Cottages & Bungalows
Something Old, Something New
Designer James Judge brings together modern functionality and classic cottage charm in this Phoenix duplex unit in a historic midtown neighborhood.
Finding the balance between creating functional spaces
and maintaining the charm and character of an old home can be a challenge. For noted Phoenix area designer James Judge, bringing together old and new is the passion that fuels his work. “Usually a designer has a style, but I’m dedicated to my style being the house’s style,” he says. “I draw inspiration from what the house is supposed to look like.” When the opportunity arose to renovate a dated duplex in his neighborhood, he embraced it eagerly. The two units were very similar, and were both done in the Craftsman style. For the 750 square foot front unit, the homeowner’s goal was to be able to use it as a secondary residence and a rental while he was away. This meant that the kitchen had to be practical, comfortable and visually appealing. “The homeowner wanted it to offer all the kitchen essentials and appliances, but also be easy to use,” James says. Bringing together modern functionality and the home’s historic roots, his design provides an open, industrial-inspired kitchen with touches of cottage charm.
From the outset, James had his work cut out for him. “We wanted to balance the original features while also bringing in modern elements that make kitchens more comfortable and user friendly,” he says. At only
8 'x 12', the kitchen was very small. In an effort to maximize every inch, he decided to remove the wall behind the stove and extend the counter out to create more room for gathering. “Space was at a premium, so it was important to maximize seating areas,” says James. He also added custom shelving by the refrigerator, entryway and to the right of the stove that reflected the original open shelving around the window.
“You're able to see everything you need while also having solid storage to hide what you don't want to see,” says James. The bench along the wall, connected to the shelving unit, provides additional seating for the dining area.
PRESERVING THE PAST
With these updates, it was important to James that the room keep some of its original elements. The removal of a wall posed a challenge to maintaining the integrity of the design of the room. “The solution was to add the trimwork,” he says. “It is period appropriate and surrounds the space, making the wall removal feel purposeful.” Extending around the living room, it perfectly connects the two areas while visually opening the space.
The flooring and most of the cabinets were original features to the home, and James chose to keep them to add vintage charm. “Previous owners had put in carpeting and tile, so we ripped up all the flooring and refinished the polished concrete,” he says. Not only is the concrete a nod to the history of the home, it is also practical since it stays cool in the Phoenix heat. Likewise, instead of tearing out the old cabinets, he chose to restore them, allowing the original character of the home to shine through. “If I can appreciate and enhance what is there, it turns out better than if I had just replaced it,” says James. “I love to help people see the beauty in something that's not beautiful.”