Retro Kitchen Redo
A vintage stove and sink help a couple create a kitchen that's in sync with their 1930s house
Many an older home loses its charm once you set foot in the kitchen. Details lost in an effort to modernize turn into holy grails for owners down the line. For Sharon Lovejoy and Jeff Prostovich, turning back the clock in the cook space of their 1930s house, in San Luis Obispo, California started with a couple of lucky shopping finds.
Shown: The redesign evolved around two vintage pieces: a farm sink patented in 1923 and a 1950s-era O'Keefe & Merritt six-burner range. Open shelves turn everyday dishes into an artful display.
Cabinetmaker: Ellis & Doyle, San Luis Obispo, CA; 805-543-4669
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.
Maple counters with breadboard ends flank the range, below the burner height. The cabinetmaker built a hood to conceal the vent liner and ductwork.
The poorly planned space featured a half-wall enclosure around the breakfast nook.
The unimpeded, almost square footprint, with a 6-foot table in the center, feels much more spacious.
1. Set the stove between ample countertops where the cooktop had been.
2. Installed a bank of tall cabinets with rollout shelves, tucking in the counter-depth refrigerator for a tidy look.
3. Used open shelves around the stove to display dishware.
4. Centered the sink below a window and added dishwasher drawers to either side.
5. Created a cozy sitting area with a rocker and low bookshelves.