The Cross House

Wanna Meet My Kitchen PLAN?

After three years of endlessly thinking about the new kitchen for the Cross House, I have at last created a plan.

Will I build the plan? Only time will tell.

I have endlessly pondered these possibilities:

  1. Create a dazzling modernist kitchen.
  2. Create an authentic 1894 period-correct kitchen.
  3. Create a period kitchen from the 1920s or 1930s or 1950s.

Each option has positives and negatives.

Create a dazzling modernist kitchen

Pros:

  • Ease of use.
  • I love modernism (even though I live in a Victorian-era house).

Cons:

  • Too much of a disconnect?

Create an authentic 1894 period-correct kitchen

Pros:

  • Quite the dramatic statement! Visually incredible! My guests will be gobsmacked!

Cons:

  • I would not want to use such a kitchen. I mean, a coal/wood stove? An ice chest? No dishwasher? Bad lighting? Ahhhh, no!

Create a period kitchen styled from the 1920s or 1930s or 1950s

Pros:

  • Such a kitchen would appear to be a later remodeling, and would offer modern convenience without the possible jarring effect of a modernist kitchen.

Cons:

  • This would falsify the historical timeline. “Oh! I love your vintage kitchen!” If I did a 1920s-style kitchen, 99% of people would think it was the original 1894 kitchen! “You have an ORIGINAL kitchen! And in perfect condition!” I would cringe every time I heard this.

 

FRAUD!

There is an option #4: Create a supposed period-correct 1894 kitchen. This would mean that the overall look would be old-timey but I could still put in a dishwasher, a modern range, a sink at a modern height (higher than in 1894), and some built-in cabinets with convenient things like drawers.

Except this ain’t a period-correct kitchen. I call this a period-incorrect kitchen. Such a kitchen would not be what the Cross House had in 1894. It would be a modern kitchen with but elements of 1894.

Such kitchens are created everyday. “Oh! I want a period-correct kitchen!” I hear this all the time on HGTV and read this all the time in magazines. But nobody creates period-correct kitchens. Nobody. OK, maybe four people have out of 7.4 billion people.

What people do is create totally of-the-moment kitchens but in a traditional style.

I repeat:

What people do is create totally of-the-moment kitchens but in a traditional style.

And that is fine. But stop calling them period-correct! Just stop! STOP!

 

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THIS is a period-correct 1890s kitchen. And NOBODY wants this. While I find the image fascinating, I, too, would NOT want to to actually use this kitchen. And my back just aches looking at how low everything is.

 

 

THE 1894 PLAN

When I purchased the Cross House three years ago I had NO idea of what an 1894 kitchen would have looked like.

Today, I have a pretty good idea and have “recreated” the plan of the original Cross House kitchen:

 

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Somewhat conjectural plan.

 

  1. Likely location of sink. The tall backsplash would have covered part of the window (as seen in the archival image above).
  2. Possible drainboard over radiator.
  3. Coal/wood range. Location actual.
  4. Ice chest (extant).
  5. Tables.

In 1894 the kitchen would not have had any built-in cabinets as are common today. This only became the norm in the 1930s.

In 1894 the kitchen had, likely, a center table and one under the window. There may have been a few open shelves next to the window. There would have been several small chairs in the room. In short, save the sink, everything floated, detached from the walls. The total opposite of how kitchens are designed today.

 

THE 2016 PLAN

After endless pondering, I am am breathless to present The Plan.

My thought was to restore the room:

  • Restore the yellow-pine floor, long buried under later flooring.
  • Restore the wood wainscoting.
  • Restore all the original windows.
  • Recreate all the original colors.
  • Install period-correct gas/electric lighting (one pendant, and several sconces in original locations).

When all this is done, the room will be restored to its 1894 appearance. There will be no crown molding added, no can lights punched in the ceiling, and no wallpaper. Harrison and Susan Cross could walk into the room and recognize it.

Because everything else in the 1894 kitchen floated, a way cool idea popped into my head.

