remodeled 1850s cottage kitchen with open shelving
Photo: Jack Thompson
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Creating an Open Kitchen

Few rooms are more appealing than a bright, open kitchen that invites family and friends to gather round. So after Tracy Stephenson Shaffer and her husband, Doug, gutted the makeshift cooking space in their 1852 cottage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, they wanted to connect the kitchen to an adjacent family room, using a peninsula with stool seating on one side to ­delineate the two. The open-plan configuration would also keep the focus on the crowd-pleasing 1950s Chambers stove that inspired the room’s vintage style.

Fortunately, the couple was willing to take on most of the work themselves, with plenty of help from Tracy's dad, who salvaged the original heart-pine floor and built the Shaker-style cabinets. Sweat equity freed up funds in the couple's $15,000 budget for new wiring, plumbing, and gas lines, as well as a $2,600 overhaul of the old stove. With one wall down, two dreary rooms became one cheery family room kitchen with a separate table for playing games and doing crafts with their young daughter, Sara.

The new space, together with the mini mudroom they created in an entry alcove, honors the history of the home and functions much more ­efficiently, says Doug. Which is another way of saying that they nailed the period look and got the family-friendly upgrade they needed, too.

See more in A Kitchen Gets Modern Flow With Major Savings.
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