A Contemporary Kitchen Design Honors the House’s History

Have you ever helped a 4-year-old put together a puzzle? The chunky pieces fit together in only one, fairly obvious way to create a sunny tigers-and-bears-oh-my! zoo scene. But when a frustrated child can’t see where her piece goes, she bends it until it fits the open space.

“Designing a kitchen is like putting together a puzzle,” says interior designer Elizabeth Metcalf. “You can’t force a piece where it doesn’t fit or leave out a piece and expect the final picture to look complete. But when you place all the pieces exactly where they belong, you’ll have a room that’s beautiful beyond words.”

kitchen design

Elizabeth’s favorite period-inspired element? The oiled-oak floorboards imported from Belgium that she notes “look original to the house and ideally suit a country home.” Elizabeth hid the refrigerator and dishwasher behind wooden panels, leaving the range as the only visible appliance. With drawers for organized storage, a furniture base instead of a toe-kick and a dark-stained walnut apron, the 8 x 4-foot island makes the small kitchen feel larger than it is. (Photo: Mike Chajecki of Still Moments Photography)

When Elizabeth first looked at the Cumrew kitchen, she asked herself, “What can I do that will set it apart?” The home itself provided the answer: built in 1845 by Scottish immigrants and owned by a family who appreciated its heritage but wanted a current and fresh update, the Cumrew house demanded a kitchen design that mixed period-style and contemporary details.

Since Elizabeth felt it was important to keep the integrity of this 200-year-old home, she initially planned to preserve original elements, such as the white tongue-and-groove ceiling. But she found a devil in the details: “Unfortunately, the ceiling height was unlevelled 8 ½ inches from one side of the room to the other,” Elizabeth recalls. To retain the traditional look, she replaced the ceiling with a wide-plank tongue and clear groove pine with a V groove; for a contemporary twist, she painted the wood a slightly grayed-out pale green shade.

Other contemporary elements in the kitchen design include the Urban Electric sconces flanking the range and the Oscar de la Renta floor-length draperies, both opportunities to include an unexpected element in the room. Boldly patterned drapes, gray walls and the tinted glass cabinet doors juxtaposed with rustic floors and period-appropriate candlesticks create a sophisticated, country kitchen out of disparate details.


For more kitchen design advice from Elizabeth Metcalfe, Visit here.


Written by Elaine K. Phillips

Photographed by Mike Chajecki of Still Moments Photography



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