Rich and Christina live in the Hancock neighborhood in a lovely 1930’s Tudor-style cottage. The house has so many unique architectural elements, like arched doorways and niches, a curved chimney detail, old Austin brick, and oak flooring. With a master suite and living area that occupy a renovated attic, and two bedrooms, a shared bath, an office, and a powder bath downstairs, this is the perfect family house in a historic neighborhood.
The kitchen, however, was not original, and was not functioning for their family. The old kitchen occupied the middle of the house as a tiny U-shape, with a hulking refrigerator swinging right into the main pathway. A barely-big-enough dining nook was the first room they entered from the back of the house, and the table tended to accumulate lots of bags and incoming items. The original ‘dining room’ was being used more as a playroom with toys and a couch – it was a beautiful room, but under utilized.
Our new plan was to take down the wall dividing kitchen and original dining room, and create a gracious, eat-in kitchen for the family. The back entry area was transformed into a mudroom / lounge, and the utility was expanded to have a wrap-around counter and more functional powder room.
Here is a view of the kitchen before, as seen from the back entry:
Our new kitchen expands into the middle dining room, bringing the kitchen to the heart of the house with a view of the front living area and backyard at the same time. A seating island with a range takes center stage, with a modern vent hood above.
The old kitchen divided the space with a peninsula, but there still wasn’t quite enough room for the dining table. This also resulted in the space feeling choppy without enough definition.
We introduced a large arched opening to define the threshold between the mudroom lounge from the kitchen area. The back entry now has enough space and allows everyone to spread out a little when they get home.
The old dining room was used more as a kids’ play area, but I saw a space that could be better used.
The new kitchen sink moved under these three windows, which were raised to lift above counter height. Otherwise, all the window sizes were preserved. As the exterior of the house is brick, we wanted to bring some of that texture to the interior: this McIntyre Elgin brick tile is 3/8″ thick and glazed a ‘Frappe’ color.
We chose white oak for the cabinetry to blend with the original red & white oak at the floor. The open shelves bring some color with their decorative objects but also provide an accessible spot for the microwave. I love how the brick tile behind the shelves carries through from the exterior, and mimics the fireplace in the front living room.
We took cues from the original house to bring some life into the space. The existing doorway to the hall was altered to match the arched door to the living area, a change that was good for opening up the space and bringing light to different areas of the house. The pantry is tucked away under the stairs in a cabinet that sits almost flush with the wall. The crystal chandelier is a family heirloom, and deserved a new focal point in the home.
At the mudroom entry, we installed new hooks, upper cabinets, and shoe drawers below the bench. The floor tile and walls are dark for aesthetic as well as practical purposes – knicks and dirt that gets tracked in aren’t quite as noticeable!
On the opposite wall, these new shelves frame the window and provide another place for decorative things, photos, books and kids’ toys. I love the fabric Christina picked for the chair, shades and bench seat.
We worked with a great contractor, Matt Davenport of Home Source Construction, who kept his eye on all the details and peculiarities of the old house. He and his crew did an amazing job and got everything done in 7 weeks – fantastic! I know the family was relieved to get back into their normal routine. From what I’ve heard, it’s much easier now for the cook to keep her eye on everything, and the open space means more quality time together.
Contractor: Matt Davenport of Home Source Construction
Tile: Nicole Black of McIntyre & Elgin Butler
Photography: Whit Preston