Kitchen Before

Our 1912 bungalow kitchen prior to restoration

Before and After, Kitchens


I have begun planning, or trying to plan, the best way to restore our kitchen. It’s a little tricky for several reasons. We have 3 doors leading into the kitchen on 3 different walls, 2 large built-in cupboards, and really no easy or inexpensive way to expand the space due to bathrooms, a stairway, plumbing and heat runs to the second story behind every wall.


On the south facing sink wall, a tile backsplash, counter and under the counter cupboards were added some time in our home’s past. They block part of the original built-in cupboards on the east and west walls.


I want to rip out the tile and MDF cupboards and plan on restoring the original built-in cupboards and having new doors made for them. The current doors are cheap MDF replacements of the originals.


I would like to have smaller cupboards on either side of a new sink to house the two modern conveniences that I am not willing to live without; a dishwasher and the microwave.


The fridge is visible from both the den and back porch, not the most attractive view. I have considered insetting a 24″ deep fridge into a wall to keep it from sticking out into the kitchen so awkwardly. The problem is a stairway on the other side of the fridge wall prevents us from insetting the fridge in its current location. Moving and insetting the fridge next to a built-in cupboard is an option but would leave us with a displaced stove.


The stove is overlapping part of the doorframe.


I am most unhappy with a large drainpipe next to the stove that has an unattractive box built around it. The original plaster wall was cut when updates needed to be made to the pipe.


There is also an equally ugly box on the ceiling hiding two water pipes. The water pipes can easily be moved inside the ceiling, so that is not a big deal.


I’m feeling a little bit at a loss and locked into our existing layout. We could remove one of the original built-in cupboards to solve some of these space issues but that really isn’t an option I’m considering. I want to keep those cupboards and I love all the storage space they provide. Is that unreasonable?


All suggestions and ideas are welcome.

Here is a link to a diagram of the kitchen.

Comments { 19 } February 18, 2004

Historical Kitchens

Ever wonder what your bungalow kitchen used to look like?

Inspiration, Kitchens

If you live in an old home, and are like me, you are probably curious what your kitchen looked like almost 100 years ago. I have been researching historical publications, magazines, books and online sources for ideas to help us when we restore our kitchen. These images span the early 1900′s to the late 1920′s, but primarily focus on the earlier years.

On thing that I found very interesting is that refrigerators or ice boxes are often shown integrated into a wall or cabinetry. This “trend” is considered modern in kitchen design today. Ha!

You might also enjoy:
Unpainted Historical Kitchens (more photos!)
Bungalow Kitchen Cupboards
Historical Bathroom Photos

Comments { 19 } March 21, 2004

Unpainted Historical Kitchens

Some kitchens were natural wood

Inspiration, Kitchens

Not all 1900-1920’s kitchens were painted. Although less common, some kitchen cupboards were natural wood.

Very simple kitchen layout.

Built-in cupboards.

You might also enjoy:
Historical Kitchens (lots of photos!)
Bungalow Kitchen Cupboards
Historical Bathroom Photos

Comments { 1 } March 22, 2004

Customized Commercial Refrigerator

Inspiration, Kitchens,

Customized Commercial Refrigerator
Custom designed refrigerator from Klondike Case

If I had $4000 burning a hole in my pocket I know what I’d be tempted to spend it on!

These are beautifully handcrafted oak, maple, cherry or hickory wood refrigerator cases from Klondike Case. The craftsmanship is amazing and would look right at home in an old fashioned kitchen.

Comments { 0 } August 11, 2004

Kitchen Archaeology

Kitchens, Restoration Diary

My Mom sent me “Shop Drawings for Craftsman Interiors, Cabinets, Moldings, & Built-ins For Every Room In The Home” for an early birthday present. A section titled “Kitchen Nook” caught my eye. I have often wondered why our house didn’t have a kitchen nook or as I have more commonly heard it referred to, a breakfast nook?


Many bungalows in our neighborhood have breakfast nooks and I’ve always been a little jealous that we don’t have one.

If space allows, every house should have a nook-a delightful little space off the kitchen for breakfast or lunch, a place for kids to do homework while dinner is being prepared, the ideal spot for coffee and conversation.

The accompanying illustration originally printed in Gustav Stickley’s The Craftsman magazine really got my attention. The placement of the nook was in the exact spot where one our of our built-in cupboards resides. The illustration shows a very humble opening in a wall with simple molding around the opening, nothing eleborate – almost like box with a window added onto the side of a kitchen.


Why is this in any way significant? On the other side of the wall is a small half-bath that is exactly the same width as the cupboard. We know this room is original to the house but couldn’t figure out it’s original purpose? It never made sense to me why there was a small room off the back of the house that could only be accessed from the outside, off of an open back porch.

