Woodhill Avenue Project
Maria and Kurt loved their home. I mean they really loved their home. While some of the spaces may have been cramped and chopped up in the way that historic homes often are, they loved all of the vintage details that made this home unique and the perfect home to raise their family. As someone who's lived in an old home before - I get it. You just can't replicate the warmth that history gives you. The most important thing to them when undergoing this remodel was to develop a design that would retain this warmth and character but give them some of the practical updating that they needed. First of all, they needed more flow in their kitchen. It wasn't big to begin with but it was also sectioned off from the rest of the house as was common for many kitchens from that time period. Secondly, Maria was in love with the idea of an island. I remember hashing out that idea with her at the beginning of the process. It was going to be tight, but we planned on removing the wall that separated the kitchen from the adjoining breakfast room and family room anyways, so we could craft a relatively skinny island that would do just the trick. She wanted to have a couple of counter stools for her kids and she really wanted a small prep sink so she could look into the family room while making dinner.
The aesthetic design of this kitchen was pretty well decided at the very first meeting with them. Maria had a clear vision of Antique Cream hand painted cabinetry from the Victorian range of Clive Christian. As a lover of historically charming details, she was already dreaming about a little black La Cornue CornuFe range and some blue and white handmade delft tiles as the backsplash. Of course that window just cries out for a pretty little fluted farmhouse sink. Can't you just see the breeze blowing those little curtains about on a nice afternoon? Also, a paneled dishwasher really helps to keep a small space looking more unified. Nothing chops up a small run of cabinetry like inserting a big ugly stainless steel dishwasher. When working with small spaces, I think its particularly important to keep the visual line uninterrupted - it makes the space feel bigger.
We did have a big surprise on this project. While we had planned on removing a structural wall that separated the family room and kitchen, we never dreamed of what we would find inside of it. There, concealed for many, many years was a brick fireplace. While no longer functioning, it was just the sort of thing that Maria loved! A piece of her home's history revealed. This little surprise did set us back a little where the design was concerned as keeping the fireplace intact (a no-brainer for Maria) now cramped the future island even further. However, we were able to re-design it a bit and we made it work. We...watched... every 1/4" possible when designing and installing that island. We did not have anything to spare, but we fit it! Sink, counter stools, beautiful iroko wood countertop. We fit it all in there. I particularly liked Maria's choice of counter stools. They fit in that small space without overwhelming the small stature of the island.
One final comment about this kitchen, which I think really sums up Maria's nature and is consequently reflected in her home's kitchen...They decided to add some wood beams to the kitchen during this remodel. Instead of buying some beams that were "antiqued," she and her kids got to have a blast beating the beams up with chains, hammers, and screw drivers. How fun is that? Now she's added to the family history of her home and really personalized this wonderfully warm and family friendly little kitchen.
Thank you Maria and Kurt! You were as lovely to work with as could be! I wish you many years of happiness in your beautiful home.
This kitchen was featured in the 2011 Winter issue of Beautiful Kitchens & Baths. If you'd like to read the article, click here.
Images used with permission from Beautiful Kitchens and BathsTM magazine. © Meredith Corporation 2013. All Rights Reserved.