What if I did the same?

But…but…a modern take on the idea?

What if I just installed a huge island? And had everything save the range be part of the island?

This modernist island would float in the 1894 room.

Two eras in dialog.

Two eras in dialog.

I cannot express how thrilling I find this concept.

 

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The plan.

 

  1. Island
  2. “UFO”
  3. Double Sinks
  4. Barstool(s)
  5. TV
  6. Counter for microwave, blender, toaster.
  7. Radiator
  8. Recreated laundry chute
  9. Recreated dumbwaiter
  10. Relocated butler’s pantry cabinet.
  11. New door
  12. “Infill” cabinet
  13. Rolling cabinets

ISLAND

The island is huge. 5-feet wide and 9-feet, 6-inches long. It will offer acres of counter space. I am open to what the counter will be made of. The north end of the island (top on drawing) will mostly be open shelves under to store pots and pans.  These will be effortlessly accessed from the range.

Sitting in two flat wicker baskets on the island, and under the UFO, will be daily items in glass jars like cereal, sugar, and rice. Also salt/pepper, olive oil, and etc. I will simply pull a basket to me when needing something.

Under the counter will be two drawer-style refrigerators and one drawer freezer. If needed, another freezer can be placed in the basement for non-daily items. There will also be a dishwasher. There will be drawers to the left of the sink for flatware and other items. And an ice-maker!

UFO

Above the island will be a second counter, floating about two-feet above the island. The UFO is 2-feet wide x 6-feet. Built into its bottom will be LED lighting to wash the island with light. Built into the two vertical supports for the UFO will be electrical outlets.

The reason for the UFO is that it will offer an easy place for everyday dishes, glassware, and mixing bowls. I can empty the dishwasher and effortlessly place the daily items on the UFO. I have long lived with open shelving and enjoy it. I dislike having to open/close cabinet doors a hundred times daily.

Non-daily items will be stored in the two pantries.

DOUBLE SINK

The counter will have two holes cut for under-counter sinks. I will not be installing a farmhouse-syle sink.

BARSTOOLS

Across from the sink will be a place for two barstools. So, somebody can have a seat and talk with the cook! Or chop vegetables!

MICROWAVE

This will be placed in the main pantry, along with the blender and toaster.

ROLLING CABINETS

To each side of the range (in the 1894 location) will be rolling carts fitted with drawers. I do not want built-in cabinets obscuring the fine brick chimney breast which will be a prominent feature of the room.

 

The beauty of the plan is:

  • Acres of counter.
  • I love how few steps I will have to walk between dishwasher, sink, refrigerator, and range. And grabbing a plate or glass or pan will all be effortless.
  • The counter will be awash with light, but the rest of the room will have 1894 atmospheric lighting levels.

Under the counter there will be almost no cabinets. There is one drawer unit. And one section of open shelves for pots/pans. That is it. The rest will be appliances and a well for the barstools. This plan could not work without the adjacent pantries.

So, while the counter will likely cost a fortune, as will the appliances, I will spend almost nothing on cabinets.

I will create a full-scale mock-up of the island and UFO, and adjust accordingly, tweaking dimensions/heights.

The end result should prove incredibly convenient. And, hopefully, an artful blend of two very different eras.

The room will read as 1894. What is in it will read as modern. I cannot recall ever seeing anybody do this, and while itchin’ to get started I must, sigh, wait.

 

53 Responses to Wanna Meet My Kitchen PLAN?

    • The plan was to have two holes in the counter, with trash cans under (where the niche for the barstools is).

      But I like your idea better!

  1. Sounds like a wonderful plan Ross. A thought and a question for you. For myself, I would want the microwave in the area of the island instead of in the pantry. I use mine all the time and would want it closer to hand. If there is no room for it under the island then perhaps on the UFO?

    Secondly, how much space is between the dishwasher end of the island and the wall? ie: is that walkable space? It looks tight for walking around the island and if so, then why not just bring the island to the wall for extra countertop space and storage beneath?

