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  1. Lynne Rutter
    August 27, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

    Looking at all your “research” photos both here and on Pinterest I can see plenty of elements you are attracted to, enough to figure out an actual plan for your kitchen. It’s good to have a plan of course and you might want to consult a design/build professional or at least a good designer to help get this done with a minimum of potentially costly mistakes. (Not a “kitchen design” showroom, most of them just try to sell you more cabinets and accessories than you need, I mean a design/build professional) It amazing all the boring things you will not think of that need to be thought about like the building codes and plumbing issues and where to put the lighting. And if they aren’t thought out in advance — well let’s just say the heartbreak of not being able to use the faucet you sold your car in order to buy is indescribable. You will pick lovely subway tiles as a backsplash and then they’ll come in and put 85 outlets in it. Hire a design professional to help – it’s so much better than going on a tri-state killing rampage.


    • Lynne Rutter
      August 27, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

      btw– I have a recycled slab of honed white carrera in my 1870s kitchen and it’s not only beautiful but durable and useful and with minor maintenance has held up for me over 20 years so far. Originally I got it because I saw it in a salvage yard and thought it was a cool deal, but it’s a great traditional look as well as a hard working surface needing minimal upkeep. and did I mention beautiful?


  2. Cheri
    August 27, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    Check out this seller on ebay for reclaimed items for your old house. Click on the photos to see his pillars and fireplace mantels. If you find something you like in his inventory, he will sell it individually. He is always offering his entire stock for a price. I’ve been to his shop. He has some cool stuff. If he doesn’t have what you like, just talk to him. He might be able to find what you want.


    • Cheri
      August 27, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

      I have his phone number if you need it. Just email me.

      Going through his stuff inspired me to have a door made. I found an expert glass man who can make any changes you want. He cut down a panel for me and my carpenter had a door made to fit an awkward opening in my old house. Can you imagine someone putting a hollow pocket door in a dining room to cover a closet? Well I fixed that problem, among many others that were wrong with my house. I have one door left to be made for my kitchen that will be leaded glass as well.

      It would be very impressive if you were able to have leaded glass cabinet doors.


      • Cheri
        August 27, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

        If you find yourself wanting to have curved trim around an arched doorway, I turned toward the Amish community first. Locate a mill and go to their showroom. It will be no frills, but that is ok. They have samples, nice samples. If they don’t have what you need or want, ask them if they know of any other places. They were unable to make my curved arches, but they knew who could. I ended up at a Mennonite mill and those guys were fabulous. They made the most gorgeous curved trim for a window I had made for the stairway. I just put pictures up on flickr today. They are working on the stairway right now as I type. My carpet runner is being installed Thursday.

        If this link doesn’t work, my username is hardamber.


        • Cheri
          August 27, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

          If you want to see my other rooms, just scroll through the miscellaneous photos. I had to host them there.


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          August 29, 2013 @ 9:09 am

          A– your house is gorgeous, and that window is amazing.

          B– MORE IMPORTANTLY???? Am I correct in seeing that you have a PET RACCOON?


  3. the misfit
    August 27, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    Haha. I did this last year, and I know you will do it much better (you have more square footage, some actual carpentry skills available, and also, I suspect, an actual budget). But having been through the mind vortex that results just from trying to select lighting, I feel I am properly situated for FULL appreciation of the spectatorship of someone else’s kitchen remodel. And I assure you that I am enjoying it.

    In the interest of maybe actually being helpful, here are a few thoughts. First of all, I WANT a ladder in my kitchen (I hear the objections; I am not swayed). Second, I have a work table with a marble top. It’s salvaged (from a furrier’s in Cincinnati, which was remodeled in 1917. Thus, I conclude that the marble is close in age to my 1898 house. Not counting the fact that all marble is actually thousands of years old – or older?). When I got the marble, it was chipped, stained, patched, etc., etc. I bleached it and scrubbed it with steel wool (the stains didn’t fade). I did not seal it. I have since added red wine and coffee stains. In fact, even butter stains it if you leave it on there. It’s GREAT for rolling pie crusts. I love making pie. I don’t care about having impeccable marble. I believe that is the test for whether you should have marble in the kitchen. Had I a kitchen to do again (and a healthier budget), I would mostly do soapstone. Have you looked into that? Very traditional material. Very practical. Mined and sold in Pennsylvania (almost drove there for a remnant).

