Old House Journal - - Contents -


Is your in­ten­tion to go be­yond a pe­riod-in­spired yet con­tem­po­rary kitchen? Do you want it to seem like it’s al­ways been there? It’s not hard to cre­ate a kitchen that looks as if it sur­vives from 1890 or 1930, pro­vided you plan for some sleights of hand.

The Erstads’ kitchen (see pre­vi­ous story) may look a hun­dred years old, but it has all mod­ern ne­ces­si­ties. The ma­jor ap­pli­ances are in­deed vin­tage and make this a cred­i­ble pe­riod room. But the mi­crowave oven lives be­hind a nar­row cab­i­net door next to the big re­frig­er­a­tor. USB charg­ers were in­cluded in­side cab­i­net draw­ers—handy, but in­vis­i­ble. Elec­tri­cal out­lets are min­i­mized with the use of an in­set Wire­mold strip be­neath up­per cab­i­nets. “The only vis­i­ble new thing is the smoke de­tec­tor,” Rich Erstad says.

To the right of the sal­vaged 1924 sink, the dish­washer is faced to look like draw­ers. Mod­ern freezer draw­ers are cam­ou­flaged to the left of the sink.

Other con­sid­er­a­tions keep the room au­then­tic. For ex­am­ple, the Erstads skipped a cen­ter is­land in fa­vor of a wooden kitchen table; dou­ble-duty and func­tional, it has draw­ers on one side, a cut­ting board on the other. While most of the room’s base cab­i­nets are painted white, blue-green paint on the pantry cab­i­nets cre­ates the look of a kitchen dresser. Coun­ter­tops are both mar­ble and black gran­ite. Mix­ing fin­ishes gives the un­fit­ted look of a room that evolved over time.

The kitchen re­mains in scale with the house, and is in its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion. Ma­te­ri­als used would have been com­mon be­tween 1912 and the 1930s. Cab­i­nets have in­set, not over­lay, doors and draw­ers. Fi­nally, the de­tails all con­trib­ute to a seam­less de­sign. Lights are com­bi­na­tion gaslight or early elec­tric fix­tures, floor­ing is a re­silient checker­board, hard­ware is of the pe­riod. Even the faucet is vin­tage.

ABOVE Ap­pli­ances are vin­tage; the sconce is ac­tu­ally piped for gas. But the mi­crowave oven hides in an up­per cab­i­net, and old ra­dios over the fridge hold Wi-Fi speak­ers.

LEFT Deep draw­ers (and a look-alike) on ei­ther side of the sink cam­ou­flage freezer and dish­washer.

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