Country Sampler Special Edition
Knocking down walls and bringing in a French-country decorating scheme turned this circa-1919 home’s dreary, dated kitchen into a lively, updated space.
The new space provides an open floor plan and welcoming farmhouse style. The couple left the old chimney in place since it provided so much architectural interest. They doubled the window height to let in more natural light.
The 100-year-old, three-bedroom farmhouse that Katrina Morris and her husband, Scott, moved into in 2016 was not new to them. The couple had actually met at the house when they were teenagers, as it was the childhood home of one of Scott’s friends. When it came up for sale, the two decided to purchase it, and upon taking ownership, they immediately got to work. The couple gutted the entire first level and knocked down three walls to open up the entire back of the house. “We started in January and finally moved into the house in August,” Katrina says, “one week before the kids started a new school. This was our summer.”
The kitchen was one of the first priorities. The original space was very dated, with worn cabinets, basic Formica countertops and multicolored vinyl flooring. Katrina and Scott took down all the cabinets and the drywall so just the studs remained. Removing a wall created a large, open space to the room beyond, but it also revealed some interesting architectural elements. “We found a surprise—original tongue-andgroove wood beadboard,” Katrina notes. Although they weren’t able to keep the material, luckily another surprise awaited them—the home’s original chimney. This time, they kept the structure, painting the brick column white and adding architectural interest to the kitchen area. Large chunks of the floor also had to be replaced due to extensive termite damage. But, eventually, the Morrises had a clear and open space in which to build anew.
Fresh drywall went up, and then came the cabinetry. Katrina and Scott purchased the cabinets, sink and countertops from Ikea, which meant driving three hours to pick up the materials. Along with the new perimeter cabinets, they also devised a large island made from additional Ikea cabinets. “I knew I wanted a wideopen space with the largest island possible,” Katrina says. Originally, she planned on painting the island black or blue, but since the laminate material would have been difficult to paint, she decided to keep the piece white to match the other cabinets. However, the couple did give the island some custom flair. Columns and beadboard paneling lend extra style, and a black metal bar with hooks provides function. The top of the island is stainless steel with a tack trim for an industrial feel.
Around the perimeter of the kitchen, the white cabinets with sleek chrome hardware are topped with butcher-block countertops. Katrina and Scott sealed the wood with boat urethane to make it durable and glossy. In the corner, glass-fronted wall cabinets glow from lights installed within, and on both sides of one window, the couple mounted open shelving with black forged-iron brackets and wood shelves that Katrina stained and then distressed with a hammer and chains. A lighter wood-tone floor connects the kitchen to the dining area, where an antique pine trestle table and chippy blue hutch unite the old and the new.
“I wanted the new design to have a cleaner feel than the original space and yet still fit in with the style of the rest of the house,” Katrina says. “It’s got all the designer details without the price tag.”
Visit Katrina’s blog at www.themorrismanor.com, or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/themorrismanor or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/themorrismanor.
“I wanted a wide-open space with the largest island possible. ”
The previous layout had a small refrigerator squeezed in between two doors. The doorway on the left leads to a walk-in pantry that Katrina redid in a moody gray palette.
Removing a wall allowed the kitchen to open up into the dining area, creating one bright and airy space. The corner near the sink accommodated an oversize refrigerator. Katrina originally painted the wall around the pantry door black but has since refinished it with a large floral-print wallpaper in shades of gray.