Kitchen renovations in historic homes require a delicate balance between preserving original details and incorporating modern updates. This week’s featured kitchen is a stunning example of how to strike that balance perfectly. Located in a charming 1900s residence, the space artfully blends classic and contemporary elements for an elegant yet inviting result.

Overview of the Home’s History and Layout

This stately home was originally built in the early 20th century and has been impeccably maintained over the past century. The current owners worked closely with designers to respect the home’s bones while giving the kitchen and other living areas a fresh, light-filled update.

The kitchen is at the rear of the house and features an efficient galley layout. It maintains its original footprint but was completely gutted and rebuilt to accommodate modern appliances and accoutrements. Flowing seamlessly from the kitchen is an airy breakfast nook bathed in natural light.

Blending Vintage and Modern Details

The homeowners wished to preserve the vintage flair of the home while incorporating current innovations. To achieve this, they opted for timeless white cabinetry paired with easy-to-clean marble countertops and backsplash. Gleaming brass finishes and fixtures add a classic polish.

The refrigerator is strategically integrated behind cabinetry to maintain a seamless look, and the range hood is tucked away for a minimalist vibe. Modern touches like the marble backsplash and polished nickel sink lend just the right contemporary edge.

Infusing Warmth with Natural Finishes

While the space features plenty of crisp white cabinetry, the homeowners brought in warmth through natural materials. The oak flooring boasts a rich patina, while the marble finishes and open shelves add organic texture.

The open shelving along one wall provides a place to display cherished dishware within easy reach. And the marble backsplash and stainless range hood add subtle metallic finishes to catch and reflect the light.

Maximizing Space and Light

To make the most of the galley footprint, the designers opted for wall-to-wall white cabinetry topped with marble for a streamlined look. They also removed an interior wall and added a bank of windows to draw ample sunlight into the kitchen and dining nook.

The transparent table and chairs keep the sight lines open. And the sparse décor allows the eye to travel straight through to the outdoors. The white cabinetry also plays up the light.

Achieving an Elegant Yet Livable Balance

The homeowners desired a kitchen that felt gracious and elegant like the rest of the home, but also warm and conducive to everyday life. The marble and oak add organic depth, while the open shelves make dishes accessible for regular use.

Streamlined Caesarstone countertops offer plenty of prep space but don’t detract from the room’s refined features. And touches like the brass hardware and lighting add elevated detail while remaining highly functional. This graceful kitchen masterfully blends heritage home charm with contemporary convenience.

FAQs about Designing a Period Home Kitchen

How do you incorporate modern appliances into a vintage kitchen?

  • Strategically integrate appliances behind cabinetry or panels to hide them when not in use. Select sleek, minimalist appliances in a finish that coordinates with the overall space.

What timeless materials work best in an old home?

  • Natural materials like wood, marble, granite, nickel and brass add a classic look. Subway tile, beadboard and tin backsplashes also evoke heritage style.

Should you remove walls to open up a small period kitchen?

  • Yes, opening sight lines can make a big difference. But work with an engineer to determine which walls are load-bearing and must remain. Also evaluate how the change will impact historical integrity.

What are some tips for adding light to a dark vintage kitchen?

  • Add skylights, replace solid cabinet doors with glass fronts, remove soffits, knock down interior walls and add windows or French doors. Reflective surfaces like subway tile also maximize light.

How do you update appliances but maintain vintage style?

  • Look for appliance suites with options like panel-ready refrigerators, classic style hardware and vintage hues like teal or retro red. Sleek undercounter appliances also preserve a seamless look.

What are some hallmarks of period kitchen design?

  • Features like glass cabinet fronts, ceramic tile, tin or copper backsplashes, enamel surfaces, butler’s pantries, walk-in pantries, apron sinks and brass or nickel accents.


This light-filled 1900s kitchen is a testament to marrying heritage home style with modern updates. Strategic decisions like opening up the floor plan, adding windows and incorporating smart storage preserve what’s old while ushering in the new. Warm natural finishes and streamlined surfaces retain the home’s refined elegance. For those remodeling a period kitchen, this thoughtful space shows how seamlessly old and new can coexist.