What Are the Features of the Best Kitchens?

How real kitchens were designed for the most usable space and great resale value.

In keeping with this issue’s theme, we asked the experts what makes for a spectacular and saleable kitchen. The answer? Must-have features in today’s for-sale kitchen can be categorized into three groups: amenities, adjacencies and, of course, appliances. A-list amenities start with an ample island long enough to serve as a buffet table when entertaining and wide enough to embed a “potfiller” sink. Kitchens should be sited adjacent to a breakfast room, a formal dining room, and a family or great room, with access to outdoor dining on the terrace. And when it comes to appliances, only top names need apply: Wolf for ranges and ovens (or Aga, Lacanche or La Cornue for European types); Sub-Zero for refrigeration; and Asko or Miele for dishwashers (two of them, please). The homes chosen for this column offer all of these features plus a special 
quality that money can’t buy—kitchens that are truly the heart of the home.

Old Greenwich Compound
$14.5 million

Our New Year’s Resolution: to live in this house one day very soon. Designed by Bruce Beinfield, the 7,816-square-foot home sits on a waterfront lot with Long Island Sound views from every room, including what has to be the world’s coolest 
master suite, with a private sitting room and deck. The listing offers not one but two kitchens: The property includes a fully equipped guest house with a living and dining room, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two half bathrooms and an office, as well as the kitchen. Come summer, the best place to be will be outside, enjoying the pool, the private pier and the immensely practical outdoor kitchen and dining terrace, including fireplace. Shelly S. Tretter of Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwich has the listing. 203-618-3103.

Waterfront Manse
$4.2 million

This circa-1904 waterfront home was recently rebuilt, designed by Jack Franzen and Sara Walsh to take advantage of its views 
over a private beach and pier and Long Island Sound. The Christopher Peacock kitchen features a pretty island with a wide-plank teak counter and a potfiller sink, as well as top-of-the-line appliances, including a Lacanche Cluny range and Sub-Zero refrigeration. Statuary marble was used around the stovetop and for the other counters. The home also offers a Christopher Peacock-designed library, a gracious master suite with a balcony overlooking the water, and three additional bedrooms and bathrooms. Charlotte Cotton of William Raveis Realty in Westport has the listing. 203-247-4944.

Wilton Estate

Designed by Robert A.M. Stern, this stone-and-shingle beauty was featured for its “dream kitchen” on the PBS show This Old House. And dreamy it is, with a double-sized refrigerator 
clad in white cabinetry, an expansive island with a farm-style sink, a second farm-style sink set into the granite counters, two Miele dishwashers, a Sub-Zero refrigerator and an adjoining breakfast room with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lawn and gardens. The 6,301-square-foot home also offers five en-suite bedrooms and a finished lower level with a media room, wine cellar and game room. Dori Seamans of Realty Seven in Wilton has the listing. 203-858-5107.

Mill Manor

Here’s a stunning stone-and-stucco compound that seems purpose-built for entertaining. 
Once home to the late Victor Kiam, former owner of the New England Patriots, the 4,573-square-foot interiors were designed by Michael Trapp to showcase antique fixtures and features. The living room, for instance, has 30-foot ceilings graced with hand-hewn antique beams, along with a fireplace made of limestone from a 16th-century Pyrenees monastery. The kitchen features 18th-century terracotta tiles and the master suite has a fireplace and floors made from 17th-century timber. The grounds are stunning, too: The Rippowam River runs through the 3.6-acre property, which also features a Cotswold-style cottage with a thatched roof, a pool with a spa and a clay tennis court. Janet Milligan of William Raveis has the $2,795,000 listing. 203-863-6880.

The spacious 
kitchen features 
soaring ceilings
with exposed beams and double-sized everything


Middlebury Manse
$2.2 million

Two million dollars buys a lot of house in the bucolic town of Middlebury. This nearly new, 4,100-square-foot, stone-and-shingle home sits on 2.5 pretty acres. We chose it for its kitchen, which features soaring ceilings with exposed beams and double-sized everything: The island is generously proportioned with a granite top; the six-burner double oven comes with a gas range and grill; and there’s a bonus sitting area with a fireplace. The main house has three en-suite bedrooms but guests can stay in a separate studio with its own living room, fireplace and bathroom. Sandra Natale of Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington Depot has the listing. 860-868-6600.

Newtown Antique

Main Street in Newtown is famous for its giant flag and flagpole, as well as for the 
gracious Victorian and Colonial-style antiques that line its length. This circa-1760 Main Street home was beautifully renovated by 
the sellers, who put in a chic, farm-style 
kitchen with a checkerboard-patterned 
wood floor and a brick-faced fireplace with 
a mantel made from a door in an old brownstone in Brooklyn. There are additional fireplaces in the formal dining room and master suite, for a total of five fireplaces and four bedrooms, along with three full and two half bathrooms. It’s listed with Mary Kate Klemish-Boehm of Halstead Property in Westport. 203-221-0666.