Frank Ponterio’s Pour Room
HOSPITALITY SWEET: A designer, oenophile, and generous host makes his house and its grounds even more inviting to guests...
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The kitchen features Christopher Peacock cabinetry, walls tiled with Carrara marble, and soapstone countertops. “Soapstone is a little bit wavy to the touch, so the counters feel like they’ve been there for a while,” Ponterio says.
But man does not live by vino rosso alone. The kitchen that Ponterio designed for the main house (across the courtyard from the pour room) is another successful renovation and one that gets a real workout, as the Ponterios are avid cooks. From the moment they moved in, they dreamed of opening up the space between the kitchen and dining room to accommodate their fantasy of a cooking space.
To do it, Ponterio bumped back a rear wall by three feet and added two custom windows that match exactly the proportions of Adler’s original French casement designs. And he installed a five-foot-square island, topped with three-inch-thick butcher block, that’s as useful as it is dramatic.
“It’s a huge island for a kitchen this size, but we use it every day,” Ponterio says. “We chop on it, we prep on it, our daughter does her homework there, and at parties it’s where we set out the antipasti”—typically roasted beets, grilled vegetables, goat cheeses, and olives, served with Champagne or prosecco. “Becky’s usually in the kitchen putting the finishing touch on a salad, and I’m at my grill in the gravel courtyard,” Ponterio says. “People wander in and out. It’s all very relaxed.” Guests often congregate in the curtained pergola that Ponterio built a few years ago. When it’s time to grab a plate, everyone streams into the pour room.
The Ponterios’ daughter brings drinks to the family dining area, paved with crushed stone, just outside the kitchen. Antique wine jugs, in their original crates, are gradually filling up with corks.
“I love to open a wine I’m excited about, like a ’99 Brunello, and share it with my friends,” says Ponterio. “But I know some people don’t like red—although I don’t know why!—so I’ll offer white wine, too.” In his youth, Ponterio spent summers visiting relatives in southern Italy who make their own wine; he admits he fell completely in love with his cousins’ wine and with their food-friends-family lifestyle.
“After dinner, we’ll all end up around our outdoor fireplace with a glass of port or Scotch, and invariably someone will have brought some cigars.” Talk about an enchanted evening.
Photography: matthew gilson
styling: susan victoria