    Finally. I like the kitchen pictures you showed above (and you should obviously have whatever kitchen you want). Personally, I found myself easily betrayed by designer kitchens. They would have an antique SENSIBILITY, and I would think, “Ooh! Antique kitchens!” and start falling in love with Restoration Hardware fixtures and hand-scraped whatnot and marble counters with ogee edges. Then I would look at a real antique kitchen again and remember what I was really looking for. (And you may not be looking for the same thing. The suggestion that follows applies only if you are.) So, first, I realized I needed to return regularly to antique kitchens, to help myself remember the aesthetic I wanted most. They are a minority on the internet, so this requires mental discipline. I particularly love Edith Wharton’s kitchen and butlery (–Edith-Wharton-s-Lenox-MA-Estate–traditional–other-metro), by the way. (Oh, from which I took the ingenious idea – sadly unworkable with my kitchen’s dimensions and my nonexistent masonry skills – that I should make a backsplash out of 18×18 marble floor tiles, with hidden-as-much-as-possible seams. I know this idea is pure gold, and somebody is going to use it eventually. It may be me, in a future house. It may be you. Who can say?)

    The other guidepost I used, in the vein of both reining in my inspiration magpie and helping to render my inspirations into reality, was this: there is nothing like antique woodwork but antique woodwork. And that’s where I figured a kitchen has to start. You’ll select a lot of finishes (stove, floor, backsplash) that might or might not anchor you in the past, but for me the difference between “high-end antique-inspired” and “antique” is the cabinetry. So, my suggestion would be to look obsessively at local salvage, until you find that piece of woodwork you cannot live without (which in your case could be Narnia, but I think Paul has the final say on feasibility there). Bring it home, restore it, install it, and make the rest of your kitchen revolve around it. Obviously, make it something LARGE – and highly functional. Granted you don’t necessarily want my kitchen (so your piece of inspirational salvage might look completely different from mine), but my one eight-foot, filthy, warped, damaged, salvaged butlery cabinet from a Baltimore Victorian spawned the entire rest of my kitchen with a self-propeling force (it involved MANY hours of hard labor, and even more hours of exhausting shopping, but it darn near made all my decisions for me when it came right down to it). And though I may not have everyone else’s dream kitchens, I know my method worked, because I am truly happy with my results. (If I had it to do again, I would do the sink countertop differently…there’s always something.)

    And sort of on that subject: I think the sine qua non of a good-sized Victorian kitchen is the giant china hutch. Because I saw one in a Miss Marple episode on Netflix (eventually I will take a screen-shot of the photo) and fell ludicrously in love, and now I spy them everywhere. I legitimately don’t have room for one, but it would be a great way to integrate an adjoining space into a kitchen without covering it with built-in cabinetry. Sort of like this: Or maybe this: And I just happen to have seen a big old oak one at a second-hand place near me recently. Just saying…


  4. Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse
    August 27, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

    I think I’m right where you are. I would add to all your ideas that I want something coastal, but without seashells everywhere! So I might be in deeper trouble than you are! I’ll be happy to see all your inspiration pictures… Mayeb, after all, I don’t have enough!


  5. Lisa
    August 27, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

    You wanted a one-piece, skirted toilet for ease of cleaning. Would you consider such clean lines with minimal foofarah for your kitchen?


  6. Penny
    August 27, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

    I’ve seen you on Houzz, so I know you’ve been looking around at those. I have to confess, I “only” average about 80 photos per idea book, but that’s just because I split the 1200 photos into about 15 more limited folders, like “panty porn”, “red kitchens”, “kitchen appliances”, “blue kitchens”, “yellow kitchens” and so on and so on.

    If we get a house at some point (I’d love that one Victorian I drive past every day that’s all derelict and down to the studs right now and sadly, off market, since I was missing just over $200k of savings at the time it was last for sale, but it is sooo gorgeous. And down to the studs… Anyway. Realistically, we’ll start with a cottage from the 40’s, and work our way up… Am I rambling? Yes I am!), I’m going to be one of those housewives who scours Craigslist and thrift stores and antique shops for those finds, too. Your life seems like a reflection of what we have yet to come. I can’t wait! 😀


  7. Carol
    August 27, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

    I just finished my kitchen reno. We live in a 1920s house and went with a whole new kitchen, completely moving it from one end of the house to the other. White marble counter, Farrow and Ball painted wood custom cupboards, ss appliances, subway tile…very pretty. My Pinterest board might be of interest to you:


  8. Sue
    August 27, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

    I haven’t picked out what you are thinking of for flooring but this is my best piece of advice if you dream about like me, a cream limestone floor…… my dream cream limestone floor is the bain of my life – dirty cracked chipped oh did I say dirty – even when it’s cleaned and polished. So unless you intend never to step in your kitchen do not be seduced by natural stone -even if they are 4 million year old with a promise of a sleek contemporary but classic look. No no no choose the black or the synthetic which you can clean…


  9. Marilyn
    August 27, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

    I don’t have a website. Do I need one to comment?
    I think you want glass doors in a white kitchen judging by your Pinterest board.


