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Traditional Design for a Modern Kitchen

Fitted white cabinets and classic materials are the centerpiece of this open-plan kitchen. By Patricia Poore | Photos by Thom Greene

    Illuminated display cabinets create a warm frieze under the soaring ceiling.

    This new kitchen occupies a rebuilt addition on a 1911 Foursquare in Chicago. With graphic mid-century furniture in the adjoining family room, owners Chris Young and David Lutman had a vision for a clean, white space: “We wanted a functional kitchen that fit the character of the house—modern yet classic, and with a touch of the unexpected.”

    “The clients have a strong design sense, developed during their time in Europe,” says designer Rick Proppe. They asked for a lot of storage, but no clutter visible from the family room; the solution is a large walk-in pantry. A bead detail on cabinets lends a contemporary look to their flat-panel fronts. Topmost display cabinets are fitted with glass and lit from recessed (low-voltage) puck lights inside, creating a kind of frieze that warms the room.

    Fine fittings include the white tile, marble countertops, spray faucet, and cabinet hardware.

    An unexpected bonus is that the ‘Calcutta Gold’ marble countertops, with their swirling grays and soft browns, complement the stained oak flooring. “The kitchen is white, but it feels warm,” says David. The stainless steel stove and countertop create a pleasing sight line from the family room.

    “Our favorite treatment is the vaulted ceiling with skylights,” say the owners, which came about as Proppe laid out a second-story master suite. It opens up a space that is otherwise intimate. Structural collar ties are painted black to echo the island finish.

    Visible from the family room, the kitchen is monochromatic and neatly fitted.


    Design: Greene & Proppe Design, Chicago
    Cabinets: custom by Superior Wood Products
    Hardware: Katonah Architectural Hardware
    Tile: ‘Modulas’ in Cotton White by Trikeenan Tileworks
    Island Countertop: ‘Sueded’ stainless steel by Soupcan, Chicago
    Stove & Hood: Viking Range
    Light Fixture: ‘Sky Garden’ by Lightology

    Bonus Photo Gallery: Versatile White Cabinets

    Always the standard, white-painted cabinets are made period-appropriate depending on tint, design, and hardware.

    Published in: Old-House Interiors March/April 2011


    Kim Moffet January 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Looking for ideas on a frig … have a new house built to look like an Old House … Victorian … are their any reproductions with wooden doors … that look vintage?? … not so modern …

    Thanks Kim

    Lee January 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    This kitchen does hide some appliances but…cover up that range hood!

    Stainless steel was not produced in the US until 1929. It was invented in the 20th century. Why put this into any traditional kitchen? Sorry….this is a real pet peeve of mine. I’d rather hide modern appliances than showcase them. Not in my 1850 home!

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