Invit­ing and Ef­fi­cient

Old House Journal - - Design - By Tim Tan­ner

This Colo­nial-style kitchen is an OHJ reader fa­vorite; is it the warm patina, or that dis­play of red­ware? Es­pe­cially when it comes to houses built be­fore 1860, kitchen de­sign presents chal­lenges. It’s been ages, af­ter all, since the kitchen was cen­tered on a cook­ing hearth—or even a big cook stove. Mul­ti­ple re­mod­el­ings over the decades un­doubt­edly have oblit­er­ated his­tory.

Then there’s ac­com­mo­da­tion for mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and func­tion. To­day’s kitchen de­sign­ers as­sume you’ll want match­ing cab­i­nets, lots of coun­ter­top space, and a mul­ti­tude of ap­pli­ances.

It is pos­si­ble, how­ever, to com­bine old and new—by adding a fire­place, or by us­ing un­fit­ted (mis­matched or free­stand­ing) cab­i­nets and kitchen fur­ni­ture. You can opt for his­tor­i­cal col­ors and aged fin­ishes. Pe­riod serv­ing ware may be dis­played in hutches and on open shelves. It’s easy to in­te­grate a beamed ceil­ing, wide-plank floor, multi-light win­dows, and re­pro­duc­tion light­ing. The old-house kitchen is a fa­vorite space that ex­udes at­mos­phere.

One well-known maker of his­tor­i­cal kitchens is David T. Smith of Ohio, whose work is shown here. The pe­riod-in­spired (though cer­tainly—and thank­fully—not re­pro­duc­tion) kitchen is in a house near Cincin­nati. Cab­i­nets wear dif­fer­ent fin­ishes and paint col­ors. The own­ers’ col­lec­tion of red­ware adds color and in­ter­est.

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