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Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Kitchen

The goal was a fully functional kitchen that looked original to the meticulously restored Victorian-period house.
By Brian D. Coleman | Photos by Blackstone Edge Studios

    Unfitted pieces, plain walls, and the center table are in keeping with the period of the house. The “icebox” cabinet in an alcove at center disguises the Miele refrigerator. The cabinet to the right is original. A painted canvas floorcloth protects the floor.

    Built in 1906, the house in Portland, Oregon, is a corner-lot Queen Anne beauty with a tower and a wrap-around veranda. Modest in size, the house had good bones and a wealth of details waiting to be brought back when Chris and Audry Bond purchased it. But it was a fixer-upper, and the 1970s time-warp kitchen (with an orange sink and matching linoleum, turquoise walls, and prancing roosters in the frieze) had to go.

    “The first time we used the dishwasher, we flooded the kitchen,” Chris says; rats had chewed through the drainage hose. The previous owner had fallen through the ceiling while he was working on the bathroom above. Two decades later, the entire house is a Victorian Revival showpiece.

    The 1899 ‘Real Economy’ stove is the centerpiece. The new custom-made steel hood and pipe are painted with stove black.

    The kitchen was the last project, finally tackled two years ago when Audry, suffering from cabin fever during a prolonged ice storm, took crowbar and sledgehammer to the room. Now it’s a modern kitchen disguised as a period piece that fits right in.

    The Bonds’ attention to detail is remarkable. When members of the Victorian Society visited, they marveled at the antique stove and vintage sink, and mistook the new refrigerator cabinet for an authentic icebox.

    The tin ceiling is painted in a color that suggests the patina made by smoke. New cupboards made from salvaged fir were built to match the pantry cabinet that had survived in the room.

    This cupboard is new, built to match existing woodwork. The working phone is a restored antique.

    Chris and Audry both love to cook, so it’s no surprise that the first thing they bought was an immense, antique seven-burner gas stove. Restored (now with electric ovens) by stove guru Dave Erickson, it weighs 745 pounds and was wrestled into place by a team of Samoan piano movers.

    It worked just fine last Thanksgiving, when Chris and Audry whipped up a gourmet Victorian repast for 14 guests: soup, crab cakes, braised turkey, prime rib, vegetable side dishes, mashed potatoes, and two pies. The disguised, full-size refrigerator and the hidden dishwasher drawers did their part.

    The couple was guided by designers Karla Pearlstein and Matthew Roman. Detailed drawings of every feature and placement made the remodeling go smoothly; the project took only seven weeks.

    Published in: Old-House Interiors January/February 2013

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