Time­less & Mul­ti­pur­pose

Cottages & Bungalows - - Cottage Kitchens - BY JO­LENE NOLTE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY GRACE O’CON­NOR STYLING BY JES­SICA SPURLIN, MEA­GAN RHODES AND ASH­LEY GILBREATH

A con­stric­tive lay­out be­comes a clean, clas­sic kitchen you could stay in all day.

His­toric homes are charm­ing, but when it comes to the kitchen in this Mont­gomery home, built in the early 1900s, the orig­i­nal lay­out did not suit the home­own­ers’ needs. Alabama-based in­te­rior de­signer Ash­ley Gilbreath, how­ever, worked with her team to trans­form the space, while still in­cor­po­rat­ing many el­e­ments orig­i­nal to the home.

ORIG­I­NAL­ITY

The present kitchen was ac­tu­ally two rooms be­fore—a break­fast room and a kitchen—which made the lay­out con­strict­ing. Broadly speak­ing, kitchens in the past were viewed as util­i­tar­ian space rather than as a mul­ti­pur­pose hub for cook­ing, eat­ing, work­ing and hang­ing out. It shows in their lay­outs too, with small kitchens walled off from other rooms, in this case the break­fast room.

Ash­ley ex­plains that the home­own­ers, a young pro­fes­sional cou­ple, wanted to ex­pand their kitchen’s uses: “The goal of it was to give this cou­ple a kitchen that could be lived in—a place they could have friends over and gather in. It was a very tight space be­fore, so we had a lot of space con­stric­tions. They wanted space to sit down and eat, but also a space to hang out. [Now] one can cook and sit and talk at the same time,” Ash­ley says.

It was a com­pre­hen­sive process, but prom­i­nent orig­i­nal fea­tures still ground the home in its his­tory, un­con­strained by the his­tor­i­cal use of the space. The pine-plank floors, sink and glass-front cab­i­netry are all orig­i­nal to the home. Ash­ley and her team gave them new life by refin­ish­ing them and re­lo­cat­ing the glass-front cab­i­netry and the sink.

“The kitchen sink was pre­vi­ously in front of the win­dow where the ban­quette is now. It’s a way to be cre­ative and use the space that’s there and still make it func­tion,” Ash­ley ex­plains. The win­dow where the sink used to be is higher than the one where it sits now. “We cre­atively put the sink in front of win­dows that go down be­hind it … The drap­ery falls back be­hind the kitchen sink splash to make it look in­ten­tion­ally made that way,” she says.

Work­ing within the space also meant some de­ci­sions were easy. “There was only one func­tional wall in this space,” Ash­ley ex­plains, leav­ing the is­land for the stove.

KEEP­ING IT CLAS­SIC & CUS­TOM­IZ­A­BLE

When it came to ma­te­rial choices and the color pal­ette, time­less­ness was the or­ga­niz­ing theme. For the coun­ter­tops, for in­stance, Ash­ley says, “Mar­ble is a pretty time­less ma­te­rial; it dates to the same pe­riod [as the house].” With white as the base, the light color scheme keeps it clean, clas­sic and helps re­flect the light. This is one of Ash­ley’s fa­vorite fea­tures of the kitchen. “There’s a lot of day­light in here,” she says.

The re­fin­ished orig­i­nal sink, in ad­di­tion to its pe­riod au­then­tic­ity, is also mul­ti­func­tional, with an at­tached butcher block over one of the basins. You can lift it up to ac­cess the basin as well.

The din­ing area also opens up the space for mul­ti­ple uses. The ta­ble, with its charm­ing un­fin­ished wood tex­ture, is from Europe and folds out to ac­com­mo­date guests. “The ta­ble adds great tex­ture and great warmth,” Ash­ley says. The cus­tom-made ban­quette and a com­ple­men­tary wing­back chair from Restora­tion Hard­ware make the space invit­ing and mul­ti­pur­pose. “You get the lounge feel be­cause of the ban­quette, plus a place to eat, plus a comfy chair to work with the ta­ble smaller or larger, so you have the abil­ity to seat more. Over­all it ends up be­ing a very func­tional space, from a space that was use­less be­fore,” Ash­ley says.

By com­bin­ing the for­mer kitchen and break­fast room, Ash­ley and the home­own­ers cre­ated a kitchen that now func­tions as a cen­tral, spa­cious hub and com­ple­ments the ad­join­ing spa­ces. Ash­ley ex­plains, “The break­fast room flows into …the bar area, and then the dou­ble doors flow into the vestibule and laun­dry area, which then flows into the mas­ter bed­room. It all con­nects very co­he­sively.”

“You get the lounge feel be­cause of the ban­quette, plus a place to

eat, plus a comfy chair to work with the ta­ble smaller or larger, so you have the abil­ity to seat more. Over­all it ends up be­ing a very func­tional space, from a space that

was use­less be­fore.” Be­fore Ash­ley and her team got to it, this wall used to host the kitchen sink. The cus­tom ban­quette blurs the line be­tween where the win­dow ends and the seat­ing be­gins. Sheer drap­ery and white up­hol­stery am­plify the light. The ta­ble and chan­de­lier from Par­ish con­trib­ute their warm wooden tex­tures.

The orig­i­nal re­fin­ished sink in its new lo­ca­tion of­fers its time­less char­ac­ter and func­tion­al­ity with the added bonus of an at­tached butcher block you can lift up to ac­cess the basin. Sheer drap­ery, white mar­ble and cab­i­netry al­low the nat­u­ral light to star in the space.

Ash­ley and her team moved and re­freshed the glass-front cab­i­nets orig­i­nal to the house. The cool-mint-painted bead­board re­freshes the cab­i­netry, cre­at­ing con­trast and the im­pres­sion that the dish­ware is float­ing, which fits per­fectly

with the light-filled mi­lieu.

|LEFT| Since the win­dow goes down lower than the back coun­ter­top, Ash­ley opted for a raised sink splash and mar­ble back­splash to play up the de­sign choice.

|LEFT BOT­TOM| The is­land of­fers more clas­sic, mul­ti­func­tional space with invit­ing barstools for vis­it­ing, work­ing or read­ing while cook­ing or hang­ing out with the cook. A chalk­board con­trib­utes to the time­less­ness and adds an el­e­ment of play­ful­ness.

The clear glass pen­dants keep the light, open and airy vibe of the space in­tact.

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