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Blueberry Hill's 'Cooks-N-Kitchens' tour slated for Dec. 5

Date: 11/30/2009

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Managing Editor

LONGMEADOW -- If your favorite room in the house is the kitchen, and you get inspired by seeing what others have done with their cooking space, the Blueberry Hill Elementary School PTO has just the event for you.

On Dec. 5, you're invited to tour the kitchens and first floors of seven homes -- and take a chance on raffle prizes that include a 32" Panasonic Viera flat screen TV with DVD player, a handbag from Shoenique, gift baskets and more -- during the PTO's third biannual "Cooks-N-Kitchens" kitchen tour. This fundraiser for the school will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., at participating homes in the neighborhoods of Dover Road, Colony Hills, Kibbe Tract, Pendleton Lane and Pinewood Hills.

Advance tickets, priced at $20 per person, are available at Kiddly Winks, 801 Williams St., Floral Fantasies by Lois, 700 Bliss Rd., and at Blueberry Hill School. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the tour for $25 at the same locations. All tickets are non-refundable.

Kitchen visitors are asked to wear soft-soled, easily removable shoes and to leave all cameras and children at home.

Among those kitchens open for viewing will be that of Jenny Blumberg, mother of a first-grader at Blueberry Hill.

"Of course I said yes," Blumberg told Reminder Publications. "It's a great way to be involved with a great fundraiser. It raises a lot of money for the school."

The Blumbergs bought their home a year ago, and though the kitchen was already done, she said she hasn't changed a thing.

The open floorplan that overlooks the home's family room is done in cream colors with black granite on the main countertops and a beige, blue and green marbled granite surface on the island. A six-burner stove and dual ovens highlight the modern conveniences in this traditionally-appointed space. In Blumberg's words it's "a cook's kitchen . [this kitchen is] exactly what I would have done, it's great."

Displays from the Pottery Barn at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, Conn., and Flowers Flowers in Springfield will complete the display at her home.

This is the third year that the PTO has asked Deb Ciejek to participate in the tour, and the first time she's agreed to show off her kitchen.

A former Blueberry Hill parent, she said she knows the tour is a great fundraiser for the school.

"They had asked me I can't remember if it was the first year or second. I was in the middle ofrepainting and fixing things and I said 'no, not this year,'" Ciejek said.

This year, tourgoers will have the opportunity to see her champagne pink kitchen accented with architectural elements of Greek keys and columns and highlighted with touches of French country and contemporary decor.

"It's quite eclectic," she said. "I used a decorator when I needed to find materials, but I did [the decorating] myself. There's pottery that reflects my mother's [Greek] island, some that reflects [my husband's] Polish heritage, metal dishes that my mother used to use."

She said most people who visit her home are impressed by the size of her kitchen and how well it functions.

"The sink and the dishwasher are strategically placed, the ovens and the refrigerator are strategically placed .. everything is in a working arrangement," she pointed out while giving a tour to Reminder Publications.

A floral display by House of Flowers and samplings from the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store will complete the stop for tourgoers.

Other kitchens on the tour will include displays from Williams-Sonoma and samplings from Elka's Bake Shop.

"All of the displays are from shops at the Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, Conn," said Kristin Fitzpatrick,the brainchild behind the 2005 tour and this year's organizer.

Fitzpatrick said that in addition to displays, Stonewall Kitchen will also have items available for purchase.

Since 2005, the Cooks-N-Kitchens tour has ushered 600 people though distinctive Longmeadow kitchens and raised over $20,000 for Blueberry Hill Elementary School.