5 Tips for a Small Period Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen renovations with farmhouse style harken back to a simpler time. Previously, we talked with several designers with the Knickerbocker Group about their work on the Bayberry home, which needed its floorplan opened. Here, we learn about another historic kitchen, this one quite small.


The Boothbay Harbor cottage’s small kitchen renovation was extensive. Architectural designer Keith Warren and Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer Elaine Murdoch took an antiquated and almost non-existent space with limited counter area and turned it into a quaint, airy kitchen, well suited to the 1908 structure. Originally the space was so cramped, a free-standing water heater blocked part of the stairs and a cook stove sat in a corner by the chimney. In addition, the designers determined they needed to replicate the look and feel of the original open stud walls; consequently, they chose appropriate wood paneling. “Careful color selection to blend with the old structure minimized the transition from open stud areas to closed bays for running modern wiring and plumbing,” Murdoch says. For the countertops, the designers used dark, honed granite, giving the suggestion of slate or soapstone typically in use at the time the cottage was built. For the sink, they selected a modern faucet with a period look—a bridge faucet with individual hot and cold levers and a high arc spout. In keeping with the vintage theme, they chose pendant lighting and a sconce over the window at the sink.

kitchen remodel design

To save space in a period kitchen, Knickerbocker Group’s Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer Elaine Murdoch suggests that you opt for a peninsula instead of an island (Photo by Jupiterimages, copyright Getty Images, via Thinkstock)


When space is tight and neither an addition nor expansion are possible, the Knickerbocker Group’s Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer Elaine Murdoch gives this advice:


“Make a wish list, starting with the most important items and continue with things that would be nice to have but are not essential. This doesn’t have to be an exact ranking. If you need to trim for budget or space reasons, start eliminating items from the bottom of your list.


“This will help you to keep focused on the things that made you want to do the project in the first place. Don’t despair if your space is limited; often the most successful design solutions come from such constraints because every inch must count. Imagine you’re creating the interior of a yacht!”


Here are a few additional ideas that can help you make use of the little area your period kitchen has available.


1. Be creative with window placement. Putting windows above head height opens up wall space for appliances or cabinets.


2. Create the illusion of space by keeping open sightlines.


3. Avoid clutter.


4. Seek to downsize appliances.


5. Replace an island with a peninsula.



by Rebecca Luella Miller




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