For chef Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray, a night off doesn’t mean going out to eat—it means cooking at home. Co-owners of Equinox restaurant, the Grays recently completed a total overhaul of the outdated kitchen in their Wardman-designed DC row house (featured in the January/February 2007 issue of Home & Design ).
“What a difference,” says Todd, who designed the kitchen himself with help from designer Mark O’Neill of MON Interiors. By removing a wall separating the kitchen and dining room, they created a new space that boasts stainless-steel Electrolux appliances, granite countertops and a sit-up counter. New cabinetry neatly stores their tools of the trade. And pendant lights on dimmers create just the right ambience—whether they’re serving cookies to their son Harrison and a pack of nine-year-olds or aperitifs at a dinner party. Since its completion last summer, Ellen says, “We have been entertaining more than ever.”
Todd spends his evenings running the show at Equinox—named 2008 Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. So the family focuses on having breakfast together. “What most people do at six o’clock at night, we do in the morning,” says Ellen. “We help Harrison finish homework and have a hot meal,” which might include blueberry corn cakes with maple syrup or wheat toast with eggs “in the hole.”
On Sundays, the Grays enjoy hanging out in their new kitchen. “Ellen is a great cook in her own right. She starts prepping a dish, I start prepping a dish and we both have pans on the fire,” says Todd, who raves about his new Electrolux range, selected for its sleek design and professional performance. “To us,” he says, “cooking means family. It brings us together.”
KITCHEN DESIGN: Todd Gray and Mark O’Neill, MON Interiors, Washington, DC. TEXT: Sharon Jaffe Dan. PHOTOGRAPHY: Lydia Cutter, McLean, Virginia.