know how effectively a home coming out of this process could be customized.”
One thing led to another and last year the couple purchased a half acre lot in Vienna, which soon became the site of the 4,200 square foot two-level modular home the couple had shepherded from rough sketches to the finely detailed residence they now occupy. The home was onsite—finished—in about three months.
“A fascinating learning experience,” she commented. “Interestingly, there’s nothing about this house that isn’t comparable to a custom-built home in every respect. The differences arising from the modular home process are all advantages: you can have a fully finished house on your site in a few months, and for about 15 percent less than the cost of building the same house through conventional methods.”
Meanwhile, back at the cooking class, Chef Luca is putting the new kitchen through paces:
“This space was obviously designed for serious cooking. For instance, there are sources of water in all the right places,” he said, pointing to the pot-filler behind the gas range, the sink on the food prep island and the bow-shaped farm sink on a parallel wall.
“Then there’s a professional caliber gas range. Several ovens. Pull-out spice racks. It’s not merely an exceptionally well-organized plan; it also provides work stations for a whole range of steps necessary for sophisticated cooking.”
The food prep island (which doubles as a three-stool dining counter) is perfectly positioned to support work triangles formed by perpendicular counter surfaces on either side of an archway which, in turn, segues to the butler’s pantry and formal dining room beyond.
It’s a plan that allows one dish to marinate, while another is being sautéed on the gas range, and a third is in the warming oven.
As a chef, Tinti is also keen on considerations that put all the necessary tools at his fingertips.
“I can swivel in one direction and find cooking utensils, specially-sized pots and pans, and mixing bowls in custom-designed drawers” he said. “In the pantry, there’s a special cubby for the pasta-maker. There’s even a case for cookbooks built into the island.”
None of this praise is a surprise to Dobrauchi, who is a seasoned kitchen designer locally renowned for beautifully-articulated interiors built-around well-integrated work triangles. Still, the ease of realizing this kitchen’s lovely finish work did come as something of a revelation.
“My experience in designing this house may be somewhat like that of a playwright who is so close to every detail of his work that he’s completely forgotten about the audience until opening night,” he said. “Suddenly people are excited about effects they are seeing for the first time, and all I can say is—Yes, that’s the reaction I intended to inspire.”
That said, Dobrauchi is equally enthused about the home’s master bathroom, formal dining room—and the old-world elegance of the spacious family room.
“The prefab home design process can remove a lot of drudgery because you have the option to work with pre-existing templates,” he said. “On the other hand, there’s nothing you can’t adapt to your requirements, and this allows the homeowner to concentrate on interior design, which is the arena where they really get to express themselves.”
Article Credit: John Byrd – Fairfax Times
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