    Actually, I don’t think you asked for opinions so I hope I am not stepping on any toes. Besides, knowing you, you have thought of all of this and have it mapped out in the best logical fashion! I look forward to hearing all about the kitchen developments as they occur!

    • I love hearing opinions!

      A microwave is not important to me. So, its being in the pantry will be fine. Plus, it is still close by, so perhaps will work for a later owner. I would not put it under the island counter as there is no room, and even if there was, I hate bending down!

      There is 10-inches between the island and south wall. The island cannot touch the south window as it will be a bit above the window sill, and the “kiss” would be awkward.

      • What if you strategically dropped a last section of countertop and extended it to the windowsill and put your recycling/trash holes in that section of countertop? Although personally I would prefer having an island that I could walk around, if the space there is too tight to work, then I’d put that 10 inches to work somehow.

        • The island needs to be as long as it is. There needs to be a dishwasher, a double sink, flatware drawers, ice maker, and a refrigerator. This all adds up to 9-feet, 6-inches.

          I am going to steal Blair’s idea and put the trash buckets in the space between the island and south window.

  2. What is your ultimate goal for the Cross House? Restore the house to original condition, resulting in near museum state? Or restore the house, respecting its history, but achieving a house to be lived in by occupants in 2016 and beyond, and perhaps, sold to some future buyers?

    I have only recently begun reading your delightful blog so perhaps your thoughts on this subject have been previously made known. If so, I apologize for a redundant question.

    In your research, have you found evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Cross were of a forward thinking nature? If so, surely if they still lived in the home, there would be today’s conveniences. I can’t think that they would still, in 2016, be using a coal or wood burning stove, or cutting ice from the river for use in their ice box.

    You clearly put a great deal of thought into each renovation, no matter how minor it might be. You obviously love and respect this home, as evidenced by your carefully thought out kitchen plan. I think you have hit upon a solution that satisfies the best of both worlds.

    Good luck on your continued renovations.

      • Sorry I did not make my question clear. What I mean to ask was for the “future” of the Cross house, thinking ahead to the post-Ross days.

        The kitchen plan is perfect for a home in which people will actually live (as opposed to a house meant to be toured as a display to show what life was like in the Cross days).

        I enjoy your following your thought process as you work through each of the various issues in the house. Thanks for sharing it with the world.

  3. I quite like this plan. My only input would be, after cooking in modern kitchens with limitless island space, to never build an island whose width exceeds your reach. I hate it when something gets pushed just out of reach, forcing me to stop what I’m doing and walk around to grab it from the other side (inevitably while chopping onions or with sticky dough hands)…. Have you seen some of the period kitchens with the built in pot racks spanning the width of the center table? You could add such a thing easily with brass pipe, if you need to further expand your storage space.

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/367465650820253267/
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/367465650832100656/
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/367465650832159630/

  4. So no grand old cast iron sink with drain board? 🙁 I might cry.

    Is the island going to meet right up to the radiator at that south window? At first look, I think I’d still go with a period sink at the window, and shorten the island. Leaving space to walk all the way around the island, and having short access from the breakfast room to the sink. I assume that you will use the breakfast room for informal dining. Having to walk all the way around the island to put dishes in the sink and get a damp cloth would probably get old.

    I do like the idea of the island. Keep all the modern in one spot. I look forward to seeing a mock up.

    • Having a glorious old sink would also allow for a convenient spot to place the garbage pail, and scrap pail. Just like in those old photos.

      I’m guessing that your rolling carts with drawers will be where cooking utensils will reside.

    • For three years now WHERE to put the sink has been a huge problem.

      The ideal place is, seemingly, against the south windows. But any backsplash on the sink would be higher than the window sill. I loathe that!

      If I did just a counter under the window, sans backsplash, the window would act as a backsplash. And a wood window with a wood sill against a sink is a bad bad bad idea. The wood WILL rot and the glass will constantly require cleaning.

