PROJECT: Historical Kitchen
The National Register of Historic Places has an entry pertaining to this Kansas City, Missouri home, built near the turn of the century. When it came time to outfit a new kitchen, the owner decided to have it built as much as possible like the original.
In those days, the kitchen was usually designated as the servants quarters, and it might be rare for the owners to spend any time there. Because of that, the carpenters would typically use an inferior wood such as pine or fir to build the cabinets and woodwork for the "back" of the house. The rest of the house would be trimmed in fancy oak or walnut.
But their "inferior" wood was often longleaf pine from trees that were hundreds of years old, with straight, tight grain and clear, knot-free boards. Today no wood can match the beauty of old-growth pine or fir--not to mention its wonderful aroma when cut or planed.
So when replacing the kitchen cabinets, we cleaned and resawed the same longleaf pine, salvaged from local warehouses and freight buildings. In fact, this lumber might have originally been logged from local forests at about the same time my clients' house was built.
The cabinetry is all made of the longleaf pine, except for a massive central island with industrial kitchen sink which, like the refridgerator, is painted to match the tile.
The owner finished the cabinets, as well as furnished and installed the tile countertops and floor---and indeed most everything else in the kitchen.
Another feature not found in a typical house of 1900 is a faucet with hot and cold water mounted to swing out directly over the cooktop, which enables the cook to fill deep pans right on the stove.
The lower cabinets, originally planned as shelves behind doors, instead were fitted as drawers deep enough for large cooking pots and uitensils. This arrangement makes access to the lower storage spaces much easier.
The bright, airy space is equally cozy at night. A craftsman-style light over the sink island combines with specialized lighting over, under and even inside the upper cabinets.
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