Family is important to O’Donnell and Tracy, and this is made clear by the many silver-framed photographs of relatives clustered on tables throughout the house. But instead of adding a family room to the main floor, the couple enlarged the kitchen into a light-filled hub for cooking, eating and hanging out. “It’s our tradition to have people over every Sunday night,” Tracy says. For these get-togethers, he often experiments with pasta dishes that may end up on the Lia’s menu and salads made with fresh vegetables picked from the nearby community garden or the farmer’s market at Dupont Circle. “I don’t think we’ve cooked the same thing twice,” he says.
With the help of designer Karen Hourigan of Kitchen and Bath Studios in Chevy Chase, Md., the couple organized the room into separate cooking, clean-up, preparation and sitting areas. A large sink and two stacked dishwashers are positioned at one end, opposite from two small refrigerators for wine and beverages, and cabinets for glasses. At the heart of the room, a seven-foot-long island with a smaller sink extends in front of a six-burner Viking range. Leather stools are pulled up to this counter for casual meals or getting a closer look at Chef Geoff in action.