There's an art to opening up an old house. Sure, those small hallways and rooms can feel like back alleys and dead ends, but get carried away during demolition and you may sacrifice charm along with the original butler’s pantry. Designer David Heide, known for his work on historic houses, likes to solve this problem by cutting and pasting with care while honoring period details. To improve flow in this 1908 foursquare in St. Paul, Minnesota, he added on in back, nearly tripling the kitchen's size. Then he matched new cabinets to those in the existing butler's pantry and gave the space a clean, buttoned-down look.
Homeowners Christian and Alexis DuBois opted for solid cabinet fronts over glass ones, allowing them to hide a desk and a TV in plain sight. "We have two kids, so there is always stuff around, but it never feels cluttered,” says Alexis. Barn-red walls, an oak floor, and a tawny beadboard ceiling warm up a room lined in vintage white. "People come in," she says, "and have no idea it's new."