Fox’s Victorian Kitchen: A Creative Interchange of Insights and Ideas

Kim and Roy Fox are restoring their home, a lovely Queen Anne Victorian. When they purchased the house years ago, it had been condemned. Kim and Roy remember being able to see sunlight coming through the ceiling when they looked up! For years they have been going through the house, sensitively restoring it inside and out, and doing an amazing job. Then they came to the Final Frontier… The Kitchen… The original kitchen was largely gone, though the Foxes were able to preserve the original wainscot, windows, doors and moldings. The current kitchen had contemporary cabinets, lighting, and layout along with modern appliances. Most people might not have given it much consideration. However, the Foxes were interested in bringing the Victorian charm back into their kitchen, while still retaining some of the modern amenities.

Fox house (with Fox's) back in 1980

Fox house (with Fox’s) back in 1980

Fox house today

Fox house today

After meeting with them and finding out that they truly wanted to return their kitchen to more closely resemble the time period of their house, a strategic partner of mine, architect Matthew Roman, of Roman Design, and I began looking at architectural clues and proposing design suggestions. The contemporary kitchen had been located in what had been the butler’s pantry, and what had been the kitchen had been made into a dining area with a poorly a laid out closet for storage. We recommended returning the butler’s pantry to its previous location, creating cabinetry that would provide much needed storage, returning the kitchen area to its original location, and changing the closet orientation so that it would provide more accessible storage (and would occupy the same space as a long-removed wood lift).

Fox kitchen (and Kim) back in 1980

Fox kitchen (and Kim) back in 1980

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Fox kitchen before current restoration

Kim and Roy are hands on and have been paying a lot of attention to detail. They hired Brendon Powell, of Mountain View Door and Woodworking, to replicate doors, moldings and wainscot; restore the pantry window to its original size, and to build all the cabinetry using all mortise and tenon joinery (no plywood here). Kim then stained all of the woodwork which now has a beautiful old style finish. The Foxes have also been figuring out creative ways to further conceal a microwave oven and a draw dishwasher I recommended, and integrate refrigeration into an old fashioned ice box. I helped the Fox’s find lighting from Dave Vaughn Lighting and I’m currently helping them in their quest for the perfect vintage stove. The goal is to make their kitchen be like a time-warp, more closely matching the time period of their beautiful home. There kitchen is the last major project to having a fully restored Queen Ann Victorian.

Fox pantry window being restored to original position

Fox pantry window being restored to original position

Pantry sink mixer faucet

Pantry sink mixer faucet

The Fox’s were very pleased with a faucet I found at Rejuvenation and used it for the kitchen sink. They found a fabulous old mixer faucet on the web for the butler’s pantry sink, and it was just recently delivered. It is a wonderful piece of vintage plumbing, but did not come with installation instructions. Because of its design, it appears to require access to the back side of the mixer during installation. So Roy is now figuring out how to best install it. Roy loves a challenge, and he has honed his problem solving skills to near perfection with this project. It is truly a pleasure to be of assistance to them in this exciting project, and I’ve been encouraging them each step of the way. Honestly, I think I’ve learned as much from them as they have from me. But this creative interchange of insights and ideas is a big part of what I love about consulting.

Fox pantry showing draw dishwasher

Fox pantry showing draw dishwasher

Fox kitchen sink restored

Fox kitchen sink restored