I had the pleasure of doing a total kitchen renovation for a Virginia client of mine. The house had great bones, but the kitchen needed a great update. The clients and I agreed that the original painted wood paneling and a raise hearth fireplace were both charming and spoke the character of the house. A wall separated the kitchen from the family room and eventually it became clear that the wall should be removed entirely. The raised hearth fireplace was curious and at first a challenge in the family room. Rather than just disregarding or removing the hearth and tearing everything down to the studs I really let the period paneling and turn of the century fireplace drive the design.
I just read a quote this morning from a book titled A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman:
“Much of the Beauty that arises in art comes from the struggle an artist wages with his limited medium” -Henri Matisse
This is not to say that the kitchen is a work of art but rather that good design may develop because there are parameters or challenges. I think the final result of this kitchen really does work and is beautiful and that is greatly true because of how these original features of the home informed the design.
A true gift was working with a local cabinetmaker, his family has been crafting cabinetry in Virginia for generations. He beautifully crafted the island and new cabinetry to match the original kitchen. The kitchen countertops are honed Carrara marble and the hearth is a local Virginia soapstone from Spectrum Stone Designs. I moved the gas range and oven, which was previously located in the wall we removed, to the same wall as the fireplace and added a custom wood paneled hood. All the appliances are stainless and for a bit of bling I added a glass subway tile to the backsplash.
If we were in Colonial Virginia the fireplace would have been where everything was cooked and eventually ovens would be moved next to the fireplace. This kitchen is quite a step up from the Colonial kitchen but keeps that same idea.
Jamestown Cottage Interior
One of my favorite features was keeping the original Virginia brick as the fireplace surround. Now the rest of the house really flows and the kitchen feels like it was meant to be this way.
It truly is a warm and inviting kitchen and family room and I think that all of this winter snow just makes it even cozier! All that’s left to make this completely comfy are 4 old wire coat hangers, jumbo marshmallows, graham crackers and a big Hersey bar!