Stepping into the kitchen of Hinsdale resident (and local realtor) Kim Larson Lotka is like stepping into Scandinavia. With clean lines and an open format, the “Scandi-sleek” design reflects Lotka’s own half Swedish and half Norwegian heritage and a personal aesthetic developed over decades of designing and building homes.
“The approach to design is both minimalist and functional. Even stacks of white porcelain bowls, plate, and mugs on open shelves become part of the simple decor,” says Lotka, who is opening her kitchen to the public as part of the Friday, May 11, Hinsdale Cooks! Kitchen Walk, with proceeds to benefit the Hinsdale Historical Society.
Lotka worked with three designers—Barb Svihla, Cheryl Sheehan, and Karen Hipskind—to create the entire look.
“Because of the dark days of long winters, Scandinavians like to capitalize on available light. So, I added a row of small windows high above the stove. Not only do they let in a lot of light, they also allow for privacy and show off the beautiful trees outside,” says Lotka. “I love it. They did the whole house so everything feels calm and clean and natural.”
Situated on a wooded hill at the corner of Quincy and Chicago avenues, Lotka’s home is one of six to be featured on the popular Mother’s Day weekend kitchen walk. For more than a decade, Hinsdale Cooks! Kitchen Walk has offered guests a first-floor tour of Hinsdale’s most fabulous kitchens. This prestigious tour attracts over 900 attendees from all over the Chicago area with proceeds benefiting the Hinsdale Historical Society’s programs and collections. This year, a portion of the funds will be go toward the ongoing work to rehabilitate the home of Hinsdale’s most famous architect—R. Harold Zook.
While Lotka’s house is uniquely Scandinavian, the homes on the tour are a mix of old and new, offering a little something for every taste. The event also includes nibbles and drinks in the homes from guest chefs—making it truly a community affair.
For many families, the annual home tour has become a Mother’s Day weekend tradition. However, for the volunteers working hard behind the scenes, it’s a mission and an undertaking that begins long before the May flowers begin to bloom.
Annette Fryzel, Hinsdale resident and former chairperson of the Women’s Board of the Hinsdale Historical Society’s annual luncheon, was among those who was excited to step in and get involved in organizing the Friday, May 11 event. She and Hinsdale resident Julie Sutton are co-chairing the extravaganza and hope it make it one of the most successful yet.
Sutton first participated in Hinsdale Cooks! Kitchen Walk five years ago when her newly built home was one of the stops on the tour. “The following year, I offered up the idea of a trolley experience—more of a VIP experience at a higher ticket price,” explains Sutton. “I think it’s a nice fit for the kitchen walk and makes a little bit extra money for the Historical Society.”
Sutton, who believes it takes a village to run the kitchen walk, credits not only Fryzel for helping plan the event, but all the people working behind the scenes as well. “It’s crucial to have a good team in place and Annette is so organized and talented,” says Sutton of her co-chair. “Our team members definitely rose to the challenge.”
Several florists, landscapers, designers, vendors, and restaurants will be a vital part of preparing the homes for the large masses that will be visiting on that busy Friday. “Designers do tablescapes and restaurants will provide food samplings. These services are all donated,” says Fryzel. “We have a candle vendor, House of Wix, selling a signature candle specifically designed for that day. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the Historical Society.”
Kendra Scott, a jewelry store in Oak Brook Mall, will also be donating some pieces for the event.
Fryzel emphasizes that the tour is not limited to Hinsdale are residents. “This is a regional event,” she says. “We have people coming from as far away as Rockford to see these homes. It’s really special.”
Every year, the houses are hand-picked for the event. Usually a theme emerges and it often reflects the visions of the co-chairs. “Julie and I wanted a representation of a broad range of homes because one size does not fit all,” adds Fryzel. “We have a nice variety.”
Women make a day of it, often bringing friends, mothers, aunts, and sisters. “It’s become such a fun tradition, especially because it’s Mother’s Day weekend,” says Sutton. “People admire these homes from afar so it’s a great chance for them to take a sneak peek on the inside.”
Back at Lotka’s Scandinavian-themed home, guests will move from the kitchen to a family room that is separated by an oversized quartz island, and then continue throughout the first floor. Lotka says she looks forward to sharing this tranquil space with tour-goers who come out to support the Hinsdale Historical Society.
It will be a day to remember indeed.
Tickets to Hinsdale Cooks! Kitchen Walk on Friday, May 11, are $50 in advance or $60 at the door. VIP tickets (with trolley tour) are $100. To purchase tickets or for more information about the event, visit kitchen-walk.com.