Kitchen of the Week: Cheery Retro Style for a 1913 Kitchen

Nooks and crannies are part of houses’ charm. But a 1970s remodel had covered up most of the quaint structure within this historical Portland, Oregon, kitchen. Homeowners David Spencer and Jerry Petty stripped down the kitchen to its studs and produced a blank slate for constructing a brand new period-appropriate kitchen within their 1913 house. Modern-day materials using a decorative twist honor the historical kitchen’s authentic design, while vintage-style appliances and light help bring the merry spirit of this space back to life.

Kitchen in a Glance
Who lives here: David Spencer, Jerry Petty, son Jack and dog Sheba
Location: Ladd’s Addition area of Portland, Oregon
Size: 300 square feet
Budget: $64,000 (contains all building and material prices for the full remodel, custom cabinetry, and traditional plaster walls and electric and plumbing)

Hammer & Hand

After shooting the kitchen down to the studs, then the team redesigned it based on the remainder of the home’s details. A 1950 Wedgewood gas stove became the center of the new layout.

Charlotte Cooney of Domestic Arts designed a custom vintage-inspired grill insert over the stove, which builder Alex Daisley of Hammer & Hand connected to an outside exhaust.

Backsplash: Daltile; faucets: Chicago Faucets; colors: Rejuvenation

Hammer & Hand

The customers also splurged on true, traditional plaster walls. Period-inspired light from Schoolhouse Electric ties in with the room’s red accents to match Spencer’s vintage dish collection.

Countertops: Pionite; light fixtures: Schoolhouse Electric

Hammer & Hand

The peppy checked vinyl composition tile floors are affordable, are lasting and nod into the linoleum floors of the early 20th century. The laminate counter with aluminum edging also cut down on prices.

The prior kitchen had scored plaster wainscoting along the walls, painted to look like vinyl. After ripping out the wood, Cooney installed 3-inch square tiles which would match the design while upping the kitchen’s viability.

Flooring: vinyl composition tiles, Armstrong; cabinets: custom, Big Branch Woodworking

Hammer & Hand

An arched alcove fits snugly round a retro-style Big Chill refrigerator.

Wall paint: Squish Squash, Benjamin Moore

Hammer & Hand

Custom inset face-framed cabinets mimic original built-ins throughout the remainder of the house. This convenient entry door hides the microwave and spices.

Drawer pulls, knobs: Rejuvenation

Hammer & Hand

The design group made use of the original niche cabinet for the home’s ironing board and built a customized plank of reclaimed Oregon fir. The owners prefer to use cloth tablecloths, so they use the plank (and the adjacent laundry chute) frequently.

Hammer & Hand

The new butler’s pantry is right outside the kitchen, on the road into the dining area. Chair rails highlight Spencer’s collection of vintage fruit crate labels, tin trays and framed art pieces.

Hammer & Hand

An old-fashioned telephone corner turned into a contemporary phone-charging channel (sockets are hidden beneath the shelf) with distance for a calendar and keys, also.

Hammer & Hand

Amid some unlucky structural surprises, the group found that an old dumbwaiter pulley system at a wall. Using a tiny bit of reconfiguring, they were able to use it for wine storage in the new butler’s pantry. “It’s always difficult to forecast the sins hidden behind older walls,” states Daisley.

Designers: National Arts; Alice Design
Builder: Hammer & Hand

Photographer: Mitchell Snyder

More: A Cottage-Chic Kitchen on a Budget

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