Kitchen Before and After: Old Fashion, New Function
Replacing a poorly built 1960s kitchen gave this Queen Anne home the cooking space it deserved—one with Victorian style and 21st-century convenience
Period home, generic kitchen. It's a familiar finding for buyers looking to score an old house full of original detail. And it was just what David Schloss and his wife, Abigail, ended up with when they moved into their 1875 home in Nyack, New York. The Queen Anne's architecture was largely intact, with one exception: The kitchen was a shoddy, circa-1964 number thoughtlessly tacked on the back. Just as bad for the pair of avid cooks, the space was dinky. Minimal counter space was always cluttered, three tiny windows provided little light, and opening the fridge door blocked the only passage to other rooms.
Shown: A pot rack keeps cookware out of the way but within easy reach. Made of brass bar rails, it looks at home in the Victorian-era house.
Baking supplies are stored under the island. The cool marble top is perfect for rolling old dough.
Local architect Jeffrie Lane worked up a plan to give the couple a larger space that would run the length of the house's back wall, improving the overall proportions. Inside, he gained room for a center island and a cozy dining nook across from a fireplace. Traditional materials like soapstone and marble, white-painted cabinets, and deep crown and base moldings make the new space feel more like a wing of the old house. As a final touch, the back door was closed up in favor of French doors that lead to a colorfully painted side porch—a replica of one on the opposite side of the house. Says Lane, "We reclaimed the character and scale of the original home inside and out."
Shown: The island keeps the microwave off the counter and stores the stand mixer and bakeware.
A computer mounted on the wall above the banquette and a wireless keyboard make online recipe searches more convenient.
The cozy fireplace opposite the dining area has a soapstone surround to echo the kitchen counters. Shelves alongside it hold the homeowners' cookbook collection. The recess above the mantel was built to (eventually) accept a flat-panel TV. New moldings reflect those elsewhere in the house.
A 48-inch pro-style range with six burners, a grill, a full convection oven, and a smaller baking oven is at the heart of the new cooking space. The integral backsplash has an upper shelf to help keep foods warm. The high-powered hood vents heat and odors outdoors.
Range, backsplash, hood: Viking.
Magnetic chalkboard panels hide the refrigerator's stainless-steel front and provide message-center and bulletin-board space. Made to fit a wide array of appliance models, they are a fingerprint- and smudge-resistant alternative to stainless surfaces.
The hanging pot rack is made from brass bar rails bought from a commercial equipment supply company. Including the antique meat hooks the homeowner found on eBay, the rack's total materials cost was less than $100. The pendant lights hang from 5-foot brass rods to help give them an integrated look.
The kitchen went from slapped together and outdated to light, bright, and in keeping with the home's Victorian style. Traditional soapstone and marble cover the counters. Cabinets are painted wood with flat-panel and glass doors. Touches of stainless steel update the look.
The existing kitchen was an awkward 12-by-14-foot box off the back of the house. The entry to the butler's pantry was impassable with the fridge open.
1. Started From Scratch. The homeowners demolished the old 12-by-14-foot, circa-1964 kitchen in favor of
a more workable 16-by-21-foot space that spans the back of the house. All the windows and doors are new.
2. Put In an Island. Adding a central workstation/storage island, complete with a second sink, allowed the couple his-and-hers food-prep areas.
3. Created an Eating Nook. The corner where the back door had been
is now an inviting windowed space that holds built-in bench seating, a small table, and a chair.
4. Relocated Appliances. The range, fridge, and primary sink now form a triangle at one end of the kitchen, away from the seating area. The formerly 2-foot-wide doorway to the butler's pantry (which leads into the dining room) is now a foot wider for better traffic flow.
5. Added a Chimney. Installing
a fireplace meant running a new chimney up through the eaves. Building out the wall made room for bookshelves around it and a recess above it for a flat-panel TV.
6. Built a Porch. To help further tie the kitchen into the rest of the exterior, a side porch was added to echo one on the other side of the house.