Kitchens are often considered the heart of a home. They are where families gather, meals are prepared, and memories are made. For one couple in New York, their kitchen renovation was about more than just updating appliances and cabinetry – it was an opportunity to resurrect a piece of history on their farm.

When Jean and Jim purchased their 18th century farmhouse in upstate New York, it came with plenty of charm but needed some major renovations. The kitchen in particular felt dated and disjointed. But rather than gutting it entirely, the couple wanted to preserve as much of the original details as possible while bringing the space into the 21st century.

Salvaging Original Materials

The home’s kitchen still had the original brick hearth and keeping that intact was a top priority. Jean and Jim carefully removed layers of paint and grime from the hearth bricks to reveal their original beauty. The mantlepiece above the hearth was also meticulously restored to maintain its historic character.

In addition to the hearth, the couple salvaged and refurbished other original materials throughout the kitchen remodel. The room featured hand-hewn ceiling beams that had been hidden under drywall for years. Jean and Jim exposed these beams, sanding and treating them to add warmth and a sense of history to the new kitchen.

Original hardware on the kitchen’s deep farmhouse sink was also salvaged during the renovation process. Rather than replacing this antique brass fixture, it was gently cleaned and restored to work alongside the kitchen’s modern amenities. Respecting these types of historic details was an essential part of the remodel.

Blending Old and New Elements

While honoring the kitchen’s past, Jean and Jim also wanted to incorporate modern convenience into the space. The room was reconfigured to improve flow and make room for updated storage and appliances.

Careful attention was paid to seamlessly integrating these new elements with the old. For example, new Shaker-style cabinetry blended perfectly with the restored hearth and ceiling beams. Quartzite countertops also provided a classic look that didn’t detract from existing architectural details.

By partnering with craftsmen specialized in historic preservation, Jean and Jim ensured that all new woodwork, tile, lighting and other features suited the kitchen’s period style. The result is a room imbued with historic charm while also meeting the needs of a busy modern family.

Bringing the Outdoors In

Tying the kitchen to the surrounding pastoral landscape was another priority for the redesign. Generous windows were added to frame scenic views of the property’s rolling hills and barns. Inside, tiles featuring natural stone and wood evoke the outdoors.

Jean and Jim also repurposed original exterior doors from elsewhere on the property to be used as striking interior focal points within the new kitchen. Weathered barn wood became rustic open shelving. All these creative touches reinforce the connection between the home’s interior and exterior.

Harmonious Design

The success of this kitchen remodel is how all the elements – both old and new – work together in perfect harmony. Salvaged materials blend seamlessly with modern amenities, creating a space that feels both fresh and steeped in history. The room honors the home’s past life as a working farmhouse through thoughtful preservation and design.

While sleek and contemporary kitchens are popular today, Jean and Jim’s renovated farm kitchen stands out for its celebratory nod to the past. Their approach proves that you don’t have to sacrifice a home’s historic bones to gain modern function. With careful restoration and custom craftsmanship, old spaces can be reinvented for modern living.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time period was the farmhouse originally built?

The farmhouse dates back to the 18th century, so likely between 1700-1799. This means original details like the hearth and ceiling beams are over 200 years old!

What main original features were preserved?

The key original features salvaged during the renovation were the brick hearth and mantlepiece, hand-hewn ceiling beams, and antique hardware on the deep farmhouse sink. Respecting these historic details was crucial.

How did they blend new elements with the old?

New Shaker-style cabinetry and quartzite countertops complemented the existing architecture. Care was taken to ensure all new lighting, tile, woodwork matched the period style. Craftsmen specialized in historic homes did the work.

How did they connect the kitchen to the outdoors?

Large windows frame views of the scenic farm property. Reclaimed exterior doors become interior focal points. Tiles with natural stone and wood patterns reflect the outdoors. Barn wood adds rustic flair.

Why is this kitchen remodel so successful?

The kitchen harmoniously blends salvaged original materials with modern amenities. Historic charm is preserved through restoration, while updated layout and features meet a modern family’s needs. The design beautifully resurrects the home’s past as a farmhouse.


Jean and Jim’s kitchen renovation is a case study in honoring historic charm while creating updated function. Their thoughtful approach shows that you don’t have to sacrifice a home’s unique character for modern convenience. With skilled craftsmanship and creative vision, the inherent beauty of older homes can be resurrected. This farm kitchen makeover resulted in a breathtaking space that celebrates both past and present. For those looking to remodel an older home, it provides plenty of inspiration.