  10. Wendy
    August 27, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

    We are renovating the 1868 2-story brick farmhouse that was built by his great-great grandfather. I wanted the kitchen to look as if it might have been original, but function as a modern kitchen. Keeping costs down was a priority, and space was tight.
    1) The walls and ceiling are beautifully aged, wood “car-siding” installed by his grandfather, so we decided on painted white cabinets to keep the kitchen bright. The 42″ upper cabinets + crown molding join the ceiling. Reaching the highest shelf is a stretch, but the cabinets are 18″ from the counter and do not allow dust, etc to accumulate on top. (By the way, there were no vertical studs in the walls to hang the cabinets from! He attached the cabinets to the wood wall, and the heavily loaded cabinets have not yet crashed!) I lusted for open shelves and glass cabinets, but ultimately decided to hide everything behind solid raised panel doors.
    2) We decided on a smooth-top black stove because the stoves of the era were black — using black for the other appliances helps de-emplasize them. The dishwasher has a cabinet front, the refrigerator is tucked under a stairway, and we found a small black microwave that sits in the unused corner of the L-shaped counter (the dead space under the L-counter has a cabinet that opens into the adjacent dining room) .
    3) The kitchen has a large picture window (now sliding glass door) — the floor-to-ceiling cabinets on either side create the illusion of a bow window for the small breakfast table (unplanned but fortuitous). The table is an antique ornate cast-iron lamp table to which I added a glass top.
    4) The new aged-bronze light fixture has the appearance of 12 large candles, yet is bright with flourescent bulbs.
    5) A lustrous quartz countertop with embedded sink was the plan — but after 6 weeks with no sink, we have compromised for now with store-bought rather than wait any longer.
    My tips are these:
    1) List everything you need places for (dishes, silverware, pots/pans, but also the less-obvious bulky things like beverages and recycling and storage containers and paper towels).
    2) Figure out how you want the kitchen to function. Placing the dishwasher between the sink and the dinnerware cabinet (with silverware drawer under) has been very convenient. And the under-sink, pull-out garbage, which he had to create because of pipes, is wonderful.
    Good luck, and thanks for sharing. I hope you love your new kitchen as much as I love ours.


    • Kiki
      August 28, 2013 @ 5:50 am

      what a fantastic comment Wendy – I only wish I could see pictures of YOUR kitchen for now… :))))
      what is so extra-ordinary with Victoria’s posts is the extensive exchange of opinions, views, ‘councelling’ and what have you which is not only amusing to read but sometimes very helpful to all of us. Sadly, it’s also nearly entirely focussed on the American market (quite rightly so!) and we ‘poor relatives’ in Europe are left to salivate at your huge market of ‘oh so desirable products’….
      Continue to have fun and joy with your kitchen and thanks for telling us so much about your place to be. It IS amazing that those cabinets never crashed down….


  11. JamieAbe
    August 27, 2013 @ 5:44 pm

    I just recently found your blog via brooklynlimestone. I have to say, you speak to me! My lifelong goal, other than trying to raise decent human beings, is to own a turn of the century house. I love your blog, and your house! You’re doing a great job, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with for your kitchen. In the mean time, have you seen these…

    You’ll have to ignore the price tag;) I’m really good at that. That could make some interesting kitchen cabinetry, though!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      August 29, 2013 @ 9:20 am

      What did I do to you to make you want to ruin my life by showing me those cabinets? Hmmm?

      I can ignore the price tag JUST FINE… but ignoring that my ceiling is 3′ too short is another matter.


  12. Malin
    August 27, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

    We seem to have very similar ideas about what a kitchen should look like! I just moved to a 260 sq feet apartment though, and my kitchen designing was confined to little more than getting cheap Ikea gold knobs … But one day, I will have that butler’s pantry and sunny breakfast room of my dreams!


