This week we’re taking a look at a gorgeous traditional townhouse kitchen in Washington D.C. that perfectly balances classic design with modern conveniences. Located in the heart of the city’s historic DuPont Circle neighborhood, this kitchen renovation preserved the charm of the 19th century row house while updating the space for a young family.
The homeowners, avid cooks and entertainers, wanted a kitchen where they could comfortably prepare meals but also relax and spend time together. To achieve this vision, they worked closely with local interior designer Janine Stone to strike the right balance between formal and casual. The result is a transitional style kitchen that feels polished yet livable.
From the custom cabinetry to the high-end appliances, no detail was overlooked. At the same time, warm metals, natural materials, and soft colors keep the vibe relaxed. Read on for an inside look at this skillfully designed townhouse kitchen.
To maintain the historic character of the townhouse, the kitchen was designed with several traditional details. Creamy white perimeter cabinetry topped with crown molding lends a timeless look, as do the glass-front upper cabinets. Honed marble countertops and a subway tile backsplash in soft grey are classic choices straight out of an old D.C. row house.
The paneled refrigerator and dishwasher are integrated seamlessly into the cabinetry for a built-in look. Hexagonal tile flooring adds another traditional touch and prevents the space from feeling too sleek or sterile.
While honoring the age and architecture of the home was important, the kitchen also required certain contemporary upgrades. The appliances are all top-of-the-line, including a 6-burner Wolf gas range, paneled Sub-Zero refrigerator, and Bosch dishwasher. There’s also a concealed Miele coffee maker and warming drawer.
LED under-cabinet lighting provides task lighting, while recessed can lights keep the room evenly illuminated. The homeowners can enjoy music via built-in speakers connected to the home sound system.
The room’s perimeter cabinetry was custom-built to make the most of every inch in this compact kitchen. Thanks to thoughtful planning, there is plentiful storage space for everything from pots and pans to table linens.
Upper cabinets extend to the ceiling, maximizing vertical storage capacity. Drawers include compartments for utensils and other kitchen tools. The glass-front upper cabinets provide open display space to break up the rows of cabinetry.
The large island is topped with white marble that matches the other countertops. Custom legs and metal accents on the base add architectural interest. The island creates additional prep space and casual seating for two.
Finishes throughout the kitchen are decidedly upscale, elevating the look of the original 1950s galley. Honed Carrara marble countertops provide an ultra-smooth work surface that can stand up to heavy use. The vein cuts in the stone add subtle visual texture.
The glossy subway tile backsplash has thin grout lines for a clean, contemporary look. Ebony window frames play up the traditional black windows common in historic row houses. Modern sconces, pendant lights, and flush mounts provide both ambient and task lighting.
The space seamlessly combines the old and new through its luxurious yet classic finishes. Little design choices tie the style together, like the black window frames and sconces that nod to tradition while the marble and lighting feel fresh.
Open Floor Plan
To create better flow, a wall separating the existing kitchen and dining room was removed. This opened up the kitchen to the rest of the main living area. Cabinetry now seamlessly connects the kitchen to the dining space.
The continuity of finishes also supports the open floor plan. The Carrara marble countertops extend into the dining room for one continuous surface. Matching hex floor tile unites the two spaces.
Opening up the kitchen transformed the home’s public rooms into one expansive gathering area. The open concept allows the homeowners to entertain large groups with ease while cooking.
FAQs About Traditional Townhouse Kitchen Design
What are some key features of a traditional townhouse kitchen?
Some classic features of a traditional townhouse kitchen include white cabinetry, marble or granite countertops, subway tile backsplash, built-in cabinetry for appliances, hexagonal floor tile, and moldings or trims for architectural detailing.
How do you blend classic and contemporary elements in a townhouse kitchen?
Mix timeless materials like marble or wood with modern accents like stainless steel, glass cabinet fronts, or stone mosaic tile. Choose classic white cabinetry but opt for soft-close doors and drawers. Pick traditional hardware like brass pulls but in updated streamlined silhouettes.
What kind of layout works best for a compact townhouse kitchen?
Optimize storage and counter space with custom cabinetry and smart layouts. Place the refrigerator and frequently used items within easy reach of the prep zone. Open shelving can prevent a narrow galley kitchen from feeling cramped. An island can add function.
Should you remove walls between the kitchen and dining room?
If possible, opening up the kitchen to the living areas creates better flow for entertaining and family meals. Removing walls can make a small townhouse kitchen feel more spacious. Just be sure load-bearing walls are not removed.
How do you add modern conveniences to an old townhouse?
Preserve original features like windows and moldings but upgrade appliances, surfaces, lighting and hardware. Add built-in coffee makers, concealed small appliances and hands-free faucets. Install dimmable recessed and under cabinet lighting.
