ISSUE 41  |  Autumn Light

Outbuilding of the Week: A Cookhouse at Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island

October 21, 2016 2:00 AM

BY Michelle Slatalla

When restaurant owner Kurt Timmermeister bought a 4-acre property in the 1990s on an island in Puget Sound, it came with a historic log cabin but no kitchen. Rather than mess with the floor plan of the oldest continuously inhabited structure on Vashon Island, he transformed a nearby outbuilding into a freestanding chef’s dream kitchen.

After moving to the farm, “I got hooked on it,” says Timmermeister, who sold his restaurant, bought eight more acres, and became a full-time dairy farmer. These days he has hogs, hens, and a dozen Jersey cows whose Kurtwood Farms cheese is sold through the Seattle area.

Photography courtesy of Kurtwood Farms.


Above: The cookhouse is 30 feet away from the log cabin–and proximate to a large kitchen garden that supplies vegetables and herbs. During its transformation from outbuilding to well-equipped chef’s kitchen, the outbuilding got a new roof and updated heating, plumbing, and electrical systems.


Above: Gutter drain into a galvanized trough, enabling Timmermeister to collect and reuse rainwater.


Above: Chives and other herbs grow in raised beds made of poured concrete.


Above: Inside the cookhouse is a French timber frame ceiling, from which pots, pans, and tools are suspended.

cookhouse at kurtwood farms shallots and leeks

Above: Shallots and leeks, harvested from the farm’s kitchen garden are being prepared for dinner. (In the cookhouse Timmermeister keeps bins of root vegetables such as onions, garlic and potatoes, winter squash, and chili ristras.


Above: Reinforced concrete walls keep the design simple in the cookhouse.


Above: Long stainless steel tables make kitchen prep easy.

cookhouse at kurtwood farms kitchen knives

Above: Knives are mounted in a rack on the side of a freestanding butcher block table.


Above: Timmermeister at home.

For more of our favorite farm-to-table gardens, see Greyfield Gardens: A Chef’s Dream on a Remote Georgia Island.