David and Tiffany’s Kitchen: Restoring an Original

David and Tiffany lived in a wonderful Victorian with an amazing staircase, plaster medallions, and large windows. But as their family grew, it became necessary to look for a larger home. They came across a 1921 English Cottage style home that fit their space needs. It had plenty of room for each of their children to have a room of their own, spacious rooms on the main floor, plenty of built in cabinets, a sun porch, a beautiful master bedroom, and a finished attic space for family activities.

Amazingly enough, the original kitchen remained intact in the house. It was like the house that time forgot. All but one of the bathrooms was also very original. But with busy parents and two small children, a dishwasher was a must! And alas, this original kitchen, there was no dishwasher. The pictures above show the kitchen as they found it upon their purchase.

The common solution to such situations is to tear out the old kitchen, which means destruction of important historic fabric and a loss of the home’s vintage character. Old cabinetry tends to be narrower than modern cabinetry. Typically contractors simply tear out the historic cabinetry to accommodate the depth of the dishwasher. But there are creative ways to retain the historic cabinetry and also introduce appliances such as a dishwasher. David and Tiffany had an appreciation of historic homes and understood the importance of maintaining those special features that make a vintage home, well…. Vintage! They were willing to look at options other than demolition.

But with the move pending, and the need to have the house in good working order right away they needed a dishwasher fast. David and Tiffany listened to me explain the options, and they followed my suggestion to have Mike Edeen, of Artisan Woodworks, to sensitively introduce a dishwasher into this historic kitchen. He also worked on the drawers and other well worn elements to help them work more smoothly.

This kitchen has a rare California Cooler shown above in the picture on the lower left. The cooler opens on two sides and is vented out to the exterior of the house. California Coolers are becoming increasingly rare as people tear them out because they don’t understand them. They can be very useful for keeping anything from root vegetables to wine cool through a passive air exchange system.

Note the original flour and sugar bins shown above in the picture on the lower right. These are unusual in that they are hinged from the side, as opposed to pivoting from the bottom.

In the pictures below, the tall cupboard door to the left of the sink is the California Cooler in a closed position.

The original porcelain sink was in good condition, and only needed a thorough cleaning.

The kitchen had a plaster hood and an original wall sconce to light the stove. Although David and Tiffany chose to install a modern gas stove, they maintained the plaster hood and installed a ventilation fan inside, and they kept the original wall sconce to illuminate their stove top. The vintage stove shown in this photo went to Appliance City, where it will be restored and reused in someone else’s restoration project. In order to soften the sharp lines of the plaster hood, David and tiffany had Mike create a bracket with some curved lines.

In our next blog entry, “David and Tiffany’s Kitchen: Ready to Serve”, you can see this wonderful kitchen restored and… well… ready to serve.

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