The ca. 1920 row house, in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia, needed major repairs; it had been gutted by a fire in the 1970s. The subsequent remodeling made no attempt at a period look: “It was a DIY ‘Mediterranean’-style job with tiled countertops and harvest-gold appliances,” says homeowner Lynne Gery; she and her husband, Daniel Womer, bought the house in 1986. “I’d approached a few contractors over the years,” Lynne explains, “but I never met anyone I felt comfortable with. So we procrastinated.” Lynne found Airy Kitchens through their Instagram posts. “They caught my eye because they were different from standard kitchen-designer renovations.
I had the impression that [designer Sean Lewis] devised something original for each client.” Airy Kitchens specializes in period-inspired design for old houses in the greater Philadelphia area. Lewis, the company’s creative director and senior designer, told us that he feels “in sync with the restorations you show.
I’ve been a big fan of Old-House Journal for a long time!”
Lynne wanted a timeless look with an Arts & Crafts influence, to go with the 1920s house and to showcase her collection of ceramics. “I asked for wood floors and more color in the tile, otherwise this design is all Sean,” says Lynne. “He listened, but he also explained what wouldn’t work. I’d initially wanted an island but it simply didn’t fit in this space. He suggested the leaded-glass cabinets, corbel brackets, and banquette seating.”
The custom look was made affordable with Airy Kitchens’ New England line of ready-made cabinets, in cherry. It’s a testament to how good standard cabinets can look, when they are of high quality and the overall design is sound. Multiple door styles and mouldings were used, in three of the firm’s many paint and stain options. Most cabinets have Shaker Inset doors; the hutch is fitted with Colonial Inset doors.
“During our initial consultation,” Sean Lewis says, “we noticed rusty old cast-iron panels in the basement. An antique fireback! We knew it would look great behind the range.” Lynne explains that her late father had salvaged the iron fireback from an old farmhouse. Cleaned up, the fireback is a focal point.
Ellen Mirro & Steve Campbell, Studio TJP, Seattle
Van Dyke’s Restorers
Whitehaven K-6487 and
‘Rose City’ by Rejuvenation
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