Editors’ Picks: Modern Kitchens, Traditional Touches

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Our editors highlight new and classic articles, along with favorite products and current bookstore sales. This week, discover how to blend modern concepts with traditional details in the kitchen.In our modern times, where the kitchen is widely considered the heart of the home, the closed-off cooking sanctums of eras past just don't mesh with most folks' ideas of what the perfect kitchen should be. Gone are the days when servants prepared food behind closed doors and it appeared, as if by magic, on the dining table each night—the busy households of today long for open, bustling hubs that can fill multiple roles, from food-prep center to family hang-out spot to makeshift office.


But how do you sate today's desires for a modern kitchen while still staying true to the era of your home? Here are three kitchens with modern layouts but traditional touches in three very different homes—a Spanish-style villa, a Shingle cottage, and a 19th-century Federal—to mine for clues.

A Spanish Eclectic Kitchen: Designer Liza Kerrigan creates a kitchen in keeping with a Hollywood house’s origins.

Double Duty: Designer Audrey Anderson masterminds a bright kitchen based on traditional elements that caters to both family meals and formal dinners.

A Cook's Country Kitchen: Despite two centuries of change, character remains intact in this 1812 house, where a peculiar room with a hearth in the middle became a stunning family kitchen.

New This Week

Unique Baths for Old Houses: Those very retro, white-tile baths are attractive, but may not suit every old house.

Old-House Bathroom

A Mission Garden: The hilly, unkempt site wasn’t his first choice, but Jim Bishop used its limitations to create a stunning, low-water landscape with rock-strewn dry streambeds, tile-decorated garden rooms, potted succulents, and meandering steps.

Products & Services Directory

Fireview Wood-Burning Cookstove, $4995
From Elmira Stove Works


You have to be pretty dedicated to period appliances to choose this cookstove. A gorgeous example of reproduction appliances, this wood-burning cookstove gives a nod to modern convenience with optional gas ranges. The 3.0 cubic foot wood-fired oven can heat your room or cook your turkey.

View all appliances for old houses in the Products & Services Directory.


Check out the Old-House bookstore for more great deals!

Old World Kitchens and Bathrooms
Price:$19.95 Sale: $16.96
Purchase now!


By Tina Skinner & Melissa Cardona. 2004 Paperback. 112 pages. This must have design guide is filled with 165 photos depicting the design trend of today's home. Enjoy these marvelous kitchens and baths as you travel through the bygone era of European style.

Editors' Picks

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Products of the Week

A pendant light over the door adds a stately touch to the ubiquitous Victorian porch; Brass Light Gallery’s London Lantern mimics the design of 19th-century streetlights.

Brass Light Gallery

Interior and exterior architectural lighting for your home and garden, in styles from Victorian to '30s Modern. Select from 15 finish options. Made in USA since 1974. They also have a vintage/antique lighting department, and offer expert restoration services.


Unico System

A central heating and cooling system using "aspiration" technology to warm and cool homes evenly and quietly with flexible small ducts that weave through ceilings, walls, and even floors.