Kitchen renovations can be daunting, but with careful planning and design, it’s possible to strike the perfect balance between old and new. This week’s featured kitchen is a stunning example of how to seamlessly blend classic details with contemporary finishes for a fresh, inviting space.


When the homeowners purchased their 1917 Tudor revival home, the kitchen was stuck in the 1970s. With its harvest gold appliances, burnt orange tile countertops, and dated layout, it was in dire need of an update. The family wanted to renovate the space to better suit their lifestyle while honoring the historic charm of their home.

Working with designers, they came up with a plan to open up the kitchen to the dining room, creating a light-filled gathering area for the family. By blending elements of the home’s traditional architecture with clean, modern finishes, they were able to achieve a look that bridges old and new.

The result is a kitchen that feels distinctly current yet complements the style of the home. From the subway tile backsplash to the stately cabinetry, it artfully combines classic and contemporary for a design that will stand the test of time.

Blending Old and New Elements

Integrating Original Details

Several original details were thoughtfully incorporated to maintain the historic character of the home. The room retains its bay window with leaded glass that overlooks the backyard. The window provides abundant natural light and charm.

Another preserved aspect is the butler’s pantry with glass-front cabinets and countertops made of honed marble. This transitional space between the kitchen and dining room adds vintage flair.

The existing maple flooring was refinished and coated with a grey wash to give it a softened, modernized look. This original flooring helps connect the new kitchen to the home’s legacy.


The cabinetry is a custom design made of rift-sawn white oak in a transitional style that bridges old and new. Rift-sawn oak has a straight, vertical grain pattern that complements the traditional architecture. The unadorned Shaker door fronts have a classic simplicity.

Glass doors on the upper cabinets maintain an open, airy feel. Drawers with dividers and pull-out shelves create a highly functional storage system while matching the aesthetic of the room.

Dark bronze pulls in an updated wide rectangular shape provide just the right amount of contrast against the wood cabinets. This metallic hue echoes the home’s original hardware. The new cabinetry remains true to the home’s character while offering a lighter, more streamlined look.


Honed marble was chosen for the countertops and backsplash to bring in texture with natural veining. The neutral white marble paired with the oak provides an organic, earthy contrast to the more modern elements.

Having a stone backsplash installed in a herringbone pattern adds appealing visual interest. The stone’s silvery grey veins against the white background complement thecolor scheme.

Marble is a classic choice befitting the age of the home. Yet the clean-lined slab and minimal stone pattern feels fresh. This material bridges past and present for the space.


While the original kitchen likely hadharvest gold or avocado appliances common in mid-century homes, the new kitchen features sleek stainless steel for a contemporary edge.

The professional-grade range and refrigerator integrate seamlessly with theShaker cabinets for a cohesive look. Paneling was added to the dishwasher and refrigerator to hide the style and brand, allowing them to disappear against the oak cabinetry.

By choosing top-of-the-line appliances in a streamlined style, the kitchen gains modern functionality that caters to a family’s needs today. The stainless steel pops against the neutral palette for just enough modern contrast.


Polished chrome was selected for the kitchen faucet and lighting fixtures, pairing nicely with the stainless steel appliances. The cool tone of the metal finish gives the space a shiny, new feeling.

Incorporating metal finishes is a great way to subtly tie a vintage home to current design trends. The light fixtures with Edison bulbs retain a sense of the past while feeling upgraded.

The modern additions of metal paired with the oak cabinetry create an appealing juxtaposition of sleek and natural textures.

Color Palette

The color scheme of crisp white and soft grey enhancesthe seamless blending of old and new.

Crisp white walls, trim, and the oak cabinets keep the background light and bright. This clean backdrop allows the textures and materials to take center stage.

Pale grey painted floors offer an updated, more neutral tone rather than dated orange and harvest gold. The soft grey wash doesn’t detract from the natural beauty of the wood.

Cool grey quartzite was selected for the central island countertop. Along with the subtle grey veining in the marble, these neutrals enhance the light and airy vibe.

Accent colors are limited to avoid overwhelming the vintage details. A pop of sunshine comes from a colorful backsplash in the butler’s pantry. This surprising touch of cheery yellow references the original era of the home in a new way.

Layout Changes for Modern Functionality

While preserving original aspects, the new kitchen was thoughtfully reconfigured for better workflow and traffic flow. The goals were to open up space, improve functionality, and cater to a busy family’s needs.

Open Floor Plan

Previously closed off from adjacent rooms, the new layout joins the spaces together in an open concept. The wall separating the kitchen and dining room was removed to create one large gathering area.

This improved the limited work space and traffic flow issues in the old layout. Now the chef of the family can easily interact with others while cooking.

A wide pass-through with a lowered counter was added to connect with the newly built breakfast nook. This window-filled casual dining space near the existing bay window is now the heart of the home.

Opening up the kitchen to surrounding rooms gave the family the expansive, functional space they craved while honoring the architecture of the vintage home.

Work Triangle

With a kitchen of any era, having an efficient work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove is essential.

The new L-shaped layout positions the range against the back wall with the sink in the island directly across from it. This allows for easy movement between the sink and stove when preparing meals.

The large island places the refrigerator near the sink, completing the triangle. Multiple prep zones around the island maximize workflow for multiple cooks. This strategic layout meets the needs of a busy family.

Added Storage

Storage in the previous kitchen was severely lacking for a family that loves to cook and entertain. Careful planning helped disguise added storage throughout the new space.

A walk-in pantry concealed behind a pocket door provides abundant space for dry goods without interrupting the clean sight lines. Shallow drawers around the perimeter maximize vertical storage.

