Our most recent home renovation involved remodeling the kitchen of a historical home in Fort Worth. As a design-build firm based in central Tarrant County, we have remodeled a number of historical homes in this area. While each individual property is unique and comes with its own set of design challenges, there is one thing nearly all historical homes have in common: a lack of space! The narrow rooms and hallways of that era are a stark contrast to the spacious, open floor plans you see in homes today. This is especially true with the kitchen, as original kitchens of the early 1900’s were typically built around a fireplace used as the oven. As you can imagine, transforming a compact historical kitchen into a stylish modern-day one requires a lot of careful planning, space utilization, and smart designing. Along with the challenge of working in a small space, it’s important to keep the integrity of the kitchen in mind. Most homeowners that live in a historical home tend to treasure and appreciate the home’s history. Our designers made it a point to keep the style of that era in mind while updating.
Here is a photo of the home from the early 1900’s as well as a shot of it now. It’s neat to see how the home looked when it was first built compared to how it looks currently! Unfortunately, we do not have any pictures of the original kitchen, but we do know that 3 or 4 renovations were done prior to the work that we did, as kitchen styles and functionality requirements evolved throughout the years. Despite these previous updates, our clients were ready for a remodeled kitchen to breathe some new life into their dated home.
In the before and after floor plans, you can see the changes we planned to make to the space. In a modern-day home, we likely would have knocked out the dividing wall from the living room to open up the galley kitchen and create an open floorplan. In this particular home, however, the stairwell was directly on the other side of this wall, preventing us from opening the space at all. With this in mind, our designers decided to remove the cabinetry on the far side of the kitchen, widening the narrow walkway as much as possible. Because the backdoor in the kitchen was the main entrance and exit used by the clients, the cabinetry along that wall really crowded the space and was more of an issue than a benefit. Our clients agreed that removing it completely would be the best solution.
By comparing the before photo to the after shot, the walkway is noticeably wider and more comfortable when both clients are in the kitchen. The clients were also happy that more of the flooring was showing once the excess cabinetry was gone, as they laid the tile by hand themselves and were proud to have it on display.
We took advantage of the 11-foot-tall ceilings by adding stylish upper cabinetry above the standard 8-foot cabinets. These glass-front cabinets are detailed with frosted glass and interior LED backlighting, creating a stunning focal point and drawing the eyes upward.
A beautiful new stainless steel range oven and vent hood were installed, while the microwave and dishwasher were relocated. In place of the dishwasher is a convenient stack of utensil drawers, within arms-reach beside the new cooktop – because who doesn’t love convenience when cooking?! Speaking of convenience, a small prep sink sits just to the left of the oven for easy-access rinsing and preparing.
The new floor plan also involved relocating the large refrigerator that previously sat at the end of the cabinetry. This provided for additional storage and countertop space, including a convenient appliance garage. Appliance garages are cool design features when they make sense for a space, and can really contribute to a sleek, clutter-free look. LED lighting was installed inside to ensure visibility when operating the appliances.
An under-counter microwave drawer was installed just below the appliance garage. Kitchens built before the 70’s were not designed with microwaves in mind, so the previous renovation done in this kitchen placed the microwave above the stove. This set-up is commonly seen in kitchen layouts and is something we try to address in every kitchen remodel we do, simply because placing the microwave above the stove inhibits proper ventilation when cooking. Having a microwave drawer installed below the counter saves counter space, provides for safer and easier access, reduces clutter, and also allows a vent hood to be installed over the oven as it should be!
The most usable space in this kitchen was created by moving the extra-large refrigerator and relocating the pantry door. The walk-in pantry itself was not moved, but relocating the door around the corner allowed us to install a new breakfast bar area, sink, and dishwasher where a small island and table were previously. The new area also features a hanging pot rack and some custom floating shelves we installed beside the windows. The wood paneling was removed from the walls, but the original trim was left around the windows, still showcasing the home’s history.
The updated kitchen is much more modern and functional, while still in good taste for a home of that era. Most importantly, the clients are thrilled with the finished remodel! We would like to give credit to everyone that was involved with this project:
Structural Design: Mike Medford, Sr.
Aesthetic Design: Stephanie Milford
Drafting and Renderings: Kourtney Davis
Production Management: Michael Medford, Jr.
Project Manager: Dave Broadfield
Carpentry: Dave Broadfield, Neil Norris
Cabinets: Bailey Cabinets
Glass: Kindred Glass
Plumbing: Express Plumbing
Electrical: Marc Miller Electric
Drywall: Alex Green Drywall
Paint: Philip Painting Company
Tile & Counters: HRG Granite
Photography: Impressia – Todd Ramsey
If you have a home that requires era-specific remodeling or need help deciding what kind of updates would work best for your needs, our designers would be happy to help! Contact us today for more information!
The Medford Design-Build Team