Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Kitchen Magic

Easy Home Cooking and Fuss-Free holiday Entertaining



Photos by Jane Beiles // Floral Design by Lemon Dahlia

“It started with the windows,” says homeowner Pam Lillis, recalling how the inspiration for a full-on kitchen renovation began. “We had a small bay window facing the backyard and I was always leaning over the sink to see the trees and the beautiful birds. I really wanted it to be all windows.” 

Pam and her husband Gerry, consulted with Louise Brooks of New Canaan–based architectural design firm Brooks & Falotico. Brooks was able to help Lillis realize her dream—and then some. The entire back wall was pushed out five feet and industrial windows and doors now showcase the backyard, which was once part of a Christmas tree farm. 

The kitchen is massive: 26 feet by 36 feet, with 12-foot ceilings, and it is very much the heartbeat of this home. An integrative health coach, cooking instructor, and master preserver, Lillis spends a lot of time in her kitchen. Every summer she preserves enough fresh tomato purée passata to last the year, and she is legendary in Wilton circles for her award-winning jams and preserves. The pantry is well-stocked with an array of “Pam’s Jams,” including mouth-watering apricot cardamom, chai spiced plum, strawberry balsamic, and lemon fig.

In short, the kitchen is where everything happens—cooking, canning, preserving, family dinners, cooking classes, casual get-togethers, and holiday meals. It is also Lillis’s refuge, a quiet place to sit by the fire with her morning coffee and read a book, knit, or contemplate the view of the tranquil backyard.

“The original kitchen had one huge island,” says Lillis, “but it was so big that at just five feet tall I couldn’t wipe down the entire counter surface. I had to walk all the way around the island and reach far into the center to get it clean. I didn’t need that!” The new design incorporates two functional islands—one in front of the stove for food prep with an extra sink, and another, surrounded by stools and utilized as a place to gather for meals or for baking. 

The current kitchen is über stylish and highly functional. “I guess you could say that the story of this kitchen is both warm and cool,” says Lillis. The “cool” comes from the two blue-gray islands accessorized by modern hammered nickel drawer pulls, the clean lines of the industrial windows and doors, and the sleek gas fireplace recessed in a brick wall. 

The “warm” is reflected in the French country touches: massive hand-hewn reclaimed wood beams, unhoned biscuit-colored marble countertops, and an eye-catching antique kitchen table made of Parisian oak parquet floor tiles. The traditional Shaker-style floor-to-ceiling custom cabinetry is a warm white, and the stove backsplash features complementary oversized ivory subway tiles. The kitchen space is bookended by two rustic brick walls that vary in hue from pale apricot to a robust terracotta. There is a pleasing tension between the modern and traditional features which combine to create an airy, welcoming space. 

Lillis comes naturally to cooking healthfully and inventively. While growing up, her family subscribed to Gourmet Magazine; her father was an enthusiastic cook, and her mother was a lifelong vegetarian. The tradition continues with her four children, Maegan, Casey, and twins Colin and Dan who are all accomplished cooks. 

“I love to entertain and I will always host a book group, knitting group, or any kind of a get-together,” says Lillis. People shouldn’t put so much pressure on themselves when it comes to entertaining. I don’t think most people care about things being perfect. If you make it easy to do, you’ll do it more.

“For instance, this year we’re expecting 35 for Christmas dinner. It will be an easy French farmhouse meal with grilled salmon and steak frites—the frites will be healthy oven-baked fries—butternut squash and spinach gratin, a large green salad, and sourdough bread. Our daughter Maegan will make her beautiful bûche de noel. It’s all easy, which is always the goal. The kitchen really helps with that, too, because the double islands create a great flow for culinary traffic.”

Lillis’s philosophy of simplicity also extends to her seasonal décor. “We don’t decorate a lot for the holidays. My husband and I are at a stage where we’ve been able to simplify and enjoy our favorite things, which include Glitterworks ornaments by my friend, Laurie Davis, fresh flowers from Lemon Dahlia, and a traditional Christmas tree adorned with a Waterford ornament collection from my mother.”

For the past 14 years, Lillis has belonged to a knitting group, wittily named, The Knit Wits. It’s a fun social group of nine members who engage in serious knitting. “Everyone is affiliated with a different non-profit in town. We support each other by using our best yarns to knit special pieces that can be sold at silent auctions for service organizations.” 

The group often knits in front of the fireplace in the home’s serene, casually elegant living room. The décor is transitional and has clearlybeen chosen for comfort, with the furniture positioned to encourage conversation. Two identical flax sofas face each other across a large square glass coffee table. A rectangular ottoman upholstered in aquamarine linen provides additional seating along with two wing chairs covered in textured ivory linen that flank a console table featuring a holiday tree adorned with handmade ornaments.

Celadon encaustic walls created by Spanish artisans glow with warmth and are accessorized by antique French wall sconces and beautiful Japanese scrolls acquired during the family’s two years in Tokyo.

“When people walk away from our home, I want them to feel like they’ve had a good time. I believe if we provide a great setting, great food, and great drinks that it’s up to the guests to have a good time.”

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

At Your Service

Sponsored - A concierge medical practice

Fun House

Expect the unexpected at this Sharp Hill Antique

Ten Minutes With a Code Breaker

Sally Fisher Sellars was instrumental in WWII

In Search of Exercise

Finding Grace and Strength After 50

Worry-Free Wanderlust

Modern Travel Agents Make a Comeback

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2018

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A Grammy Award-winning son of the legendary Bob Marley, Stephen continues his father’s legacy with forward-thinking reggae. In addition to his critically acclaimed, award-winning solo albums,...

Cost: $56

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for a FREE lecture! Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. However, the fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life. Learn strategies for preventing falls and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Health Tully Health Center
32 Strawberry Hill Court
1st Floor Auditorium
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: HSS Sports Rehab
Telephone: 203-705-2933
Contact Name: Pamela Villagomez
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Wednesday, November 14th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate an apple with candy to make it look like a turkey! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, November 17th from 12:00 - 3:00 PM for kids K+. Plan on staying with your children and having fun together.   This year’s annual STEAMFEST will feature Mad Science’s special...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Parenting is never easy, but raising children with learning and attention disorders presents unique difficulties. This conference will help parents focus on developing their children's...

Cost: 50

Where:
Winston Preparatory School
57 West Rocks Rd.
Norwalk, CT  06851
View map »


Sponsor: Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities
Telephone: 203 682-1664
Contact Name: Alison Brown
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On Saturday November 17 at 6 p.m. join a wonderful team of astronomers and view planets, stars, and constellations. Note: Families are invited to a special preview in the Learning Center...

Cost: $4/New Pond Farm member ($16 max/family), $6/non-member ($24 max/family)

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags