photo of a kitchen before the remodel
Photo: David Carmack

Before: Cluttered and Impractical

Kitchen remodels are complicated beasts anywhere but even more so in a historic house, where modern efficiency often seems at odds with charming detail. Such was the quandary facing James Bryant as he considered the much-needed update of his Newton, Massachusetts, home.

Designed in 1883 by famed Boston architects Peabody & Stearns, it was a preservation-minded homeowner's dream—despite a bumpy history as a girls' school and a boardinghouse. "I was lucky to find the house in near-original condition," says James.

Unfortunately, the kitchen was dysfunctional, with storage and cleanup space shunted into a pantry and no running water: the previous owners took the freestanding sink with them. An adjacent breakfast room was accessible only through another pantry, and a second kitchen was grafted on awkwardly at one end.
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