The island contains deep drawers for pots and pans as well as a special slot for trays. Open shelving below provides quick access to everyday dishes.

Even the butler’s pantry gained functionality with drawers for linens, vertical spice racks, and a built-in coffee station.

With strategic storage solutions, the new kitchen gained function while maintaining its spacious appeal. No longer bursting at the seams, this kitchen can handle a family’s needs.

Blending Two Styles with Lighting

From statement fixtures to subtle task lighting, the lighting strikes the perfect balance between old and new. The new scheme feels fresh yet respects the traditional architecture.

Over the large farmhouse sink, an oversized drum pendant immediately draws the eye. The exposed filament bulb has an industrial edge, while the white shade feels traditional. This striking light fixture makes a bold statement.

Sconces flanking the range hood provide directed task lighting for cooking. The black metal finish and candle-style bulbs match the pendant lights, tying the space together.

Recessed can lights surround the perimeter, washing the white cabinetry with a soft glow. Plentiful overhead lighting eliminates any dark corners.

The glass-front cabinets incorporate discreet LED strips to spotlight the dishware, reminiscent of Butler’s pantries of the past. This hidden, functional lighting skillfully blends with the vintage charm of the existing built-ins.

Finally, decorative sconces flank the window over the sink. These classic fixtures suit the early 20th century style of the home. The addition of an Edison bulb modernizes this traditional look.

The new lighting scheme features a curated mix of fixture styles that work together seamlessly. These lights serve the space beautifully while respecting the historic nature of the home.

Tying Together Old and New Details

Several carefully chosen finishing details marry old and new design throughout the kitchen for a cohesive update.

The glass cabinet doors maintain the kitchen’s transparency and flow while providing protection for treasured dishware. Glass knobs complement this detail with a streamlined shape.

Hanging brass pots shine like jewelry against the marble backsplash. These functional antiques incorporate the classic charm of the past.

Traditional open shelving fits seamlessly into the new design, keeping everyday dishware on display. Heavy wood wine racks beneath feel substantial and grounded.

A recycled wood cutting board continues the natural material palette. This organic piece aligned with the homeowner’s values of sustainability.

Wrought iron brackets below the shelves offer handcrafted texture and pattern to balance all the right angles. These architectural supports are both ornamental and functional.

The thoughtful inclusion of these transitional details connects the new kitchen seamlessly to the heritage of the vintage home. These finishing touches complete the beautifully renovated space.


The renovation of this 1917 Tudor kitchen demonstrates how old and new can harmoniously come together. The homeowners took care to retain the home’s original charm through leaded windows, butler’s pantry built-ins, and refinished floors. At the same time, the space was adapted to meet modern needs. An open, functional layout, easy clean surfaces, and discreet storage transform how the kitchen serves this active family.

From traditional Shaker cabinetry to marble counters with a herringbone backsplash, the material and finish selections artfully blend classic and contemporary. Pops of black provide contrast to the neutral palette for just enough edge. Stylish new lighting suits the home’s architecture while giving the room a fresh ambiance.

Every detail was thoughtfully curated to bridge past and present. The result is a timeless kitchen renovation that respects the integrity of the vintage home while creating a current space tailored to the family. This harmonious blend of old and new is sure to be enjoyed for many years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blending Old and New in Kitchen Design

Kitchen design that cleverly incorporates old and new elements can produce spaces with timeless beauty. Here are answers to some common questions about achieving this balance.

What are some tips for blending old and new in a kitchen remodel?

  • Preserve existing architectural details like windows, moldings, built-ins and hardwood floors. These design aspects showcase the home’s unique character.
  • Include cabinetry with a transitional style that suits both traditional and contemporary spaces. Shaker-style cabinets offer timeless appeal.
  • Use countertops and backsplash materials that bridge old and new like marble or travertine stone paired with metal or glass tile accents.
  • Contrast warm, natural finishes like wood or stone with sleek stainless steel appliances and hardware.
  • Add vintage elements like mirrored glass cabinets, apron-front farm sinks, or antique accents to connect to a home’s heritage.
  • Incorporate lighting fixtures that blend industrial and traditional like pendant lights with Edison bulbs over a kitchen island.
  • Stick to a neutral color palette accented with black or brass for a classic yet updated combo.

Should you try to match existing architectural details or go for a more modern look?

It’s generally best to find the middle ground between matching and contrasting. Keep the kitchen design in harmony with the home’s architecture but don’t be afraid to introduce cleaner, contemporary lines and finishes. Overly matching vintage details can make a kitchen feel dated.

What are versatile backsplash options that suit old and new design?

Subway tile, marble/limestone, metal tiles, and handmade ceramic/glass tile work beautifully in both traditional and modern kitchens. Installing them in a herringbone, brick, or geometric pattern adds interest.

What are timeless kitchen flooring options?

Wood planks, black and white checked tile, and hexagon tile in neutral colors resonate in old and new kitchens. Refinishing existing hardwood to a more modern stain color like grey is also an option. Marble, travertine orconcrete floors are versatile choices too.

Should you integrate smart home technology into a vintage style kitchen?

Absolutely, you can incorporate cutting-edge smart home tech like voice assistants, under-cabinet lighting, and finger-print refrigerators for ultimate modern function. Discreetly integrating this tech into cabinetry with traditional profiles maintains the aesthetic.

Final Thoughts

Renovating a kitchen while paying homage to the home’s original style takes thoughtful curation and design. Be sure to work with experienced professionals to determine the best way to thoughtfully blend old and new elements tailored to your home. The reward is a beautifully updated heart of the home you and your family can enjoy for generations.