      I would not walk back/forth around the island to drop dirty dishes from the breakfast room into the sink. Rather, I would gather up all the dirty dishes, and place them of the east side of the island, shoving them over to the western side. Only then would I walk around, grab all the dishes, and put them into the dishwasher.

      With the island, I love love love being able to walk RIGHT up to the huge south-facing windows. I love love love being able to easily open them, and clean them.

      • Don’t forget to put a broad windowsill there for your pies to cool. The infrequent hobo would appreciate it as well!????

  5. The island idea is great. Agree though with comment about the sink against the wall, and I love old sinks. You might want to consider it

    • I love your idea of restoring a period kitchen with the floating modern island.

      Simply brilliant!!!

      You will have the best of both worlds.

      I have no doubt that you will create a functioning kitchen that is efficient yet not
      forfeit the integrity of the vintage atmosphere.

      It’s function over beauty for me when it comes to a kitchen…but with your eye and
      expertise, I am sure it will be aesthetically over-the-top stunning!

    • Hi Linda, in a reply I gave above, I detail several reasons why a vintage sink will not work against the south window wall.

      In addition, finding an early 1890s sink in near-perfect condition, wholly restored, would likely be at least $6,000! And there is no way I could ever afford that!

      There are a lot of those big white enameled cast-iron sinks, with double basins and double drainboards (I looooooove these sinks) but these date from post-1915, and would not be historically correct for the 1894 Cross House.

  6. Great idea to preserve the light and space of the kitchen without having to build a summer kitchen out back and pretend to use a period room.

    To consider for an island surface, this chap is using an interesting granite top in an all-modern kitchen in his Irish Georgian terrace house, here.

    Looks like honed granite.

    Replacing coal/wood ranges with gas or electric when they became available was embraced by every householder who could afford it–you might consider a younger than 1894 restored antique range against that fine chimney breast. I cook every day for 6 on a 1924 Hotpoint with six eyes and double ovens–Rockefeller Center kick line cabriole legs and all. Great crowd-pleaser, works as well as a new one. Mostly.

    • My sister has spent the last forty years cooking daily on the original stove in her 1920s bungalow. She loves it.

      But, for the reasons I detailed in the post, I shy away from doing a 1920’s style kitchen.

  7. I absolutely love the island!!! If I may give a suggestion for counter tops~~~I put in black slate chalk boards for my kitchen counters. Best of all they were free. I am friends with a gentleman that has a demolition company. He was tearing down part of an old school in Holyrood KS and the chalk boards would have otherwise went to the dump. I was able to cut them with a special blade that fit my circular saw. It is a slow process as it take several cuts dropping the blade slightly with each pass. The results are well worth the work as I think they are gorgeous. There are also a few places where children had carved their initials in the slate, which I love and wish there were a few more of. If are you are interested in maybe doing the slate I can give you a few more tips that will help.

  8. I do love the island concept but am struggling a bit with the UFO concept. I stood at my kitchen island tonight with my measuring tape and held a cardboard UFO at 2 feet above the island (with a few dishes on it) to see how it might work. I felt like I would have to either duck under or stand on a small stool to be able to see and chat with my imaginary friend sitting at the barstool. Yet I can see the utility of the concept and I do like it, so in my “mockup”, I simply shoved the UFO north a bit closer to the countertop edge and shortened it to open up the interactive sight line between the sinks and bar stools.
    Mobile drawer units on either side of range are great idea! Such novel ideas for this space, it will be so exciting to hear how your kitchen turns out!

    • Your counters are likely 24-inches deep. My island will be 5-feet wide! The UFO will be 18-inches from the outer edges of the island.

      I mentioned creating a full-scale mock-up. This will show if any adjustments are required. I hope!

      • Oh I definitely was doing a Ross mockup in miniature, as your island alone would cover over half of my farm house’s (1918) entire kitchen footprint! ????

