My favorite color is green, and this bright grassy green works in a smaller, enclosed space. Look closely at the apparently historical, small-print paper in the room: another twist on tradition. (It’s a good man who doesn’t object to pink puppy-dog wallpaper in his bar!)
A walnut dry pantry is at one end of cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore’s Lace Handkerchief, a versatile light beige; the view takes in the formal dining room beyond.
The navy blue-enameled stove in its alcove is a strong focal point in the kitchen, cueing historical details and colors in the rest of the space. Under retractable pendant lights, the center island is unfitted and has multiple functions.
Implied layers of history
I wanted the kitchen area to be more in keeping with the 1790 house, even though this space is not entirely original: to recapture the footprint and integrity of the historic, narrow ell connector between house and barn; envision the 1970s bump-out as a later screened porch that has been enclosed; imply a hearth alcove for the stove; use wide-board heart pine flooring throughout to match the house. We’d also specify raised-panel cabinets. All this in a workable floor plan, without any adding-on.
Creating a Focal Point
This vintage-style, blue-enameled range in an alcove is the single most critical piece of the kitchen, after the raised ceiling and additional windows. The alcove is an important part of the implied history. This space was probably the summer kitchen, with its own hearth. During the Victorian era, inserting the kitchen stove into an alcove helped contain the stove’s heat and fireproof the kitchen. • I had long coveted a (pricey) European stove. A few years ago, Aga, venerable maker of English enameled cast-iron ranges, introduced their 48″ ‘Elise’ model—an updated classic with stainless-steel trim, which costs about $4000 less than comparable stoves.
The boot room is the entry between a screened porch and the kitchen, unfitted and old-fashioned.
A boot room for me
I did a long blog post about the difference between boot rooms (English) and mudrooms (American). I concluded the difference is . . . the Atlantic Ocean—kind of like sneakers vs. trainers, custom vs. bespoke. Although the post is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, my point is that the English boot room is a lived-in, devil-may-care space in muddy colors, with unfitted benches, hooks for coats, hunting equipment—all slightly shabby. On the other hand, Americans have turned mudrooms, some with an infinitude of space, into optimistic, obsessively planned organization rooms with built-in compartments. In either case, it’s a place to come in from outdoors. Durable floors and finishes are a must. We don’t have a lot of space, but we do have icy, wet, and muddy weather. Furthermore, our budget was tapped out. Therefore, our boot room takes inspiration from England, with an indoor–outdoor floor, a closet to hide stuff, vintage pieces, and lots of pegs.
Pretty fabric panels elevate the bifold doors that hide coats and clutter. Everyday items hang on pegs. The flooring is durable 1/2″ brick.
Now this space functions for storage, and as a butler’s pantry and laundry room. The washer and dryer, economically hidden behind simple café curtains, are recessed into space under the stairs, freeing up the aisle. • I wanted upper cabinets to feel open, yet we don’t have lots of pretty barware for display. Linen-backed open doors with wire insets lend just the right lightness and informality. • My favorite grassy green would have been too much in the kitchen, which has sight lines to formal rooms, but here it’s perfect.
“Marble was one of my coveted splurges. Danby marble has a lower than usual absorption rate; so far, mine has not absorbed any stains, not even from raspberries. The inevitable soft etching fits the aesthetic.”
Family spaces merge seamlessly in what was once an awkward, narrow ell. Beyond the seating area is the screened porch flanking the attached barn.
Not all kitchens have islands
The reasons people give for “needing” an island may be the result of showroom propaganda. A place for the Cuisinart pop-up, an under-counter wine rack, an extra freezer drawer, a trash compactor? Do we really need all of these?
An island can mess up the circulation pattern (too many steps around it!) or block the open oven door. My rule: If you don’t have room for a 30″ island with a minimum of 42″ around it (48″ is better), skip it.
A traditional center table in the kitchen is cozy and multi-functional. Use it for prep and eat in the dining room, or take meals here, in real chairs rather than on stools. My table is solid cherry and heavy enough to use as a work table. Its finish is indestructible.
It was hard to find a table 34″ deep and up to 80″ in length (American tables tend to be 30″ deep). So I imported this one from England. It has a utensil drawer, which is invaluable given my limited storage in the kitchen proper.
The bump-out extension, now the keeping-room part of the kitchen, is flanked by the original old house at left and the barn-turned-garage on the right.
See Amy whole renovation story at homeglowdesign.com
designer Amy Mitchell, Home Glow Design homeglowdesign.com
windows Architect Series Pella pella.com
wood floors t&g heart pine finished by Olde Tyme Craftsmen nhwoodfloors.com
cabinets custom LKM Design lkm-design.com
counters Olympian White Select Vermont Danby Marble vermontdanbymarble.com
range ‘Elise’ in Midnight Blue AGA aga-ranges.com
fireclay sink Shaws Original by Rohl rohlhome.com
soap dispensers Urban Ember urbanember.com
pendant lights Hector Finch hectorfinch.com
lighting Dandelion chandelier & sink fixture Hudson Valley Lighting hudsonvalleylighting.hvlgroup.com
kitchen hardware House of Antique Hardware houseofantiquehardware.com
wood stove Pacific Energy pacificenergy.net
lampshade Cruel Mountain Designs etsy.com/shop/CruelMountain
blue coffee table Gat Creek gatcreek.com
wallpaper ‘Baxter’ from Anna French Small Scale Collection through Thibaut Design thibautdesign.com