Rustic Kitchen Revival
Original features mix with modern upgrades to give a 135-year-old family home the new, larger, more open kitchen it deserves. Here's the "Before" photo:
Whatever a house may technically be made of, if it’s been in your family for generations, it can feel like your flesh and blood. So when Neal Gregory of Buies Creek, NC, remodeled the kitchen in the house his great-grandfather built in 1882, “I wanted to honor its heritage by combining old and new in an inviting, surprising way,” he says.
Shown: Last remodeled in the late 1980s, when the house was a rental property, the existing kitchen was a white box, short on prep space and devoid of personality.
Relocating the cook space to the adjacent living room added 20 square feet, but scrapping the room’s drop ceiling and a non-load-bearing interior wall made it feel even larger. Once original pine beams and walls were exposed and plumbing added, the wood was simply clear-coated to maintain its rustic patina, while the old wood floors got a coat of glossy green-black paint. Stainless-steel appliances, a high-arc pot washer, and sleek scarlet cabinetry brought the kitchen squarely into the 21st century. As a functional focal point, a hog-butchering table from back in the day was transformed into a kitchen island. “My extended family loves to cook and celebrate here now,” Neal says. “My great-grandparents would’ve loved it too.”
Shown: A mix of bold red and aged pine, the new space has a wider entry to the kitchen-turned-dining room. It is also fully open to the new living room addition, making entertaining a pleasure.
Dishwasher, range, and hood: Whirlpool
Matte black granite with a textured leathered finish is a sophisticated bridge between the rustic pine backsplash and the sleek painted cabinets. Unobtrusive undercabinet lighting brightens the dark countertop.
Granite countertop: CityRock Countertops
A hanging rack like this one, crafted out of tier poles salvaged from a local tobacco barn and a stainless-steel grid, is great in a kitchen that’s low on storage, as it frees up how cabinets can be used. Pots hang from extra-long S-hooks that are easy to reposition.
Homeowner Tip: “Not everything has to be perfect! There are nails hanging out of the beams that are part of the house’s history.”
—Neal Gregory, Buies Creek, NC
The cabinet color was inspired by a painting of the homeowner’s, which now hangs nearby. Beveled or “pillowed” edges soften the modern slab-style doors. They are made of MDF, which takes paint well; the tough lacquer finish has a 25 percent sheen for a softer, semimatte look.
Cabinets: Cabico, color matched to Sherwin-Williams’s Fireworks
Relocating to the living room and removing a wall helped to make an open, airy new kitchen
1. Gutted the room to expose wood walls and ceiling beams, and removed a non-load-bearing wall to open the kitchen to a new living room addition.
2. Put the range and microwave drawer near the dining room to make serving easier.
3. Widened the entrance to the adjacent kitchen-turned-dining room by 2 feet.
4. Repurposed an old table as an island for more prep space near the fridge; hung a pot rack above it.
5. Placed the sink beneath the windows to take in the view, with dishwasher and trash/recycling conveniently on either side.
6. Swapped out a single window for a double to gain more natural light.