By Kristin Bernhard
For 20 years, the Junior League of Atlanta’s Tour of Kitchens has allowed foodies across the region to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into some of the most thoughtfully and artistically designed kitchens located in private homes in some of Atlanta’s most notable neighborhoods. Sponsored by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine, the two day self-guided tour is not only a hot event for food lovers, but also the perfect resource for anyone looking to renovate, rejuvenate or simply dream about having a fabulous designer kitchen.
“The idea for Tour of Kitchens came from Junior League of Jacksonville,” said Patti Lander, a past president who served on the committee during the event’s inaugural year. “We needed a way to fund our new major initiative, teenage pregnancy prevention. We found that this fundraiser had worked for them. ” The first Junior League of Atlanta Tour of Kitchens, sponsored by Home Depot and Kitchen Smith Designs, featured seven of Atlanta’s most intriguing kitchens. The first tour included everything from 1920’s New England style traditional homes to 1998 contemporary designs. Designers Shirley MacFarland and Lilla Costello were among the first group of designers to lend their talents to the Junior League of Atlanta’s mission.
Twenty years later, visitors on the Tour of Kitchens are still getting a glimpse inside real homes and are able to see the latest trends in kitchen design and remodeling. Featuring 14 homes spread across metro Atlanta, the Tour of Kitchens covers a variety of home and kitchen styles and sizes, making it easy to get a sense of how various concepts might translate to the different home environments. Each kitchen on the tour provides an opportunity not only to see the design features first hand, but also to meet with and talk with the suppliers, builders, architects, designers and companies that worked to create and supply materials to make each kitchen spectacular.
There’s no denying that a good kitchen design can make or break a home. Many homeowners want a place that is a showstopper in which they can cook, eat and entertain. This desire for a beautiful kitchen isn’t without practical consideration, as it’s backed up by sound investment advice as well. REALTOR magazine has consistently ranked kitchen remodeling as the greatest bang for your buck in home remodeling, also offering an opportunity to improve the market position of a home property in relation to the competition in an increasingly crowded real estate market.
However, the Tour of Kitchens is not just for professional entertainers, savvy real estate investors and ambitious home cooks. The kitchens on display are each coupled with appearances by some of Atlanta’s best chefs showing how the kitchens can be put to practical use. Many of the houses on the two day tour host a variety of events that demonstrate various features of each kitchen, as well as highlight the outstanding talents of each event host. The special guests each year have included top Atlanta restaurant owners, catering companies, drink mixologists, chefs, fresh produce farmers, bakers and pastry experts.
The public can again look forward to seeing why Atlanta is a national food contender as well as supporting the Junior League of Atlanta during the 20th Annual Tour of Kitchens, which will be held on Saturday, Mar. 25, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday, Mar. 26, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Tour of Kitchens will showcase fourteen of Atlanta’s finest residential kitchens created by the city’s most celebrated designers, including Bell Kitchen & Bath Studies, CSI Kitchen Bath and Studio, Design Galleria, DCD Kitchen & Bath Design Studio and Kingdom Woodworks. Elite chefs from across Atlanta will be featured during the weekend event, as they perform culinary demonstrations in various homes. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 the day of the tour.
The official kickoff to the 20th anniversary weekend starts at the annual Toast of the Tour on Mar. 18. This event incorporates amazing food, signature cocktails all wrapped up into an evening of fun featuring a spectacular silent auction. Tickets to both the 20th Annual Tour of Kitchens and the Toast of the Tour are available online at www.tourofkitchens.org.