Au­then­tic With­out Com­pro­mise

Af­ter 14 years designing ap­pro­pri­ate kitchens for old-house own­ers, Karla Pearlstein gets around to do­ing her own.

Old House Journal - - Contents - STORY BY DONNA PIZZI | PHO­TOS BY BLACK­STONE EDGE STU­DIOS

A won­der­ful Vic­to­rian kitchen and pantries fit the 1861 house.

Re­stor­ers in the Pa­cific North­west know about Karla Pearlstein, a de­sign con­sul­tant who’s a stick­ler for au­then­tic­ity when it comes to kitchens for his­toric homes. Well, she fi­nally got around to re-cre­at­ing a kitchen for her own much-re­mod­eled 1861 house in Port­land, Ore­gon. (The 1960s kitchen she in­her­ited was, oddly enough, sit­u­ated in the front par­lor.) The space she cre­ated—a main cooking room flanked by two pantries—ad­mirably func­tions as a mod­ern kitchen. Yet it presents no anachro­nism in the beau­ti­fully re­stored house. Au­then­tic wain­scot­ing and cab­i­nets, an­tique pieces, a re­fur­bished stove, and gaslight-era light­ing fix­tures look as though they sur­vived from the 19th cen­tury.

The Ital­ianate house is on the small side, yet it’s el­e­gant and comes with a his­tory, be­ing as­so­ci­ated with the fifth Gover­nor of the Ore­gon Ter­ri­tory (1854–59), Ge­orge Law Curry, and his wife, Chloe Boone, great-grand­daugh­ter of Daniel Boone. The house has weath­ered count­less storms in the name of progress, and was moved twice be­fore ar­riv­ing on its cur­rent site in 1964, af­ter the City con­demned it to make way for a free­way. Karla Pearlstein and her fam­ily came upon the house in 2000.

“It had been so re­mud­dled in­side, I didn’t even want it,” Karla says. “But my hus­band, Aaron, wanted to live in the Hills­dale area, and I wanted an old house. So we bought it un­der­stand­ing that we were in for an ex­tended restora­tion and ren­o­va­tion.”

RE­PRO­DUC­TIONS OF THE 1861 WIN­DOWS TIE THE KITCHEN AD­DI­TION TO THE ORIG­I­NAL HOUSE. A HAND-PAINTED FLOOR­CLOTH, FOUND ON E-BAY, PROTECTS THE KITCHEN’S WOOD FLOORS. AN OLD BUTCHER BLOCK ACTS AS A PREP IS­LAND, AND AN EARLY HOOSIER CABI­NET IN ITS ORIG­I­NAL...

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