Brett Allaman’s wife, Lisa, admired an unusual, beautiful ceramic drawer knob while browsing a local antique store. Brett secretly purchased it and gave it to her as a wedding anniversary gift. It was the first element they determined to be part of their kitchen renovation. You could say they rebuilt the kitchen around it.
The kitchen of this 118-year-old Victorian brick foursquare-style home was last renovated circa 1980 to boast the contemporary style of the day. Nearly everything was white laminate with grey accents, and there was a white ceramic top electric range. Not at all true to the style of the rest of this historic home, which was restored to its original charm after the family took residence in 2003. The time had come to focus on reworking the kitchen to correct structural and design issues.
There were several problems with the existing kitchen. The age of the home brought a common problem—settling.
• This created a 4-inch slope differential in the kitchen ceiling, causing the room to look and be off kilter.
• With only two small off-centered windows, the kitchen lacked light, and the view of the outdoors was limited.
• The kitchen, 13 by 13 foot, provides adequate space, yet the working triangle was too tight.
• The stove, small sink, and refrigerator were too close to each other, causing a traffic bottleneck when more than one person was prepping, cooking, or cleaning up. Not ideal for the family to gather in the kitchen.
• Due to functionality and style, the existing cabinetry needed updating, and the maple floor had become dull due to years of heavy foot traffic.
Rick Hoekstra of Kitchen Ideas Center was hired to correct the problems with the existing kitchen and aid in designing a new layout to replace the 1980s-style kitchen. In a coordinated effort with the homeowners, work began.
First up, the ceiling is successfully leveled and used to run a straight line for the cabinetry, crown molding, and other millwork.
One large traditional-style window with mullions is centered on the wall, allowing more sunlight into the room as well as providing a better view, creating a great focal point visible from the adjoining dining room.
The layout is rearranged to expand the work triangle. Placed opposite one another are the new energy star refrigerator, gas range, and a new large sink, which is centered on the adjoining wall beneath the window, resulting in opening the configuration to allow smooth traffic. This made a lot of sense for this family, who share in food preparation, cooking, and cleanup.
Plato Woodwork created a traditional revival full-inset cabinetry with modern functionality, including concealed soft-close hinges, large-capacity drawers, and convenient cubbies for baskets and recipe cookbooks.
The homeowner took on the task of refinishing the original maple floor which runs from the kitchen to the adjoining dining room to give the rooms a continuous and fresh feel. The basement door was also refinished. It’s the one original door in this room, and has the only exposed hinges.
The ceiling is constructed of V-groove wainscoting, contrasting the island’s beadboard wainscoting. Crown molding, seven-inch baseboard, wainscoting, and other millwork add a great deal of charm and warmth to the room.
The installation of under-cabinet lighting gives the kitchen a warm glow at night. Retro industrial pendant light fixtures with LED bulbs are hung above the centrally located island.
Floor to ceiling, a mix of materials is used: glass, wood, stone, and metal.
Black soapstone replaces the old countertop, and several feet around the perimeter of the kitchen are added, increasing the working surface area.
The homeowners obtained upcycled walnut to build the center island’s countertop. “The walnut for the island top came from a landscaper friend in Milwaukee who acquired the log through one of his projects. He had it sawed into 2 1/4-inch-thick slabs 16 to 20 inches wide from the main trunk of the tree. I milled it to 3 by 2-inch strips and glued them together for a butcher-block look. I then sanded and refinished it with several layers of a high-gloss polymer. Environmental stewardship to last a lifetime,” says homeowner Brett Allaman.
Kitchen Ideas Center fulfilled the homeowners’ desires. They now have a spacious, symmetrically balanced, functional, energy-efficient, beautiful kitchen that matches the style of the rest of their 1899 historic home.
More natural light enters the room due to the large centered window, allowing a view of the outdoors and giving the space a lighter and brighter feel as well as a focal point. A mix of materials lend a softness, charm, and warmth to the space. Rearrangement of the appliances and added counter space expand the work triangle, allowing the family to spend time in the kitchen together. Refinishing of existing features brings a fresh feel into the space.
Debbie Rabin is the Marketing Assistant at Kitchen Ideas Center.
View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com .
Kitchen Ideas Center
2016 S. Stoughton Road
Madison, WI 53716
Plato Woodwork Cabinetry available at Kitchen Ideas Center.