        Really, I love the thought processes you’ve struggled through and the incredible ideas you’ve developed for a union of your house’s historical context and modern amenities. It is so darn much FUN to read what you are thinking about and doing with your restoration of the Cross House.

        Thanks, Ross!

  9. I think this is a BRILLIANT plan. You also may think I’m weird, but when you wrote about the REAL 1894 kitchen and said, “No one wants this”, I responded with, “I want that!” Sadly my husband would never go for it.

    ANYWAY. I was just reading on Elizabeth Barnes’ blog that she used slate from a pool table to make a kitchen island. I always see people trying to give away pool tables, so maybe you can score however many you need and it would bring down the cost of the massive island.

    Also, I just saw your interview on youtube with Circa Old Houses, and I’m officially coming to Kansas to visit you and your house and hear all about it first hand. I have a plane, and put on some pants because I’m on my way. 🙂

    • It’s official now. You are weird!

      Would you really want a truly period-correct 1890s kitchen? Low counters? No dishwasher? A coal range heating the room 24/7? Even in the summer? Low lighting levels?

      I agree that the archival image is visually appealing. But I also know I would not want to actually use such a kitchen.

      Oh, and you are invited!

      • Oh, I’m a complete nutbar.

        I’ve thought long and hard about how to have a period-correct kitchen but with some modern conveniences.

        Low lighting levels don’t bother me unless there’s no good windows. I still wouldn’t punch holes in the ceiling for can lights. I don’t want counter tops and would be very happy with just an island, provided I had a butler’s pantry for dishes and the like.

        The dishwasher is a bit of a challenge. I lived without one for awhile and I didn’t quite like it. But! You can build things that look old-timey to house the dishwasher. You could probably even retrofit one into a gutted/altered old stove. It would take some creativity, but you could likely do it. Or just have it in the butler’s pantry with a panel so it looks like a drawer or cabinet.

        I’d also like to have an ice box that has been fitting with electricity. I’ve seen such things. They’re still compartmentalized and wonderful, but plug in. NEED.

        And I’m going to vote no on the coal stove. I’d get something that either IS old or LOOKS old, but uses natural gas.

        It could work. I’d make it work.

  10. Well, Ross at first I was a little skeptical. But after reading and re-reading your plan I’ve decided you’re a friggin’ genius! Personally, I hate bottom cabinets in a kitchen because who wants to crawl on the floor and climb in a bottom cabinet to find something? I think everything on the bottom should be in drawers, end of the story. That’s why I questioned your fridge and freezer until I re-read and saw that you stated they’d be styled with drawers. Didn’t know there was such an animal. Genius, I tell you, genius.

    • Ya’ made me laugh!

      I added the word drawers at the last minute because I realized that without stating as such readers would assume I intended to stoop down constantly to use a door-style refrigerator. And I would haaaaaaaate that, too!

  11. I used an island when updating my great-grandmother’s 1924 Gordon-Van Tine bungalow. She made slight modifications to the plan, mostly in the kitchen/mudroom/pantry area so I didn’t think she would mind my updates. She was very forward thinking for the day. Like you, I didn’t know where to put the sink in a 12×15′ room with 5 doors, 2 original windows and 1 built in cabinet which was the only original feature saved. It had been moved into the pantry during a 1982 remuddle by my dad and his siblings to make it more rentable. Hardly convenient. Then it came to me, float the sink in an island with a dishwasher. My plumber just squeaked out the venting to code.

    Many of the finishes are true to the era, right out of the catalog from which she ordered the house kit, real linoleum, white painted cabinets, cup pulls, butcher block counters, white oak recreated trim, white appliances, schoolhouse lights. Others are my preference, chrome instead of polished nickel, corian countertop and integrated sink on island – although the corian approximates soapstone (which I wanted, but couldn’t swing in the budget), single handle faucet. I have no upper cabinets in the main kitchen, there is almost no wall space. All the cabinets are pull out drawers, which I love, love, love.

