A Better-Functioning Vintage Kitchen
A major update and revamped layout take a bare-bones kitchen into the future—while adding old-fashioned charm
When you fall in love with a house for its great character, remodeling is a matter of helping new spaces live in harmony with old ones. At least, that's how Tom and Kim Prescott saw the renovation of their 1866 Italianate home and its woefully outdated kitchen. The couple and their three daughters lived in the suburban Naperville, Illinois, house for 10 long years before tackling a major overhaul that included bumping out the kitchen and adding an adjacent laundry room. By then, working with architect Fred Burghardt, kitchen designer Pamela Polvere, and contractor Marty Brummel, "we knew exactly what we wanted," says Tom. Their wish list included more storage and prep space and a big dose of vintage style, including a spot for the rebuilt 1930s Magic Chef stove that Tom bought on eBay and drove home from Montana. Today, after adding and subtracting space, the Prescotts have Shaker-style cabinets, honed black granite and butcher-block countertops, and room to hang out, making the kitchen their go-to spot. Says Tom, "It finally feels right, like having a part of the house that was always missing."
Pictured: Kim and Tom, with their English bulldog, Murphy, enjoy a kitchen that balances high performance with vintage charm.
Architect: Fred Burghardt, Oak Park, IL, 708-848-9330
The disjointed, L-shaped kitchen had a range isolated on one wall and little prep space.
Homeowner tip: Kim Prescott, Naperville, Ill. says, "Give glass-front cabinets a period look by having panes cut to fit from old windows or restoration glass that's made with imperfections."
The 262-square-foot kitchen was poorly laid out, with the range around the corner from the fridge. It also lacked prep space.
By adding and subtracting space, the kitchen became a square. It's smaller by 4 square feet but much more workable.
1. Bumped out the sink wall 6 feet to create a step-saving layout, and added a pair of windows over the basins.
2. Added a storage island that hides a microwave and doubles as a table.
3. Moved the range and fridge to create efficient work triangles, and flanked the range with prep counters.
4. Trimmed the L, donating that space to a new laundry room next door.
5. Widened an opening to the breakfast room for better flow. A basement door was removed, and a new entry leads to the hall.