The Kitchen-Design Guru
Check out your neighbor’s kitchen. Is it white? Does it have paneled cabinetry? What about the countertops—are they thick marble? Yup, it’s a Christopher Peacock kitchen—or a facsimile of one. Talk about a winning formula: it seems nearly everyone wants a Christopher Peacock original. So we decided to see the guru's home kitchen for ourselves. And now, you can, too.
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Photography by SGM Photography
In his 18 years in business, kitchen designer Christopher Peacock has left a swath of gorgeous, handcrafted kitchens across Westchester’s moneyed enclaves, as well as dotted around the globe. His star-studded client list includes such luminaries as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mariah Carey, Toni Morrison, and Joan Rivers. He has taken part in the Kipps Bay show house three times and, in 2008, designed House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year. Showrooms in Greenwich, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco demonstrate the company credo: Simply Beautiful.
In the world of luxury kitchen design, Christopher Peacock is quite the celebrity himself. Has all this hobnobbing and acclaim turned his head? It hasn’t. He’s an unaffected, outgoing, down-to-earth Englishman—an ordinary guy (as he will emphasize) who happens to have found his calling. Adding to his charm, he seems slightly apologetic that his own quite elegant kitchen in Wilton, Connecticut, isn’t an over-the-top jaw-dropper. “When you do spectacular kitchens, the expectation is for your own to be spectacular,” he says. “Our kitchen is mundane compared to some; it’s fairly plain. But we didn’t want a wow showplace. We’re just a normal family in the throes of bringing up three boys.”
Peacock, his wife, Jayne, and their sons, Jack, Charlie, and Oliver (aged 15, 13, and 9), moved into the Colonial-style house four years ago. At some 8,000 square feet, it’s “big, but not ostentatious,” he says, digging out a tape measure to figure the kitchen’s size: “About sixteen feet by twenty-three,” he announces.
The new house needed a little tweaking, but the kitchen was “really ugly,” with the stove in the island, a Brazilian cherry floor, matching cabinets, and green granite countertops. “The whole thing was a miserable, dark space. But we liked the house and the setting, and the ugly stuff in the kitchen didn’t scare me.”
Out went everything but the floor (all donated to Habitat for Humanity). In came the Peacock hallmarks: classic white, paneled cabinetry; thick statuary marble countertops; pendant lights. On the end wall where the refrigerator had been, Peacock designed a recess to suggest a hearth, and installed a Wolf stove with an infrared grill, two burners on one side, and a French top on the other—a large, steel plate that radiates heat and “works really well,” he says enthusiastically. The “hearth” wall is balanced at the opposite end of the room by a glass-fronted china cabinet.
Peacock’s signature look has been described as Edwardian, a word that conjures up butler´s pantries in stately English country homes. The cabinets are maple with a matte, brushed-on finish with extra trim to match the existing molding on the kitchen doors. Gray striations break up the expanses of white marble, while subtle color comes in the iridescent glints from the glass-tiled backsplash and a few orange swirls on the Roman shades. The dining area overlooks a lake and woods. Claiming his kitchen is “still a work in progress,” Peacock recently added the modern nickel pendant lights from Remains Lighting.
Peacock points out details: his company’s standard, five quarter-inch thick cabinet doors (“over-engineered, really”) with nickel hardware; a refrigerator with drawers tucked beneath the island (“a godsend”); pull-out willow baskets, woven by an Englishwoman he found on the Internet (“I’m proud of those”); two dishwashers, one standard and one half-size that “makes all the difference”; a chalk message board on the fridge door (“we use it all the time”); and two Wolf convection ovens. “Gray is my new favorite color,” he declares, pleased with the newly painted walls that are a deep, warm gray called Abbey Walls from his own recently launched, high-quality, and very expensive line of paints ($125 per gallon).