  13. Robin
    August 27, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

    Well, I can relate. I finally just sat down with the dude at Home Depot in front of his little computer. They take the dimensions, and in a couple visits — voila! — you have a kitchen design. Then you can paw through the cabinet types, pick one, and they print that out for you to ponder. You can even switch the company, color, etc. in the same design for the most part to see how it differs. For about $10,000 our kitchen is being delivered on 9/4. Then we’re putting Calacatta marble for counter tops, getting a Bertazzoni range, got that new Samsung fridge w/the middle drawer, a Bosch dishwasher, and Bob’s your uncle. Done. I think with a kitchen, you can then cook up the sustenance you need to do the rest of the house! Though your house is lovely and I’m sure whatever you do will be great. But, yes, inertia is a bitch.


  14. melaniekite
    August 27, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

    Love your blog – it makes me smile. Out loud.
    Most important about your new kitchen is also to think about what you DON’T like. The irritating things that you go through when you are preparing for a party, when you can’t afford a caterer, of course. The shelves that are so deep that pantry items get lost. The shelves too shallow so platters don’t fit. The shelves that are too far apart, so dishes have to be stacked higher than you’d like, or the ones too close together for the tall glasses and vases, or boxes. You know, pretty is as pretty does. I had an old farmhouse with one wall covered with a cupboard with two sets of tall doors that I could open and see everything. I miss that wall. It was plain, but it worked.

    Good luck with your new kitchen. I know it will be fun!


  15. Patricia
    August 27, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

    So basically ANY kitchen except mid century modern? Way to really not limit yourself!

    For me, it was all about function. I got out my drafting board, T square and grid paper and drew and drew and drew. I’d been clipping kitchen storage ideas for a couple years. I knew I wanted more counter space than I already had (started with about 3 linear feet, ANYTHING was better than that). I knew I wanted a dishwasher (because drying dishes took up all 3 feet). I knew I wanted light (one kitchen window and ceiling light). And I knew I wanted a ton of storage, all base cabinets to pull out drawer style, eat-in breakfast nook, hardwood floors, tile counters (hey, this was 1987!) and I got all of that except tile counters … not enough money in the budget. Twenty-six years later and I still love it. Changed appliances over the years and finally did tile about fifteen years ago. Currently pondering butcherblock for part of the kitchen but otherwise would’t change a thing.


  16. Ralph Johnson
    August 27, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

    I will piggy back on what Lynn Rutter has to say. Hire a professional. It will SAVE you money. It will SAVE you you time. It might SAVE your marriage and/or sanity. And when I say hire a professional, that doesn’t mean that this person will dictate every color choice, flavor, and hardware. What you’re looking for is guidance. People who do kitchens/ additions for a living have a vast reservoir of ideas that can help you. A good architect can look this space over in about 5 minutes and give you 3 or 4 options that would give you some place to start. Hire him/her on a retainer up to a certain sum for conceptuals and ask him if there’s a contractor familiar with this kind of project that he/she could recommend. Also ask for recommendations for kitchen designers. Ask your friends.
    Another thing. This should be fun. It’s gonna be expensive, so get used to that. But this area is a quality of life issue, so figure out what you’d like to have, what you can realistically afford, and enjoy the process. Good luck!


  17. Lara
    August 27, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

    You make me laugh. I check back often, just so I can laugh. Thanks!

    p.s. Good luck finalizing your kitchen style. Maybe you can call it retro rustic french victorian with a little dash of vintage steampunk on the side. That should just about cover your bases.


  18. louise
    August 28, 2013 @ 5:35 am

    I see you more as a gilt daryl carter girl than a christopher peacock. He doesnt seem right for you at all.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      August 28, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

      I’d thank you for this introduction, but I just wasted ANOTHER hour of my life looking at gorgeous rooms that I cannot afford.


      • louise
        August 28, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

        What about his own kitchen in his farmhouse? Simple yet gorgeous. Affordable I think.


  19. Janette @ The 2 Seasons
    August 28, 2013 @ 7:39 am

    FYI. I grew up near the Christopher Peacock cabinet factory. It is not in England but in a teeny little town in West Virginia that has probably 270 people. The workers there are just locals who don’t make much more than minimum wage. I don’t know why he charges soooooooo much and can get away with it. I left that area when I graduated from high school and went to college, but my brother recently moved back to the area to retire, and we drove past the plant on my last visit.


  20. Janette @ The 2 Seasons
    August 28, 2013 @ 7:46 am

    One more thing: I just looked at our Pinterest board and realized you would love my kitchen. It isn’t huge but it and out butler’s pantry have what you love.


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