    Your plan looks wonderful. I love the corian countertop, the 2×3 area by the fridge is the workhorse of my kitchen. But it scratches easily. Quartz would be a better choice for a durable finish. The butcher block is fussy with a natural oil finish, but I love it too.

    I have great-grandma’s 1894 kitchen cabinet from the main farmhouse. (Think Hoosier, only earlier, with onion & potato bins, pull out bread board and a glass towel rod.) She moved it to the pantry in my house, then it was moved into the basement where it went through many floods before being moved into a chicken house where I rescued it in the 90’s & had it restored. So there were freestanding cabinets which you could use if you had to. You have so much pantry space though, so jealous!

    I too want to come and tour your beautiful home. It’s such a pleasure to see your restoration. Thank you for your blog!

  12. Ross, old butcher block tables had drawers that went the full width of the table and had handles at both ends. Guess so two butchers or cooks could work together although butchers like carpenters are protective of their tools and don’t share.

    Years again I read about a boat owner putting refrigerator and freezer drawers in the galley kitchen of their house and have wanted that ever since. When my ship comes in, I guess it will be carrying them.

    Another plus of plumbing in the island are no frozen pipes under the sink.

    I like it.

  13. Bravo to your genius!

    Bottom line; it’s your house to do whatever makes you happy and you have the period-correct architectural integrity to do justice to your plan.

    This entire thread is an interesting read. There are many good comments, concerns, suggestions and personal stories. The only thing I question that no one else mentioned…it appears that anyone sitting on the bar stools might be smacked by someone coming in the back door.

    You are the Cross House master. You will tweak whatever you need to and it will be fabulous.

  14. Ross,

    Really interesting kitchen concept. After reading through your subsequent posts on the kitchen sink and museum I’ll leave you with this thought for consideration: Locating the kitchen sink in it’s *original* location not only gets you closer to period correct, but surely any slight blocking of a window height by a beautiful old sink would be more than offset by getting to gaze out the window as you prep food or rinse dishes as a Cross house servant would… The other main benefit though is that you could shrink the ‘island’ just enough to be able to walk *around* it, keeping the flow and flavor of the house in tune with the rest of your Rosstoration!

  15. I like the idea of the modern island surrounded by the restored period elements. Being one who hates seeing appliances, I’d have the dishwasher inset to a cupboard so it’s hidden from view. And a thought for the window if siting the sink in front of it – how about a plate glass back splash which allows the view to be seen and avoids blocking any light? No matter what you settle on, I know it’ll look spectacular.

    Can I cheekily ask for an invitation to this tour ? By this point we could rent a bus as we’re all dying to see it!

  16. I look forward to seeing the mock-up. And then of course, the finished kitchen. It looks like it will have good flow. You have evidently given thought to the traffic patterns, those everyday gestures so oft repeated.

  17. I am guilty of waiting a while between visits to your blog because I love to settle in and read a bunch of posts at once. So, I am just now catching up on your kitchen idea and I think it is brilliant!

    Your plan perfectly represents the strategy you’ve articulated all along – to restore the house as faithfully as possible, yet ensure it remains functional as a dwelling for today’s inhabitant, while making clear how any updates fit the house’s narrative timeline.

    Your island idea fits the spirit of the center-focused workspace that was an 1894 kitchen, which also allows you to keep the kitchen’s floorplan largely unaltered, preserving the historic envelope in which your very clearly modern, functional work surface lives.

    Sure, you may refine the concept here and there, but the concept itself is perfect! Just perfect! Love love love.

  18. I love every single bit of your design, including adding the trash/ recycles at the end. You have perfectly captured the feel of the era with modern conveniences. I would not change a thing. I do have to add that I also liked the original kitchen photo you shared, with the exception of the heat of the oven! I am short (now 5’1″) so the heights and sizes of circa 1900 furnishings fit me better than modern. I am so impressed with your intelligence, creativity, and perseverance. You are also incredibly articulate! It has been so much fun for me to explore your blog today! I have to admit that I am falling in love with you! (Big sigh!)

