Reviving Elegance in the Kitchen with Vintage Design

Gray painted kitchen cabinets with stained wood cabinets in a vintage inspired kitchenHistoric homes often undergo several remodels over their lifetime, though these updates can often stray from the home’s original design intention. This Evanston couple realized their 1990 kitchen remodel with cherry cabinets and granite countertops no longer felt in sync with the home’s overall aesthetic. “Incorporating character and charm into their kitchen was important, and the new finishes now more appropriately reflect the 1920s style of their home,” says Normandy Designer Bryan Brisky.

One of the main challenges of the original kitchen was an awkward, oversized peninsula that hindered traffic flow within the room. “We repositioned the peninsula cabinetry, transforming it into a well-placed kitchen island that is now accessible from all four sides and offers seating and plenty of storage space,” says Bryan. This simple swap greatly improved the overall flow of the kitchen, as did moving the location of the refrigerator to better fit the work triangle.

Kitchen island with stained cabinetry and perimeter kitchen cabinets painted grayWe created a vintage-inspired feel through thoughtful selection and juxtaposition of various materials. “He fell in love with the gray wash alder cabinetry and by mixing it with other cabinet finishes created that unique stylized feel,” Bryan says. She wanted inset cabinets to give the impression of built-in furniture. “The real showstopper is the diamond pattern floor tiles which add character unlike any other element in the kitchen,” says Bryan.

This project included expanding the doorway between the kitchen and mudroom, from a narrow 30” to a generous 48” opening. “This allows more natural light to flood the kitchen and makes the entire space feel larger,” says Bryan. The decision to hold down the upper cabinets was also one of aesthetic and functional choice.

Gray painted and wood stained cabinets in a vintage inspired kitchen with checkered floor tile

“The cabinets were much too tall for reasonable use and holding them down gives the illusion of taller ceilings” Bryan continues. “Now the crown moulding is a gorgeous stand-out feature instead of being hidden by the cabinetry.”

We carefully considered every detail to enhance the vintage ambiance and bring this kitchen back to life. “These finishing touches played a crucial role in transforming the kitchen into a visually stunning and highly functional room that they will enjoy for years to come,” Bryan says.

Maybe your kitchen feels out of step with your home’s architectural style. Give Bryan a call to discuss your ideas and work up a plan to create a space you will love to be in. To start, you can find inspiration and curate a collection of your favorite looks from our Facebook and Instagram pages.


Vintage inspired kitchen with checkboard floor, gray painted cabinets and stained wood cabinets  BEFORE kitchen with cherry cabinets and granite counters

Gray painted cabinets and stained wood cabinets in a vintage inspired kitchen  Stainless refrigerator with gray painted and stained wood cabinets and a checkerboard floor  Gray kitchen cabinetry with patterned backsplash tile



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