Welcome to this week’s featured kitchen, a breathtaking cook space with a one-of-a-kind backstory. This kitchen is located in a converted Carnegie library building in Hudson, New York and boasts stunning original architectural details combined with modern luxuries.

History of the Building

This building was originally constructed in 1903 as one of the over 1600 public libraries funded by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie helped establish libraries all across the United States, donating over $40 million total to various towns and cities. The Hudson library operated for nearly 100 years before being shuttered in 1998.

The vacant building was later purchased and converted into a private home. The owners took great care to preserve beloved original elements like the soaring ceilings, grand arched windows, and custom millwork. At the same time, they fully renovated the interior to create a comfortable modern living space. The kitchen lies at the heart of this historic home reimagined for 21st century family life.

An Inspired Blend of Old and New

The kitchen seamlessly blends turn-of-the-century charm with up-to-date amenities. It retains the building’s stately proportions and abundant natural light. Terrazzo floors and an intricate pressed tin ceiling provide nods to the past. Yet the space also contains top-notch new finishes and appliances.

The kitchen strikes a tricky balance between honoring history and facilitating easy contemporary cooking. Nostalgic touches like glass-front cabinetry mix effortlessly with handy smart features. Sleek finishes and surfaces promote efficient workflow. This adaptively reused library building now houses a kitchen equally suited to hosting dinner parties or quickly preparing family meals.

Layout and Key Features

This thoughtfully laid out kitchen centers around a massive island. The large prep space and seating make the island the natural hub for culinary activity. It provides acres of marble countertop and roomy storage in a vintage-style base. The base pairs wooden doors with metal grating that formerly graced library bookcases.

Flanking the island, symmetrical banks of cabinetry anchor the space. Their glass fronts allow displaying prized dishware within reach. More marble backsplashes and countertops offer additional workspace. The perimeter also incorporates two sizable pantries for keeping dry goods organized.

Built-in banquettes tucked into former alcoves create cozy breakfast nooks. Tall windows bathe the area in sunlight filtered through translucent sheers. Sconces and pendants hang overhead to supplement the abundant natural light. These varied lighting options set the stage for daytime food prep or intimate evening meals.

Top-of-the-line appliances outfit the functional areas. A major Lacanche range with multiple ovens and a flattop griddle serves as the showstopper. It provides restaurant-grade capabilities within steps of the prep and storage stations. Additional appliances like the fridge, dishwasher, and microwave fully integrate into the surrounding cabinetry.

Materials and Finishes

This kitchen utilizes a refined mix of classic and contemporary materials to bridge past and present. The entry preserves original mosaic tile floors in an intricate starburst pattern. Elsewhere, large-format white marble tiles lend an airy elegance. Their subtle veining provides depth without overwhelming.

Most countertops also feature luxurious marble in book-matched white slabs. The stone’s cool, pristine finish pairs beautifully with the warmth of the wooden cabinets. White-painted custom cabinetry keeps the look light and bright. It also prevents visual competition with more ornate original elements like the stamped tin ceiling.

Pops of black metal punctuate the serene white backdrop. The kitchen island has a base of wood doors on the inner panels and sleek metal grating on the outer sides. Matte black hardware adorns the cabinets, and black accents finish the range and utility fixtures. This moody but minimal mix of materials creates interest without veering dark or busy.

Stylistic Touches

Several stylistic decisions help this kitchen skillfully straddle vintage and modern aesthetics. The glass-fronted cabinets offer homeowners display space for collections of antique china and tableware. Their visibility keeps treasured pieces integrated into the living space instead of hidden away.

Pedestal sinks and functional shelving fit neatly into the geometry of existing built-in bays. This approach honors the original architecture through seamless integration. Period sconces, schoolhouse pendants and globe fixtures illuminate the kitchen in keeping with its early 20th century roots.

At the same time, the kitchen incorporates contemporary elements where function requires. Its marble surfaces and stainless steel appliances bring low-maintenance durability that caters to active daily use. Hidden outlets, streamlined plumbing finishes and soft-close drawers contribute behind-the-scenes updates.

By thoughtfully combining eras through material finishes, customized cabinetry and new technology, this kitchen achieves a spectacularly livable heritage environment. The space retains the soaring grandeur of the old library yet also serves as an inviting everyday kitchen.


Here are some common questions about converting historic buildings into modern kitchens:

How do you adapt an old building to work as a kitchen?

Careful planning is crucial when converting historic spaces into modern kitchens. Evaluate how original architectural details can be enhanced rather than eliminated. Identify locations where introducing amenities like plumbing and wiring will least impact existing decorative finishes. Custom cabinetry solutions often integrate appliances and storage around unique niches and footprints.

What kind of special considerations come with a heritage kitchen remodel?

Honoring original materials and finishes while accommodating contemporary function poses an exciting design challenge. Open floor plans may not suit buildings with compartmentalized rooms, calling for creative kitchen layouts. Building codes and accessibility requirements will likely necessitate some degree of modification. Lighting and acoustics usually need upgrading from when the structure served different purposes.

How do you preserve vintage architectural details in a kitchen renovation?

Salvage and refurbish serviceable decorative elements like lighting fixtures, cornices and flooring. Use durable materials like marble and metals to nod to the past with a modern twist. Match old cabinetry profiles in new custom pieces. Translucent window films can protect stained glass from cooking hazards. Remove non-original additions to reveal historic windows, pillars and ceilings.

What modern kitchen features can complement a historic look?

Discreet small appliances, concealed vent hoods and built-in waste bins promote function while maintaining a streamlined period aesthetic. Glass-front cabinets permit displaying collectibles in period-appropriate settings. Undercabinet lighting and task lighting enable kitchen work without overheads that might clash with ornate ceilings. Smart home automation can deliver convenience without marring architectural integrity.

How do you create a cohesive blend of old and new styles in a kitchen?

Repeated finishes, colors and materials help bridge vintage and contemporary components. Warm metals, natural stone and unpainted woods tie the look together. Period-style hardware and lighting feel curated rather than tacked on. Any obviously modern additions should feel thoughtfully integrated rather than applied as an afterthought.

Final Thoughts

This striking kitchen manages to honor the original grandeur of a century-old Carnegie library while also catering to 21st century home life. Clever custom cabinetry expertly suits appliances and storage to the existing architecture. High-end finishes provide upscale luxury without sacrificing the historic charm. Rethinking and revitalizing the beloved local landmark for modern day use retains its spirit for future generations to appreciate. The owners struck the perfect balance between preserving a piece of their community’s heritage and creating their dream kitchen. Their project provides inspiration to those hoping to sympathetically convert other historic buildings into welcoming private homes.