Two 19th-Century Kitchens for the 21stCentury

You dream of a period-authentic kitchen, but hesitate to abandon the modern conveniences of the 21st century. Never fear: there are infinite resources available to you who want a historically themed kitchen that also meets the needs of your modern lifestyle. The key is to stick to what you like (even if it isn’t entirely historically accurate), add personal touches for warmth and livability and, most of all, have fun in the process.


Photograph by Jaimee Itagaki


An 1899 Colonial Revival Kitchen


In creating a vintage-style kitchen in her two-story home in Pasadena, California, Marcia Sola paired old-style décor with up-to-date appliances and special personal touches. Her kitchen’s tone is set by cherry wood cabinets, some of which sport front panels fashioned to resemble hand-blown glass, as well as a hand-painted harlequin design of deep teal and white on the wooden floor. Marcia’s kitchen walls are painted pretty egg-yolk yellow. A modern refrigerator and microwave balance a 1950s vintage range, while little touches bring in 19th-century charm. Granit countertops and backsplash, though considered modern, complement the scheme nicely.


Budget Makeover Tip: Homeowner Marcia Sola made the cottage-style valance above the kitchen window from reproduction 20th-century tea towels. The towels, which have a floral motif at each end, were cut in half widthwise and the ends were sewn together. The pleats were then folded to match the width of each flower; no gathering was required.


-by Nancy A. Ruhling


Photograph by Mark Tanner


An Eastlake-Style Victorian Kitchen


Barbara and Andy Thornberg’s Los Angeles home is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The couple created a kitchen that utilized the 12-foot ceilings—inspired by a photograph that Barbara found in a book on Victoriana. The Thornbergs had a blade manufactured that could cut new doors to match the original doors throughout the home, as well as matching kitchen cabinets. Barbara picked u the color scheme from her yellow Rockwood pottery and her green Viking stove. She chose a brick color for balance. The floor tiles were custom-made, and the stained-glass window is one of two from a pair of doors from Scotland.


Budget Makeover Tip: Get your Eastlake-style kitchen on a realistic budget by shopping smart. Use liberal amounts of forest green and brick red paint to achieve the style’s signature opulent color palette without emptying your wallet. At flea markets, search for vintage brass fixtures and wood furniture with good bones that you can refinish yourself. For a personal touch, display your favorite vintage collections in glass-front cabinets around the room.



-by Jennifer Myers



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