When Marilyn and Harry Lewis, owners of Hamburger Hamlet restaurants, purchased their Beverly Hills home in 1960, they remodeled the kitchen. Twenty-five years later, as plans for their newest restaurant--Hamlet Gardens in Westwood--were being completed, they discovered that they needed a test kitchen in which to develop recipes. The couple decided to again remodel their own kitchen and temporarily use it for that purpose.
Working with Jon Richards, an industrial-kitchen planner employed by their company, the Lewises combined the existing kitchen, service porch and breakfast area into a single large, functional room. One of their first additions was a 10-by-10-foot island that can accommodate several chefs at once. All countertops were replaced with white Corian because "I wanted an all-white kitchen," Marilyn says. "But I also wanted a certain amount of warmth, so we chose the reflective copper ceiling." A fireplace with an Adams-style mantle was added and a Hepplewhite sofa placed nearby. The Italian table, chairs and bar stools provide contemporary counterpoints for the traditional sofa and mantle.
"We both like to cook," Marilyn says. "Harry is a great short-order cook. He's always been good at making burgers, breakfast and late-night snacks. I'm a self-taught, more adventurous cook. There was a time years ago when I made things in my kitchen that were then taken to the restaurants. Dishes like lobster bisque and baked apples came from here."