A 1914 kitchen is tweaked to reflect its Craftsman roots.
O ne reason why George Crandall bought this modest Craftsman Bungalow near Portland, Oregon, was for the unpainted Douglas fir woodwork that had survived in the dining room, living room, and sunroom. “It was a house that hadn’t been messed with a lot,” George says.
The original leaded-glass windows with beveled diamond panes still cast artful shadows on dining-room walls. The built-in fir window seat could be opened for storage; tall wainscoting was topped by a deep frieze that would be perfect for George to hang William Morris-designed ‘Willow’ wallpaper.
The kitchen, however, needed tender loving care. Its cheap electric range, dated laminate countertops, 1950s vinyl flooring, and tip-out lower cabinets stood in stark
contrast to the beautiful craftsmanship found in the rest of the house.
“I’m pretty good at restoring things,” says George, who has restored several vintage cars. George teaches woodworking and owns Craftsman Arts, an antiques business specializing in Arts & Crafts through Mid-century Modern furniture. He decided to undertake restoration of the house himself.
The electric range was occupying the space where the original woodstove had sat. To hide the hole in the wall where the stovepipe had been, George designed and built an upper cabinet, emulating the original built-in pantry cupboards. He replaced the existing cabinet to the right with a taller one. To make baking easier, he installed a wall oven in that cabinet. He added a trio of half-round shelves to the upper cabinet, on which are displayed Arts & Crafts pottery and an old
toaster. The upper cabinet was outfitted with a stainless-steel range hood to accommodate his newly purchased vintage stove, a pristine mid-1930s Wedgewood gas range with oven, broiler, and two storage drawers. He was excited when he saw the classified ad advertising it, more so when he realized the old stove would fit perfectly in the space.
The 1935 G.E. Monitor Top refrigerator was a classifieds find as well. He refurbished it and refinished it using automotive enamel. He found a source for restoration parts, “so I replaced the gaskets and one of the relays that was a little dicey,” he says. “It works beautifully. You can’t keep ice cream hard in it, so I have a freezer on the back porch, but for most things the Monitor Top works fine.”
After unearthing the badly patched original fir floor, he decided to lay black and white, 12-in. square linoleum-like tiles. He started at the most noticeable area—the transition between rooms— and carried on from there.
The tip-out cabinets were largely original, but impractical, and were trimmed with a plastic laminate surface. “So I built conventional base cabinets and kept the area under the sink open, covering it with a coarse linen curtain, which I stenciled,” George says.
A used stainless-steel industrial sink married well with the pre-laminated maple butcher-block countertops he installed and trimmed with a capped maple backsplash.
With room now for a small island, George designed and built one topped with the same butcher-block wood used for countertops. The island design matches the cabinet design, but without doors. “If the stuff is pleasing to the eye, I like to see what I have and know where it is,” he says. “Things hidden behind doors are forgotten and never used.”
Painting was the final step in creating a charming Arts & Crafts-era kitchen: the formerly white walls are now a period green, crowned with a stencil motif. a
ABOVE The 1930s Wedgewood gas stove features salt and pepper niches, burner covers, and a lamp. The dining URRP EH\RQG KDV LWV RULJLQDO 'RXJODV ƬU EXLOW LQV DQG ZDLQVFRW LEFT The Helen Foster stencil is one of her rose patterns. The owner used stencil...
LEFT A stenciled border near the ceiling adds color and a period motif. Cafe curtains admit light and are easy to launder. The bowl on the island is Fulper.
ABOVE The owner built the hanging corner cupboard, picking up details from window and door trim. The painted interior showcases Rookwood, Weller, and Muncie pots and a Red Wing Prismatique piece at the center.
TOP RIGHT The 1914 Craftsman Bungalow may have been built from a plan book. ABOVE Butcher-block countertops accompany a stainless-steel sink bought used. Pottery includes a Fulper vase and a Danish Ibsen piece. Note the stainlesssteel switch and outlet...