Susan White of Classic Talks About Kitchens

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Just ask Susan White, President of Classic. Susan, along with her son Berkley, has been designing homes…and kitchens for decades. Today, thousands of kitchens throughout the Carolinas are ‘classics’ thanks to the mother and son team who, through the expertise of an experienced staff and modern technology, turn ordinary into extraordinary in both new homes and remodels.

For those of you who visited the Grand Strand’s first Southern Living Showcase Home built by Classic, you no doubt remember the grandeur of its kitchen. With rich cherry cabinetry, a beautiful tray ceiling and built-in island, its design could have well been taken from the pages of a kitchen design book. Rather, it was the design of mastermind Susan White. “I love designing kitchens,” said Susan. “They are the true focal point of the home. Susan, a gourmet cook herself, knows what it takes to create a kitchen that is both esthetically pleasing and functional. “Large or small, the kitchen has a soul of its own,” said Susan. “It’s the place families meet and friends congregate; where the aroma of home cooked soup or a slow roasting pot roast can ease the cares of the day and seemingly make everything just a little better.”

Whether fine tuning an existing kitchen or designing the kitchen of a brand new home, clients love working with Classic and specifically with Susan. From the minute they walk into Classic’s showroom with its wide array of fixtures and finishes, they know they’re in good hands. Susan’s expertise, coupled with her ability to listen, enable her to turn a client’s dream into reality.

For our show issue, Susan has agreed to share tips on designing the kitchen of your dreams in addition to sharing one of her favorite ‘classic’ recipes.

Dream. “You will never have a dream kitchen if you don’t have a dream,” said Susan. Envision how you want your kitchen to look and how it will function. If you find ideas you like in magazine—ads, articles, etc.—depicting everything from cabinets to appliances—pull them out and put them in an idea file. You can refine your ideas later. For now, dream big!Hint: Organize your ideas. Make notes on the material as to what you like about it. Is it the configuration? The finish on the cabinets? The backsplash? File relevant ideas together. In essence, your idea file is similar to a recipe file.
Make it Yours. Envision how you will use your kitchen. Are you a single-cook family or are there many cooks in the kitchen? Do you like to entertain? Have you always wanted an island bar where the family can gather for informal meals? Do you want to gaze out a window above your kitchen sink? “Make your kitchen fun,” suggests Susan. “Mix tones, textures and materials to bring your kitchen to life. Spice it up.” Take a look: For a quick peek at some of Classic’s latest kitchen designs see what’s trending at
Maximize your space. There are creative ideas for getting the most from even the most compact kitchen. For example if storage is an issue, draw the eye up with floor-to-ceiling cabinets. Turn attention away from the size of the room by creating a focal point with a beautiful backsplash, a pop of color on an accent wall, or a piece of artwork. To make small spaces appear larger minimize color contrasts. A gray theme is both a current look and one that is timeless. Other neutrals work equally as well.
The main ingredient(s). There are dreams and there are needs. Refine your ideas with those items you cannot live without. “There’s usually at least one item that you know you really want,” said Susan.” The rest are just the pieces of the puzzle that fit around it.” Some items are essential. These are your main ingredients. Lighting, for example, is key to making the kitchen feel warm and inviting. “Glass pendants are one of my favorites,” said Susan. “They add a nice touch without overpowering the room.”
Determine your budget. You have ideas and you now know the essential component(s)/ingredient(s). It’s time to put pencil to paper. Once you have a dollar figure in mind you can look for options within your price range. Just like a recipe, designing a kitchen involves determining the required ingredients, measuring carefully, adding a little spice here and there, and most importantly, savoring the end result. Speaking of a classic, here’s a recipe straight from the kitchen of Susan White. “This is one of my all-time favorites,” said Susan. I love serving this to my family and at dinner parties. The basil makes it a perfect summer appetizer and a great winter meal. Picking the basil from your own herb garden is an added bonus,” she said.

{ 4 Servings }

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Cup peeled baby carrots
1 Medium onion, peeled and diced
1/4 Cup fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
One 14-ounce can tomato sauce
One 14-ounce can chicken broth
1/4 Cup 2% Milk
Salt & Pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots and onion and sauté until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the basil and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes more. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes more. Allow soup to cool for 10 to 15 minutes until comfortable to touch. Transfer to blender or food processor (in batches if necessary). Puree until smooth. Return to saucepan; bring heat back up, over low heat, stirring slowly. Stir in milk (can use cream for a richer taste) and salt and pepper to taste.