Our European Kitchen Design Plan
Our home is very unique for Corsicana, Texas, most homes here are Craftsman, Greek Revival, Victorian or Bungalows, followed by more contemporary new home designs. Our charming English Cottage is one of a kind. We believe with that unique property ownership, comes responsibility to curate the cottage without loosing it's historical charm. Mr. GDC and I tend to embrace the quirky traits of our homes, it's more difficult to problem solve than ripping things out and creating new spaces. However, we've found embracing quirkiness usually lends to charming, unique spaces.
Our home was built in 1930 nestled into the back corner of our lot. Originally built as a guest house with two bedrooms, a bathroom, small living room, also a petite kitchen. The original owners, the town Postmaster and his wife, planned a larger home to be constructed on the front of our lot. Somewhere along the way, the owner's plans changed and they chose to add on to the small guest house.
Two additions were made; a long living room down one side of the original cottage, and a long room across the back. Those additions created our odd keeping room, complete with a 7' foot wide brick cooking fireplace. Yes, 7 feet. Also, four doorways leading to other rooms. Did I mention the stairs? The only staircase wanders upward from the keeping room. The room measure approximately 10.5' X 12'. It's full of pathways to the living room, sunroom, home office, kitchen and finally upstairs. The keeping room behaves more like a hallway than a conversation area.
|View toward the keeping room and kitchen from the living room. Large cooking fireplace on the right, stair wall to the left. |
|Opposite wall from fireplace, two columns that support the ceiling beams and stairwell ascending upward.|
Cooking is one of my favorite things. The petite kitchen with little counterspace has been tricky. The full kitchen from outside wall to outside wall measures 10.5 feet by 12 feet. From counter to counter across we have 6' 3". Wooo Hoo! Did I say "petite"? I was being politely Southern. I mean little, small, itty bitty. The longest counter span is 5'. Seriously, I'm taller than that.
|Odd empty corner. Previous owner had a corner cabinet here.|
I've been working on a plan to create more space and function. Unfortunately, there isn't an adjacent room where we can borrow space to enlarge the kitchen. After reviewing the options, we've decided to spill the kitchen into the odd keeping room. I believe the previous owner was attempting to hide the kitchen behind the bookcase on the right, the now empty corner on the left, where an antique corner cabinet once stood. They used the keeping room as a television watching room.
Our first step was to remove the bookcase that camouflaged the fridge. The bookcase prevented the refrigerator door from fully opening. As you opened the refrigerator the back of the door would bump against the bookcase, allowing the right door to open only a small amount. Removing the bookcase corrected the refrigerator door issue. Unfortunately, we discovered a new dilemma; the brick floor had been stained, as well as glazed sometime after the bookcase was built. Beneath the bookcase is bare clay brick, where the remainder of the floor is finished and sealed darker. Uncertain what stain or which color was used I don't believe we can match it. After pondering the rectangle left behind by the bookcase removal - I'm thinking maybe...whitewash. We could apply a whitewash to the floor in an effort to even out the various tones. Since the room has only the small kitchen sink window, a lighter floor would brighten the space.
|The darker brick floor is the stained and sealed brick, while the natural brick is the lighter area.|
Small whitewash sample I tried outside on a walkway.
In keeping with our English Cottage architecture, we've decided to create a European style kitchen. We planned to add pieces of furniture rather than American style built-in cabinetry. For now we are going to keep what we inherited and build upon that footprint. Luckily what we inherited is a great beginning; an original metal frame French pane window, a stylish farm sink, hand painted French clay tiles, and Baha Brazil blue granite countertops, puncuated by brick floors in both the kitchen and keeping room. We've got a nice foundation for a European style kitchen.
A rough sketch of the new kitchen, keeping room plan is below (not fully to scale) -
The refrigerator will move across the kitchen being placed alongside the range in that open corner. Moving the refrigerator will allow the right side of the kitchen counter to be extended for some much needed counter space. Additionally, placing the fridge next to the range pairs both tall vertical pieces together, while creating a sight line on the right side of the kitchen that will make it feel larger visually.
|Charles Faudree design, featured in Traditional Home Magazine (photo credit Traditional Home Magazine)|
The left wall of the keeping room where the stairs wind upward has two columns 80" apart. We have no pantry. A sideboard would be perfect to provide food storage, also serve as a coffee bar. When we first moved I instantly thought of Charles Faudree, whose work I've adored for years. I'm borrowing from him, the photo above shows a similar concept in one of his stunning kitchen designs. I'm thinking a French styled sideboard featuring a small hanging wall cabinet centered above for coffee cup storage Flanking the hanging cabinet will be a collection of blue and white porcelain to give that European country charm I'm striving for.
|Blaine Bar Height Table, World Market (photo credit World Market)|
Along the center of the keeping room I'm thinking a narrow bar height table with a pair of bar stools tucked beneath. The table will be a nice place for breakfast, as well as additional counterspace for baking. I am smitten with the Blaine table from World Market a simple metal frame finished off with marble top...swoon! The Blaine is 48" long, 36" high, and a narrow 26" wide, see it here. Paired with cottage style wooden stools featuring a rush seat, like these Emilia 24" barstool from Joss & Main, see them here. Charm and function will combine for a lovely spot to cut out cookies, then later enjoy them with a hot cup of coffee.
|24" Emilia bar stool in walnut finish from Joss & Main (photo credit Joss & Main)|
After moving the fridge from the right side of the kitchen, there will be four feet of open linear space. With counterspace at a minimum we plan to extend the counter from five feet to nine. I'm thinking of Mr. GDC building some rustic counter height shelves. We would welcome additional storage space. The frame could be skirted with a natural linen or canvas drapes, hung from metal café rings and an industrial rod. A functional addition, while again bringing another element of European charm. For the countertop we could repeart the Baha blue granite, or opt for a wood plank top. Above this extension of counter: a collection of art or a chalkboard to keep us organized. Something similar to the photo below would be lovely:
Photo credit R R Antiques
We think our plan will help to create a more functional kitchen, while making good use of the space we refer to as the "keeping room". I'll be back soon with photos as the plan progresses.
Until Next time, wishing you all the best -