Thinking about renovating or redesigning your kitchen? The Palace Theatre's annual kitchen tour features beautiful ideas you can apply to your own home.Renovating, expanding or redesigning your kitchen is a large undertaking that starts with one simple question: "What do I want?"Many homeowners want to make the space more family-friendly and better suited to life with children, others are more concerned with aesthetics and some want more room to cook and entertain. Perhaps none or all of these reasons are what's fueling your desire to revamp your kitchen, but no matter what you're hoping to accomplish, there's an upcoming event that can provide you with that important spark of inspiration. The Palace Theatre Kitchen Tour will take you through Bedford and Manchester area homes that have undergone dramatic transformations. Sometimes answering the "what do I want" question is as simple as exploring what others have done before you.The tour includes homes from the recently renovated Charlie Howard Dream House in Bedford that boasts more than 10,000 square feet of beautifully designed living space, a large guest house and intricate details throughout the whole property, to the newly updated colonial home in Manchester that features a custom kitchen, elegant living areas and detailed architectural features.Now in its seventh year, the event is a major fundraiser for Manchester's Palace Theatre. The proceeds from the tour benefit the theatre's youth programs.In tough economic times, says Amy Vickstrom, whose house will be on the tour, "people tend to donate food or to shelters, which is understandable - but the arts need help as well."For Vickstrom, agreeing to open up her home to tourgoers has a two-fold benefit - the Palace Theatre receives support and all the local companies and craftsmen who worked on her kitchen have the chance to showcase their efforts."We were fortunate to have great craftsmen in our house," says Vickstrom. "From day one it was great."When, as Vickstrom says, she was getting overwhelmed trying to design on her own, she brought in Leslie Rifkin of L. Newman Associates/Paul Mansback Inc."Bringing in a designer was critical to what the kitchen ended up looking like," says Vickstrom.Rifkin helped Vickstrom add two important personal touches you can look for while on the tour - one is the 60-year-old kitchen table that once belonged to her husband's mother that her family brought over from Sweden. To make it work with the rest of the new design, Rifkin suggested having a restoration company stain it to a darker, more contemporary color. And, above the kitchen's threshold, you'll see the words "Kö Ket," which is Swedish for "Our Kitchen."Though, as Vickstrom points out, everyone has different tastes, perhaps these two personal touches - plus everything else you'll see on the tour - will lead you to explore ways to incorporate your own such ideas into your new kitchen.Bedford Kitchen Tour June 5Tour begins at 10 a.m. June 5 in Bedford at Granite State Cabinetry (384 Rte. 101) where you'll be given a brochure and tour map. You have until 1 p.m. to pick up brochures.You may tour homes in any order until 4 p.m. An open seating luncheon catered by O Steaks and Seafood is from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.The day will conclude at T-BONES Great American Eatery in Bedford at 4 p.m. where guests will enjoy a food and wine tasting as well as cooking demonstrations by T-BONES' Chef Nicole.Tickets are $45 per person and $50 the day of the event. All proceeds go to benefit youth programs at the Palace Theatre.A Quick Guide to the TourRosewell Road, BedfordWhat's on the tour: the living spaces (excluding bedrooms).Highlights to look for: N.H. Accents Fine Crafts remodeled the kitchen that now has a mixer lift cabinet, built-in coffee maker and cabinets from P.J. Currier Lumber Company.Cricket Hill, Bedford(pictured)What's on the tour: the kitchen, living room, dining room and the finished basement featuring a children's stage.Highlights to look for: Cabinets by Granite State Cabinetry, design by Leslie Rifkin of L. Newman Associates/Paul Mansback Inc. and child-friendly elements such as easily cleaned granite counters, dark hardwood flooring and the vinyl-covered kitchen chairs that look like leather.McAfee Farm Road, Bedford(pictured)What's on the tour: the first floor.Highlights to look for: The kitchen, designed by LKM Design, has chocolate cabinets by Granite State Cabinetry, a vegetable steamer built into the cooktop, new marble counters and appliances from Wolf Appliances.Meetinghouse Road, BedfordWhat's on the tour: The entire property is open including the guest house, excluding the basement and elevator.Highlights to look for: The home has more than 10,000 square feet and includes a guest house in addition to the main home. In the kitchen you'll see Innovative woodwork by Denis Lamy Cabinets and new appliances from Baron's Appliances.Federation Road, BedfordWhat's on the tour: the first floor.Highlights to look for: The kitchen, designed by LKM Design, features beautiful cabinets by Architectural Woodworking in Vermont, appliances from Baron's Appliances and a new large pantry.Elm Street, North End, ManchesterWhat's on the tour: the first floor.Highlights to look for: This is a stately vintage brick Colonial Revival in Manchester's North End. The highly functional renovated kitchen, designed by TMS Architects, includes an adjoining breakfast nook and beautifully complements the home's architectural features. From the kitchen, the homeowners have a clear view of the family room, children's room and office nook, which will be open to view. Organization and storage solutions can be found throughout house.Elm Street, North End, ManchesterWhat's on the tour: the first floor.Highlights to look for: Traditional and casual kitchen featuring exclusive millwork. The comfortable, understated elegance of the kitchen maximizes space in a small area while the interior design reflects the existing architecture and the homeowner's lifestyle.
This article appears in the June 2011 issue of New Hampshire Magazine