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.
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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.