Classic Meets Playful for this Victorian Kitchen Remodel in Hinsdale

The homeowners of this 1920s, Victorian foursquare style home shared a love of classic architecture and antique finds, collected over many years in their travels throughout Europe and the U.S.   So when it came time to remodel their kitchen, they knew that maintaining a unique and vintage style was important. But because this busy family prepared all of their meals from scratch, modern conveniences were a ‘must-have.’

“Before getting started with a design, it is important to understand the type of cooking done in the kitchen and what kind of storage is needed,” said Normandy Designer Laura Barber, AKBD. “In this case, it was clear that a functional layout, quality appliances, and durable materials would be necessary.”

Once there was a clear idea of how the homeowners used the space, Laura started space planning.

“Typically, a standard work triangle is an area between the sink, cooking surface, and refrigerator,” mentioned Laura. “However, because this kitchen was so large, it required multiple work zones.”

“It was important to carefully plan the island to ensure it was an enhancement and not an obstacle,” added Laura. “Additionally, each work zone needed to be self-sufficient.”

To maximize efficiency, one side of the island includes all the elements required for fresh food storage, prep work, and kitchen clean-up. Specifically, the 48″ refrigerator, a large single bowl sink, composting bin, trash/recycling cabinet, and a tray divider cabinet to store cutting boards with knife block inserts adjacent. Small appliances like the food processor stand mixer are stored conveniently in the appliance garages flanking the sink and there are two dishwashers to handle this busy family’s needs.

The other side of the island is primarily zoned for cooking.  A 48″ range top with a large hood is central to this space and is flanked by large pull-out cabinetry to store spices and cooking essentials. Large drawers also surround the range, providing a space for pots, pans, and utensils. Next to the range, there is a single 30” oven. Additionally, across the way on the other side, there is a tall cabinet that houses the primary oven, steam oven, and warming drawer. The top portion of this cabinet also has tray dividers for cookie sheets and cutting boards.  The island workspace across from the range top also features a secondary prep sink and additional trash bin. This allows the homeowners to work almost exclusively on this site.

Aside from the multiple work zones, another unique need was the accommodation of the family’s tall stature. Laura raised the height of the range top and adjacent countertops to make the space feel more comfortable and limit bending. The walnut breakfast bar is also a bit higher than the standard to accommodate the dad’s and son’s height. The proportions of the different elements in the space are intentionally large in scale as well, for overall balance.

Once the work zones and counter heights were sorted out, Laura looked at incorporating a “mudroom” space near the back door, which was the primary entrance used by family and friends. Overall, the family needed an attractive place to hang coats and store shoes without compromising the aesthetic or function of the kitchen. In the end, the mudroom space is flanked by a broom closet and tall oven cabinet for balance and symmetry.  A porcelain tile that matches the cabinetry is used on the floor beneath the bench to keep wet shoes and boots off of the new wood flooring.

Lighting was also carefully thought out. The primary task lighting includes dimmable can lights and LED under-cabinet lighting. The fixture above the island is a beautiful antique reproduction that closely matches the original antique brass fixtures in their home and provides both task and decorative lighting.  LED puck lights inside the glass door wall cabinets highlight the homeowner’s antique pieces. Large skylights and an expanded kitchen window above the sink flood the space with natural light.

Overall, the space functions like a dream and is bright, with cheerful pops of color – including a decorative Mackenzie Child’s backsplash above the range.  Contact Laura to set up a time to discuss creating a space that reflects your personality and tastes.  Or, register for our upcoming kitchen seminar “Secrets of the Ideal Kitchen” to learn more about what you need to consider during the pre-planning stages of a renovation. You can also follow Normandy Remodeling on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news, design tips, and inspiration.


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