With the look of a but­ler’s pantry full of built-ins, it’s fam­ily-friendly.

Old House Journal - - Contents - By Pa­tri­cia Poore / Photos by Randy O’Rourke

For a Queen Anne house, this painted kitchen bor­rows el­e­ments of de­sign 1895 to 1910.

Once tired and lack­ing char­ac­ter, this large, 19th­cen­tury Queen Anne house was ex­ten­sively ren­o­vated, and its ex­te­rior beau­ti­fully re­stored and poly­chromed. Ar­chi­tect Frank Shirley, of Cam­bridge, Mass., also de­signed a new garage in Queen Anne style for the prop­erty. In­te­rior ren­o­va­tions brought the fam­ily four new bath­rooms, all with pe­riod in­spi­ra­tion; a new master suite; and a writer’s stu­dio.

A key de­sign el­e­ment is a “cir­cu­la­tion spine” cre­ated down the cen­ter of the house, con­nect­ing with the pre­vi­ously iso­lated ca­boose of a kitchen to make it the fam­ily cen­ter. This area of the house got a 70-square­foot ad­di­tion to pro­vide space for a sep­a­rate mud­room.

The char­ac­ter is that of late-19th-cen­tury pantries and kitchens. The In­dian own­ers brought their pas­sion for color, pro­vided by painted cab­i­nets, tex­tiles for a lively com­ple­ment to the blue trim, and a tile back­splash that adds adds color and pat­tern without over­whelm­ing the room. Top cab­i­nets have per­fo­rated metal fronts in un­la­que­red brass, adding in­ter­est and more pat­tern and yet con­ceal­ing stored ob­jects.


Con­tin­u­ing the tran­si­tional look ca. 1895–1910, a builtin break­fast ban­quette oc­cu­pies the other end of the room. A mov­able table al­lows max­i­mum adapt­abil­ity of the space.


Cab­i­nets rise to the ceil­ing in em­u­la­tion of a built-in but­ler’s pantry; top cab­i­nets with per­fo­rated-metal fronts add in­ter­est and pro­por­tion. A sim­ple, flat-panel style is a back-of-house clas­sic that works in al­most every pe­riod.


Ma­te­ri­als and de­tails re­call­ing an ear­lier time in­clude the tin ceil­ing, ad­justable pul­ley lights, a wood floor, and the cen­ter is­land imag­ined as an un­plumbed work table. Bull’seye cor­ner blocks and fluted cas­ings match orig­i­nal trim.


The room is nev­er­the­less mod­ern in de­sign, func­tion, and sensibilit­y, with stain­lesssteel ap­pli­ances, a cook­top in­stead of a free­stand­ing range, and dec­o­ra­tive tiles en­hanc­ing the back­splash.

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