By Tim Tanner
Despite remodelings and our expectation of modern function, the old-house kitchen is a favorite space, often exuding atmosphere. It’s possible to combine old and new—adding a fireplace or unfitted (mismatched) cabinets along with historical colors and vintage serving ware. My own favorite maker of period-inspired kitchens is David T. Smith of Ohio. You’ll see several of his kitchens here.
This kitchen (below) is in the home of Roger and Sylvia Libbey, in York County, Maine. The house was built ca. 1770 and has been in Roger’s family since 1849. An antique New England table and chairs make it an “eat in” kitchen. A cooktop hides under the breadboard on the countertop; the oven is behind cupboard doors. The refrigerator is behind the tall mustard-colored cupboard.
A “collected kitchen” of antique pieces and things made of reclaimed wood, this one (left) is in a replica home in Lancaster, Ohio. Owner Ginny Curry is a master of primitive decorating. She and her husband, Bill, build shelves and cabinets themselves. The room is filled with the owners’ collections of wooden bowls, firkins, buckets, baskets, etc. Appliances hide unobtrusively, making it a modern kitchen in everyday use.
Living in Stark County, Ohio, Howard and Marsha Miller decided to construct a New England-style replica house (below) that’s a mix of old and new. Their solution in the kitchen is a galley of matched cabinets (albeit with traditional styling) along one wall, balanced by hewn beams, wide-board paneling, and antique flooring. Furniture is antique, and colors are of the period. The effect is seamless.