Revival Kitchen in a Queen Anne

With the look of a butler’s pantry full of built-ins, it’s family-friendly.

Once tired and lacking character, this large, 19th-century Queen Anne house was extensively renovated, and its exterior beautifully restored and polychromed. Architect Frank Shirley, of Cambridge, Mass., also designed a new garage in Queen Anne style for the property. Interior renovations brought the family four new bathrooms, all with period inspiration; a new master suite; and a writer’s studio.

kitchen eating nook

A movable table allows maximum adaptability of the space.

A key design element is a “circulation spine” created down the center of the house, connecting with the previously isolated caboose of a kitchen to make it the family center. This area of the house got a 70-square-foot addition to provide space for a separate mudroom.

The character is that of late-19th-century pantries and kitchens. The Indian owners brought their passion for color, provided by painted cabinets, textiles for a lively complement to the blue trim, and a tile backsplash that adds adds color and pattern without overwhelming the room. Top cabinets have perforated metal fronts in unlaquered brass, adding interest and more pattern and yet concealing stored objects.

Continuing the transitional look ca. 1895–1910, a built-in breakfast banquette occupies the other end of the room. A movable table allows maximum adaptability of the space.

period style kitchen

A simple, flat-panel style is a back-of-house classic that works in almost every period.

Cabinets rise to the ceiling in emulation of a built-in butler’s pantry; top cabinets with perforated-metal fronts add interest and proportion. A simple, flat-panel style is a back-of-house classic that works in almost every period.

Materials and details recalling an earlier time include the tin ceiling, adjustable pulley lights, a wood floor, and the center island imagined as an unplumbed work table. Bull’s-eye corner blocks and fluted casings match original trim. 

The room is nevertheless modern in design, function, and sensibility, with stainless-steel appliances, a cooktop instead of a freestanding range, and decorative tiles enhancing the backsplash.

Be Inspired

Cobb-series Rise & Fall Pendant light

Rise & Fall Pendant light.

The adjustable-height Cobb-series Rise & Fall Pendant light is made to order by Original BTC in Stoke-on-Trent, England. With a bone china coolie shade and braided cotton cable, it has a diameter of 13"; through online retailers and at

Circles, squares, and diamonds enliven Pattern #2, a popular Victorian-style tin-ceiling design. (Pattern #3 is the 6" version, for small rooms and backsplashes.) In 52 colors and specialty finishes, drop-in or nail-up; unfinished.

Sold with or without a damper, round register covers made of cast iron are available from Vintage Hardware. For use in a floor, ceiling, or wall, grilles fit holes from 4" to 12".

‘Arlene’ rug, nuLOOM

‘Arlene’ rug.

Design-forward and affordable, the ‘Arlene’ rug in Blue is from nuLOOM. The flatweave rug In 50/50 jute and polyester has a natural look but resists stains and is easy to clean. Sizes range from a 6' runner to 7'6" x 9'6".

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