Traditional Design for a Modern Kitchen

This new kitchen occupies a rebuilt addition on a 1911 Foursquare in Chicago.

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

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.

Tags: cabinets kitchens OHI March/April 2011 Old-House Interiors Patricia Poore Thom Greene

By Patricia Poore

Patricia Poore is Editor-in-chief of Old-House Journal and Arts & Crafts Homes, as well as editorial director at Active Interest Media’s Home Group, overseeing New Old House, Traditional Building, and special-interest publications. 

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