A New Colonial Kitchen

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A sunlit, open-plan new addition holds the kitchen and a dining/sitting room with a fireplace.

A sunlit, open-plan new addition holds the kitchen and a dining/sitting room with a fireplace.

The owners, who also live in a restored house in Princeton, New Jersey, wanted an easy transition between old house and new addition, so they specified reclaimed wood and antique doors wherever possible. “I didn’t want typical kitchen cabinets, but ‘cupboards’ and the feeling of a fireplace behind the stove,” says the wife.

The Viking range is a contemporary classic in black enamel, set against a back wall of herringbone brick tiles. Surrounding woodwork is reminiscent of Georgian-era paneled fireplace walls. “Every morning, when I come down to start the coffee and feed the cats, I feel like I go back in time, even though the rooms are new,” the owner says.

Period-inspired cabinets have an evolved, “pieced together” look with multiple antique finishes, including a greenish gray milk paint (sealed for durability) on the base run. Kevin Ritter of Timeless Kitchen Design worked out the details, built the cabinets, and applied the custom finishes.

This Quaker kitchen floor was painted with a color wash to allow the wood grain to show.

The stove niche is treated like a hearth. The yellow corner cabinet is also by Kevin Ritter; it hides the TV. The tall cabinet at right has a distressed, layered finish in yellow ochre, Salem red, and brown milk paint; it holds the microwave oven.

For many years, the owner had admired painted checkerboard floors in magazines. “I knew it was a dramatic and rather expensive move, but my husband is a good sport,” she says. “He said he trusted me and to go ahead.”

Paint-decorator Audrey Stertz taped off 18" squares and painted with black and light-gray color washes (thinned paint), which allows the grain to show. Several coats of polyurethane protect the finish. “The floor makes the room—and by the way, my husband loves it!” says the wife.