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					       Inside At lanta Thrasher Kari Lehtonen’s Ult ra - M od Kitchen




                                                            Above: The rear wall of Kari Lehtonen’s kitchen features
                                                            a revolving “light bar” that continually switches from
                                                            blue to yellow to red. Inset: Lehtonen’s extra-tall bar is
                                                            the perfect height for athletes.




     By A l l i s o n We i s s E nt r e k i n

     INTERIOR PHOTOGR APHY COURTESY OF DISTINCTIVE REMODELING SOLUTIONS
     KARI LEHTONEN PHOTO BY JOHN HAIGWOOD




30    flavors
                                                                                                kitchen design




                                                     I
                                                           n a tree-filled neighborhood in Brookhaven, Atlanta
                                                           Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen is hosting a party at his
                                                           home. But don’t expect thumping music or a bevy of women
                                                     parading around; tonight, as on many nights, Lehtonen and a
                                                     few of his teammates are acting more like Wolfgang Puck than
                                                     the Kings of Pucks. The players, most of them well over 6 feet
                                                     tall and sporting bruises from gametime brawls, are chopping
                                                     and sautéing, pouring cocktails and setting the table. And in
                                                     the center, 24-year-old, Finnish-born Lehtonen is saying a silent
                           Kari Lehtonen relaxes     prayer of thanks. “I need my teammates to come over and cook
                                   in his kitchen.   because I’m a mama’s boy and I haven’t cooked much before,” he
                                                     says with a smile.
                                                        It’s no wonder that Lehtonen’s kitchen is the center of his team’s
                                                     culinary action. With its state-of-the-art appliances, spacious lay-
                                                     out and clean, futuristic look, it is hard to imagine a better place
                                                     to hold a dinner party. When Lehtonen first purchased his home
                                                     in May 2006, the kitchen looked nothing like its current incarna-
                                                     tion — it had a style Lehtonen sums up as “ugly and cheap.” After
                                                     working unsuccessfully with a contractor to revamp the kitchen,
                                                     Lehtonen called Roswell’s Distinctive Remodeling Solutions,
                                                     and one of the company’s design partners, Jill Weber of Kitchen
                                                     Connections, Inc. “[Kari] showed us pictures of what he liked,
                                                     and then we searched for designs and products that would work
                                                     for him,” says Mark Buelow, president of Distinctive Remodeling
                                                     Solutions. “We would narrow his options and he would pick from
                                                     the two or three things we would present to him. He’s a pretty
                                                     busy guy, and he was more interested in the end result than in
                                                     going to a bunch of design meetings.”
                                                        After 12 weeks of remodeling, Lehtonen’s kitchen was trans-
                                                     formed from an outdated eyesore to a modern marvel. Perhaps the
                                                     kitchen’s greatest focal point is the bar, which is located where the
                                                     kitchen table used to be (That table was moved to the opposite
                                                     side of the kitchen’s dividing wall.). “I know, I know, who else
                                                     would have a bar in their kitchen?” Weber says with a laugh. “But
                                                     I couldn’t see anything else going in there; it’s a bachelor pad!”
                                                     Indeed, the bar is perfect for super-tall athletes, with a crackled-
                                                     glass bartop by Roswell’s A-1 Glass rising from the multistone
                                                     bar surface. The barstools were constructed with extra height so
                                                     they could reach the bartop, and they are set aglow by an over-
                                                     head light fixture created by Buckhead’s C Lighting. The bar’s
                                                     biggest conversation piece is its faucet, a KWC Eve that shines
                                                     blue light into the water’s stream. Just beyond the bar, a gorgeous,
                                                     custom-designed window by Roswell’s Accents in Glass filters
                                                     light into the room.
The bar’s faucet, a KWC
Eve, shines blue light                                  “The bar is great for entertaining,” Lehtonen says. “It’s a good
into the water’s stream.                             place to have breakfast or a drink.”



                                                                                                     Spring 2008             31
     kitchen design




32    flavors
COOL STYLE




                                                                                                                  See Kari Lehtonen’s
                                                                                                                  kitchen in person!
                                                                                                                  Lehtonen’s kitchen is one
                                                                                                                  of 14 spectacular kitchens
                                                                                                                  that are part of the 2008
                                                                                                                  Junior League of Atlanta
                                                                                                                  Tour of Kitchens. This
                                                                                                                  self-guided event will be
                                                                                                                  held March 29 and 30.
      Kari Lehtonen’s kitchen
      boasts modern features like                                                                                 For information or tickets,
      marsh-oak and brushed-                                                                                      call 678/916-3100 or visit
      aluminum cabinets, a Dacor                                                                                  www.jlatlanta.org/tok.
      double oven and microwave,
      a Wolf cooktop and a
      backsplash created with
      Hampton mosaic tile.




   The main kitchen area also has plenty of aesthetic appeal, with a        from one primary color to the next. Should Lehtonen be in a red
clean, brushed-aluminum island and a Wells sink with a KWC Edge             sort of mood or prefer to stop the light on blue, he can set the color
faucet. The cabinets are a combination of marsh oak and brushed             bar to the hue of his choice with the touch of a remote-control
aluminum, and many feature a satin glass front that offers a fuzzy, dis-    button. “It’s pretty cool,” Weber says. “It definitely works with the
torted picture of their contents. Keeping with the contemporary theme,      kitchen’s modern look.”
the kitchen’s backsplash is a Hampton mosaic tile by Alpharetta’s              Lehtonen says he couldn’t be more pleased with his kitchen, and
Traditions in Tile, and the Sub-Zero refrigerator is stainless-steel. The   he’s even found a surrogate mom in Weber. “Jill has explained a lot
Wolf cooktop is electric, because, as Weber says, “Europeans aren’t         about kitchens to me,” he says. “I now understand how important the
used to gas; they’re much more comfortable with electric.” Lehtonen         kitchen is. I try to keep it clean because I appreciate it.”
also has a Dacor double oven and microwave and an integrated Miele             “He keeps it pretty neat,” Weber agrees proudly.
dishwasher.                                                                    In the end, having a great kitchen in which to cook meals and hang
   Think that’s all the bells and whistles? Hardly. Lehtonen’s kitchen      out with friends has helped Lehtonen feel like Atlanta is home. “I
also boasts a General Electric beverage cooler, a KitchenAid ice            travel a lot, and it’s always comforting to get back here,” he says. “I’m
maker, a pull-out cabinet for recyclables, integrated pull-out pantries     from Finland, but this feels like my home now.”
and a floor-to-ceiling wine rack. “He has virtually everything you
could need,” Buelow says. “A lot of our clients will use some of the                Distinctive Remodeling Solutions
                                                                                    770/668-9393
items that are out there on the market, but he used every single thing
                                                                                    www.distinctiveremodeling.net
you could put in his kitchen.”
   At the far end of the kitchen lies a most unusual feature — a                    Kitchen Connections, Inc.
revolving “light bar” that continually switches from red to blue to                 770/650-0632
yellow, revealing a broad spectrum of secondary colors as it fades                  www.kitchenconnections.biz



                                                                                                                                Spring 2008             33

				
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