What flooring works best in a traditional kitchen?
Classic choices like hexagonal tile, subway tile, brick, or stone complement traditional architecture. Wide plank wood floors also suit historic homes. Choose materials that withstand heavy use and spills. Add patterned area rugs.
What is the best way to light a townhouse kitchen?
Layer lighting for bright, even illumination. Pot lights and recessed cans provide general lighting. Under cabinet fixtures illuminate tasks. Pendants work well over islands. Consider sconces for accent lighting.
How do you create built-in cabinetry for appliances?
Work with cabinetry designers to build custom panels surrounding appliances, carefully matching cabinet finishes, hardware and trim. Integrate appliances behind false fronts to hide.
Should you always use marble and granite in traditional kitchens?
While classic, natural stones like marble and granite suit traditional architecture, don’t be afraid to use quartz and solid surface materials as well. Mixing natural with engineered stone can help update the look.
What are good subway tile options besides classic white?
White, grey, and cream remain subway tile favorites for traditional kitchens, but consider pale blues, greens, or soft geometric patterns for a more eclectic look. Darker colors like black, navy and charcoal are modern options as well.
Designing a Traditional Townhouse Kitchen
Maintain Historic Character
When renovating a kitchen in an old townhouse, preserving original architectural features helps retain its historic personality. If the space still has windows and moldings from an earlier era, keep these intact. Work crown molding, trims, built-ins and paneled walls into the new design. Match new cabinetry to existing details.
Select Timeless Materials
Traditional kitchens rely on classically beautiful yet durable surfaces like marble, granite, and wood paired with materials such as brick, tile, and stone. While splashier options exist today, natural substances bring timeless appeal. Whether used on countertops, backsplashes or floors, traditional materials withstand daily wear.
Customize Storage Solutions
Maximize every inch of space in a townhouse kitchen through customized cabinetry and storage. Optimize corners with angled cabinets with roll-out trays and racks. Add pull-out shelves for easy access to contents. Conceal small appliances in cabinets with ventilation. Use drawers suited for pans, utensils or tableware.
While historically kitchens relied solely on daylight, today’s kitchens require layers of thoughtful illumination. Add recessed cans for overall light but also task lighting under cabinets. Use pendants to highlight work zones and islands. Consider sconces for accent lighting. Install dimmers to control different lighting moods.
Open the Floor Plan
For better flow, open up the kitchen to adjacent living areas by removing any non-load-bearing walls. This visually expands the kitchen and improves traffic flow. Use continuity in flooring, cabinetry, countertops and color palettes to unify open concept spaces. Frame new openings to define kitchen boundaries.
Mix Traditional with Contemporary
A townhouse kitchen should blend classic elegance with current conveniences. Choose time-honored materials but add modern accents through hardware, lighting or mixes of traditional and contemporary surfaces. Integrate top-quality appliances and smart ergonomic work zones suited for real life.
The Beauty of a Townhouse Kitchen Remodel
Townhouse kitchens present great opportunities to respect architectural history while also upgrading functionality. By preserving original charm while optimizing layout and adding luxurious finishes, it’s possible to get the best of both worlds – a kitchen that celebrates the past but also meets the needs of current lifestyles.
The scale of most townhouses allows for a full remodel without overly expansive costs. With careful planning and customization, these compact kitchens can feel spacious and open. By creatively working within the existing footprint and opening the floor plan, small townhouse kitchens can live much larger.
While honoring architectural heritage takes precedence, townhouse kitchen renovations don’t need to feel dated. Integrating crisp, tailored lines and mixes of natural and engineered stone can prevent the new kitchen from appearing too old fashioned. Good lighting, smart storage solutions and quality appliances also keep the space feeling fresh and current.
In many ways, the townhouse kitchen is the heart of these urban homes. A kitchen remodel done right welcomes both family and guests while supporting busy lifestyles. For cooks and non-cooks alike, it becomes a beloved space to both prepare meals and connect with loved ones.
This light-filled townhouse kitchen exemplifies what’s possible when you skillfully blend old and new. The homeowners and designer maintained the historic charm and architecture through cabinetry, tilework and preservation of original details. At the same time, opening up the floor plan and integrating luxury appliances and surfaces elevated the functionality of the modest galley.
Attractive, durable and well-conceived, this kitchen suits the needs of contemporary living. Clever customization ekes out every inch of storage while the marble and lighting give the space polish. Detailed trim work and classic materials nod to the past but the room never feels stuck in another era.
For residents of historic townhouses, this kitchen shows that you don’t have to sacrifice vintage character or architectural integrity to gain a beautiful, luxurious space. With careful planning and design, the old and new can exist in stylish harmony. This light-filled townhouse kitchen is sure to inspire those looking to renovate an urban row house with grace, respect and creativity.