Bland and Awkward: Before

The existing 1980s kitchen had an awkward breakfast nook and bland white cabinets with ceramic-tile counters. In search of a more authentic look, the couple took a trip to a salvage yard that yielded the perfect apron sink. At a nearby antiques store they unearthed a vintage stove. Starting with what Jeff calls "these two big anchors," and a nearly square open floor space, he worked out a layout to blend traditional style with modern practicalities, tucking dishwasher drawers and a stainless-steel refrigerator into simple, Shaker-style cabinets. The resulting space has earned the couple the best compliment of all. "Some visitors don't even know the kitchen was remodeled," says Jeff. "They think it's the same vintage as the house."

Shown: A colorful backsplash drew attention away from drab white cabinets and counters.
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