Grey Matters

‘Yes, we cook’ – Obama’s kitchen imagined, Installment 2

Most American families would leap for joy at the thought of free room service for four years. But really, how long could you last before that urge of cooking your own meal sets in?

Alas, the majority of the population will never get the chance to test such a theory. However, in this post-Bush, Obama White House era, everything is rightfully under scrutiny. It seems very clear that the newly elected president and the first lady have been endowed with strong nurturing skills. Discipline, respect and transparency are the family trademarks.

More than most, they know that maintaining a daily bonding process will now be more critical than ever. It won’t be easy. No longer can Barack step out for a brisk morning walk with his wife or take the kids out for some ice cream. Spontaneity is not part of the Secret Service vernacular.

Hence, it has often been said that the White House is ‘a bubble of isolation’. Can we replace these words with ‘an inner sanctuary’? After all, Obama is now a work-at-home dad. The family needs their own active space, a place where they can connect on all levels. In essence, a room for all reasons. It is living, dining, cooking, playing, laughing, being – in a single, open family environment.

Traditions like whipping up pancakes on a Sunday morning or telling stories by the fire do not have to hibernate during Obama’s presidency. This room should not have to echo the museum-like qualities of the other White House rooms.

This proposal looks to redesign the existing Yellow Oval Room on the second floor. This new family room will be the nest of the White House. It will ultimately reflect the ideals of the modern American family. The room embraces democratic planning and offers the opportunity for quiet contemplation or social engagement, depending on the time or whim of the day.

The design embodies a sustainable language that echoes the family’s heritage and world-centric perspective on things. The value of this room comes not from its material wealth, but rather its nurturing capability, to which all American homes can aspire.

– Kevin Hackett, San Francisco

See the entire concept presentation here.

A    Ethanol Fire (non-wood buring) By: Eco-Smart Fire;
Above mantel: flat screen TV behind Lincoln portrait
B    Iranian Peace Rug (pressed wool) By: Melina Raissnia
C    Organic Sushi Daybed By: Pie
D    Seating: Ligne Roset Möel upholstered with hemp fabric
E    Doggy bed
F    Nutmeg tree: producing fruit for cooking and reminder of childhood in Indonesia
G    Sculpture by Hawaiian artists: Saturo Abe & Sean Browne
H    Herb garden
I     Kenyan tapestry and instruments from ancestors
J      Social round dining table (can be enlarged to accommodate extended family)
K     Standing furniture with storage for dining accessories
L     Herb garden
M    Tea service and wet bar
N    Wall storage units located close to dishwasher

O    Cork floor – ergonomics, durable, and easy on spine
P     Breakfast/Sandwich zone with tambour & counter
Q    Energy rated refrigerator and freezer
R    Wall oven and microwave
S    Pantry storage
T    Built-in formal dining banquette with privacy wall
U    Recycled glass bar with social seating
V     Wash-up zone: raised dishwasher, sink counter with storage
W    Prep & cook zone: Gaggenau vario steamer, gas rings with backsplash andtelescopic swivel downdraft
X    Central island: main prep counter (lava stone) with EVO flat round cooking plate for family
cooking with ventilation hood
Z    Private reading/media pod encased in felt


3 Responses to “‘Yes, we cook’ – Obama’s kitchen imagined, Installment 2”

  • Alan Says:

    What a beautiful concept!

  • Cham Says:

    I agree – lovely concept. I can’t imagine the family stress such a lofty position brings with it.
    Only concern is that nutmeg can actually be poisonous to dogs – placing the doggy bed right next to the otherwise very thoughtful tree might not be a good idea.
    I like the energy-rated appliances and the recycled glass bar is cool. What about integrating a concrete counter? There’s hardly a better medium for renewable design!

  • Mary Says:

    I kind of like my wood burning fire that Johnny designed can’t imagine that it would have the same atmosphere as an ethanol fire, I really prefer to eat corn as opposed and drink alcohol as opposed to burning it. Cute design though

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