It’s nice to have a kitchen with modern updates, but sometimes those updates can suck the charm out of an old home. That was the case here, in architect Taylor Palumbo’s 1943 home. While the kitchen had been renovated pretty recently — just back in 2014 — the redo made the cook space feel a little dull.
The dullness wasn’t the only issue here, though. The kitchen itself was tiny — just 8 feet by 8 feet — and Taylor wanted something that both looked and felt bigger, with larger appliances.
Taylor also wanted the kitchen to feel less closed off, and more connected to the adjacent living space. “My husband and I both love to cook and prep, so having more space was necessary,” Taylor said. And since she’s an architect, she says, “having the ability to design and manage the project myself made it even more exciting.”
Along the way, Taylor and her husband did much of the reno work themselves, including demolishing the old kitchen and recovering the old-growth Douglas fir framing to save for another project, then installing new drywall for their more open layout cook space. It’s a bit bigger than the old kitchen, and also features an opening to the adjacent living room to help the whole area feel more cohesive.
In place of the old white cabinets, Taylor chose gray walnut ones, which the couple had professionally installed. “I absolutely love the all-wood cabinets,” she says. “The grain is so beautiful and the custom detailing makes them feel like they were always meant to be in this house. The rest of my style is midcentury modern and I wanted cabinets that would give a nod to that era.”
Pro-installed white counters keep the kitchen nice and bright, and complement both the wood cabinets and the gray elongated subway tile backsplash Taylor installed herself in a cool stacked pattern — not to mention the exposed brick that the couple left in place.
The new kitchen makes room for larger appliances, too, though installation hit a hitch:
“When we slid the new range into place, it hit the plumbing line for the gas which means we had to call the plumber out to move the gas line over literally one inch so the range would fit against the wall, which cost $250,” Taylor says.
Even with a couple of hiccups, though, the kitchen came out just as Taylor had hoped — and then some. “I’m proud of the work that my husband and I did to make this happen,” she says. “We definitely learned things along the way but it all came out better than expected at the end.”
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