It makes more sense that this room (currently our downstairs half-bath) wasn’t open to the outside but was really a nook off the kitchen. There is room enough for 2 built-in benches with a table between them. The existing window would have been perfectly centered on the wall over table.


It is possible that the nook was removed to add a bathroom downstairs and a built-in cupboard was placed in the opening to add more storage in the kitchen. If this happened, it would have been a change made fairly early on because the cupboard is very well crafted out of Douglas fir, although it’s in rather poor condition now.

Changes that were made after the original owners sold the house were not well crafted and usually haphazardly pulled together out of available materials. Although, it would not have been out of character for the original family to have made changes to the house. We have on record that they added an upstairs sleeping porch in 1916 and built a garage in 1918.


What is interesting is that the molding around the cupboard is different from the other built-in cupboard in the kitchen. This molding matches the molding around the doors. To me that suggests that the this could have been an opening (because the molding matches the doorways) for a nook.


While the molding on the other built-in is flat and matches the molding around the windows.


It seems odd that the moldings on the two built-in cupboards are different. In person, the built-in cupboards are similar but not exactly the same. This leads people to ask if the built-ins are both original or to question if one was added later? The truth is we don’t really know. Up until now I had thought they were both original.

One reason why I’m not completely sold on the idea that the built-in cupboard and bathroom behind it were originally a nook is because of a baseboard molding running along the back wall inside of the cupboard. The other built-in cupboard also has this baseboard molding. If the built-in was added later why would they bother to put in a baseboard?

This also leads me to wonder if perhaps both built-in cupboards were added later? Why would either of them have baseboard molding? Was that common?


It is challenging, but fun, to try to figure these things out so many years after the fact.

More photos of breakfast nooks



Comments { 13 } December 13, 2004

Calling All Kitchen Designers!

Desperately seeking a kitchen plan

Before and After, Kitchens

The problem is that this is our current kitchen…and this is what we want.


Comments { 9 } January 10, 2005

Kitchen Ads (1920s)

I love those old cast iron farmhouse sinks

Inspiration, Kitchens






Comments { 14 } May 22, 2005

Unfitted Kitchens, the Next European Invasion

Fall in love with English kitchens

Inspiration, Kitchens


I love the look and beautiful simplicity of these unfitted kitchens designed by British companies deVOL Kitchens and Plain English.


I have been drooling over these kitchens for the past 6 years, just waiting for the day when we remodel our kitchen.


Unfitted kitchens feature freestanding cabinetry. The cabinets are constructed of hardwoods and high quality materials. The quality of the construction often resembles a piece of furniture.


I love to imagine cooking in a kitchen like this. Well, in my fantasies, I love to imagine watching my husband, David, cooking in a kitchen like this while I sip a glass of wine and flip through the latest issue of “Food & Wine” magazine.


David is the chef in our relationship. I wish we had a kitchen that was worthy of his budding culinary abilities. He watches the Food Network the way some men watch ESPN.


Shelves instead of wall cabinets give the kitchen an open, airy feeling.


The freestanding hutch is a simple and elegant storage solution.


All the little drawers are reminiscent of Shaker furniture.


I am a big fan of painted cabinets.


Comments { 4 } January 26, 2009

I’ll Take a Kitchen Like Martha’s

Martha Stewart’s amazing kitchens

Inspiration, Kitchens


Martha, Martha, Martha. I LOVE this kitchen! The grayish taupe walls, the expanses of white marble and the beautiful cabinetry…I am drooling. Ms. Stewart recently posted new pictures of this kitchen on her blog.


Look at this display case. Glass on 3 sides gives it an open, airy feeling. I also like all the little touches of metal throughout the room; from the clock, to the warming drawers and the little metal knobs on the cupboards.


One benefit of owning several homes is being able to design completely different kitchens.


This kitchen features natural wood tones, open shelving and white subway tiles.


I really like the look of dishes stacked on open shelving. Although, I wonder how practical that is day to day with dust and animal fur? It might not be the best choice for earthquake prone Los Angeles.


I love all the storage and drawers in this kitchen.


I like the sinks with gooseneck faucets.


Comments { 3 } January 28, 2009

Bungalow Kitchen Cupboards

1911 Kitchen

Inspiration, Kitchens


I photographed the kitchen cupboards of a 1911 bungalow a few years back and saved them for the day when we remodel our kitchen.


What I like is the vast expanse of storage. It was difficult to photograph because the cupboards filled the whole wall.


This cupboard was built into the corner.


Bottom cupboards. The middle cupboard had a hinged bottom and was a flour bin.

See more bungalow kitchens!

Comments { 11 } January 29, 2009