Cottage Style for a Kitchen

Nostalgic details belie the room’s efficiency and storage capacity.
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This post-millennium kitchen easily might have survived since the 1940s. Timeless and charming, it has good work spaces and efficient flow as well as vintage bits and period holdovers.

vintage cottage kitchen

The owner insisted on using the salvaged soapstone sink they’d found.

This iteration replaced a 1970s “avocado” remodeling in the 1890 Shingle-style cottage. With Susan Booth of Vintage Kitchens, in Concord, N.H., the homeowners decided to stay within the original footprint. The room is 12" x 12". A modern-day “gourmet kitchen” was out of the question, given the space and the character of the old house. So they made the most of the space, which offers plain cabinets, open shelves, a dishwasher, and a stove alcove. Two original pantries help with storage. The pantries also provided cues for the design of cabinets, mouldings, and other architectural details.

The owner insisted on using the salvaged soapstone sink they’d found. Attic floorboards became one countertop. A small sideboard of the Victorian period was fitted with casters to become a movable island; its original marble top is good for pastry making. The lighting fixture overhead is retractable.

“My goal was to have a kitchen that looked like it came with the house,” says the homeowner. “I couldn't be happier with the results.”


On display are the owner’s grandmother’s Fiesta and Harlequin dinnerware and other collections.

Open shelving fills space next to a wall-hung upper cabinet in a kitchen corner. On display are the owner’s grandmother’s Fiesta and Harlequin dinnerware and other collections. Shelves are edged with a period fabric.

The soapstone sink, a local salvage find, was an important part of the kitchen design. An old, Forties-vintage tablecloth in the owner’s collection was used to make attractive curtains—an easy, DIY sewing project.

The refurbished antique gas stove sits in an alcove created by moving a closet and a dumbwaiter. New woodwork was copied from original examples in the Victorian-period house. 

Over the stove, a decorative shelf held on brackets displays favorites from a collection of old teapots. The practical, wall-hung pot rack to the left is an old towel bar fitted with hooks.


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Kitchen faucet from Signature Hardware

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1940s-style treatments

1940s-style treatments.

Turn to Etsy if you don’t want to make your own curtains or valances from vintage tablecloths. A Vintage Look makes up 1940s-style treatments from retro fabrics.

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Vinyl lace edging.

Evoke Grandma’s kitchen. Especially effective behind a glass door, this peel-and-stick vinyl lace edging is inexpensive and washable. (Many users recommend adding double-sided tape.) Sold through

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