  19. Love your kitchen plan and echo comments above. Keep kitchen window accessible which you love. The island sounds the most functional and meshes your likes and wishes for daily use. I think combination butcher block and soapstone counters are a great idea. You have the best ideas for yourself Ross with tweaks and suggestions from others. Follow your dreams and do what is best for you as it has worked superbly in the rest of the house.

  20. i think your kitchen plan is a brilliant compromise, and reflects a bit of the professional kitchen vibe in its practicality. Kitchens of the 1890s were considered utility areas from where amazing food appeared as if by magic, rather than keeping rooms where the family hung out. congratulations on coming up with a solution to a difficult problem. I’m impressed.

    I just discovered your blog, ergo, assume your kitchen is now complete. Would love to see pics of the final product.

  21. Hello Ross, my name is Mike. And I feel in love with your home instantly.

    I’m an “modern day” Aesthete and my soul heralds back to the aesthetic era. Its such a gift to be given these renderings and blue prints of the different interiors.

    I’m new to the blog so I’m going through all the posts and your status updates. I have friends who also own a victorian home (Second Empire) and are very meticulous about what they furnish and decorate it with (I.E. items only relevant to that time period or slightly before).

    I guess my first question is what is your stance on this especially regarding your kitchen? I saw you tossed around the ideas of different periods to provide increasing amounts of functionality. Have you considered going new but keeping the feel of a kitchen of 1894?

    I’m very spatially driven and work in the service industry (a kind of modern day “first butler”) so I know the necessity of having that space be functionally driven. Also its important to understand your intentions with the house overall. Is it for entertaining, is it a living museum, or is it a combination of many things?

    I look at the diagram of your kitchen and see lots of real estate in the second butler’s pantry and back porch. Also available space in the areas designated for the dumbwaiter and laundry chute. Have you considered “hiding” the fridge in the wall and matching the doors to the pantry upper cabinetry?

    Then, the space of the second pantry and the porch looks like you can gain the extra space for upper and lower cabinet (if desired) leaving you ample space in the interior for something like a large island (or maybe a large wooden prep table open and airy underneath).

    There are so many possibilities, and forgive me if my ideas are out of line or incongruent to your plans. You really have created such a masterpiece that is filling my mind with endless possibilities and inspiration.

    Thank you so much for sharing, for writing and documenting this blog, and being someone that is saving something that so many deem unnecessary or replaceable.

    Sincerely, Mike

  22. Just read your plan for the kitchen. Restored to 1894 except an island and UFO in the middle, this is a great solution, the best of both worlds. Can’t wait to see the final result.

  23. I like your plans for the kitchen very much. I was thinking that if it were my kitchen I would restore it to the original build and keep everything as simple and to that period as possible. Except the stove I would want a nice gas stove that matched the finish of my sink and drain board. Bag a bunch of dish washer, that is what teenagers and helpful guests are for.I would buy a period servant dinning table and chairs to use as an island for in front of the stove and build a couple of cabinets that match the one in the pantry that fit under the table and faced the stove for spices and kitchen service utensils. Then I would paint it all to match the kitchen exactly and try to make it as invisible as possible. A fridge to match the stove and sink probably unless I could somehow do a fridge and freezer build in the ice room. Everything else microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, would be in the pantry. Your island plans make everything much more convenient however and more important they make that area friendlier both in use and feeling. In the 1890s the kitchen in a house that size was just a place of service and now it is very often a family and friend gathering place Your plans make it both and I think that is exceptional.

  24. You need to look at Dana-Thomas house Springfield, Illinois 1902.

    The thought of an island and tv is so wrong!! Heritage foundation money in a house then do this is so wrong.

    • I love the Dana-Thomas house, and have been in it several times.

      My kitchen was originally a island-type kitchen so I am uncertain what your objection is. And how does a TV impact the historic nature of my house?

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