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Renovating a kitchen in a character home with function in mind

Tracy Wharton character home kitchen kitchen function kitchen renovation renovation

Character home kitchens present unique challenges.

They often have doors and windows where we wish they didn't, were built before anybody had ever heard of a work triangle, electrical and plumbing can be completely outdated and so on, but then, that is part of what gives a home character. The challenge is to provide a homeowner with a space that functions as we expect a kitchen to function, but still retains the charm of the original space.

This was exactly what the owner of this century old home in Calgary was facing. A long "bowling alley" of a kitchen, with no counterspace on either side of the stove, an awkward layout and no dishwasher. Dishwashers are a great part of a solid sustainable interior design btw, as modern models use less water than washing dishes in the sink, so don't feel you have to go back to doing everything the way your grandmother did in order to be environmentally friendly.  

The first question was what could be saved and what had to go? The cabinets in this kitchen were beyond saving, but the floor was fairly new and suited the home. The window dropped down below counter height (but we didn't want to open up the walls) and the fridge was blocking off entry to the kitchen. You can see it on the right hand side of the before photo where it sat right beside the range with no countertop.  

I designed a fully moveable kitchen island with loads of work space and storage which sat in front of the existing window. The fridge was relocated to a pantry closet (not visible) which gave us the space we needed to put countertops or "landing spots" on either side of the range.  

Note that the "before" was taken during the day and the "after" at night, but there's waaaaay more light in the after. That is as a result of the LEDs, a new light fixture with 3 bulbs and a colour scheme that brightened everything up. LEDs were built into cabinetry mouldings so we didn't disturb the lath and plaster ceiling and have to do mayor drywall repairs. The low voltage also doesn't strain the exisit electrical box.  

With an eye to using period finishes, but modern layout, the homeowner now enjoys the best of both worlds.  She even has a discreetly tucked away dishwasher!  



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