Remodeling a 1925 Prairie-Style Kitchen

Family furniture and a motif from the house add personality to a light-filled kitchen.
prairie style kitchen

In remodeling the kitchen for a Prairie-style Sears kit home built in 1925, “the objectives were (a) to have the kitchen match the style of the house; (b) to leave walls where they were; (c) to salvage what we could of the room,” says architect Steve Campbell, AIA, a principal at Seattle’s Studio TJP. 

The existing kitchen was inefficient. An eating nook occupied the space where the red table and baking station are now; that area was partitioned from the kitchen by a bank of upper and lower cabinets that blocked light. “We left the kitchen sink where it was,” Campbell explains. No square footage was added. The window over the breakfast table was relocated. Flooring is original. 

Appliances and sink are along the east wall. “One of the owners installed the tile himself, wearing a Fair Isle sweater, and didn’t get a drop of adhesive on it,” says project architect Ellen Mirro, AIA. On the opposite side, cabinets run in a L-shape along the west wall and part of the north wall. Upper cabinets are dressed up with a cutout tulip design taken from a stylized, Arts & Crafts-era motif in the stained-glass sidelights at the entry door. The motif repeats on the floor, where wood stain was carefully applied to a pattern incised into the wood.

1. The Motif

When stained-glass cabinet fronts proved to be “fabulously expensive,” the team came up with a cutout tulip motif that echoes existing stained glass at the entry. A laser cutter inscribed the routered pattern.

prairie style cabinetry

2. Tile Backsplash

Glossy green subway tile from Ann Sacks is used as a high wainscot on the working side of the kitchen, forming an easy-to-clean backsplash behind the sink and range. Beadboard on the opposite wall is painted in the same color.

3. Traditions

Perimeter counters are PaperStone, anchoring the traditional black-and-white scheme. The island is topped with true butcher block. Although it can be used as a cutting surface, the owners prefer to preserve it by using cutting boards.

4. Personal Touch

The red dining set pops against pale-green accents in the black-and-white room. “I first sat at that table Thanksgiving weekend 1949, at my uncle’s home in Seattle,” the owner remembers. He believes it dates to before 1929. 

red vintage table


Ellen Mirro, AIA, & Steve Campbell, AIA, Studio TJP, Seattle 

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