A few years ago, we invested in an antique brick cottage in the town we live in. It was in need of some love and care, and I took on the challenge to revive it into something that was once again lovely and more functional for today. Here is the before and after project of this farmhouse style kitchen…
Our plan for this antique brick cottage wasn’t to reside there ourselves, but as an investment. I also felt a need to help this little house out of the dumps, I knew I could restore it so that it would be loved again. After all, this is our hometown and why wouldn’t I want to improve it, even if only one house at a time? So working on this renovation project, the whole time I was trying to balance what made sense to the budget for an investment/rental property, but what also what was respectful to this ‘limited edition’ antique house.
Even though the cottage, (originally a Victorian 2-story that lost it’s 2nd story long ago in a fire) was built in the mid/late 1800’s, the kitchen had obviously been re-done in the 1960’s or 70’s.
With the dark paneling, dark cabinets, dark floor, dark gold countertops, 1970 style ranch molding, horrible plumbing, original, very aged, wiring and extremely inefficient floorplan, not to mention non insulated exterior wall and windows in terrible condition… this kitchen needed to be gutted!!
So enough of the before’s…
Here’s a picture of ‘during’ this huge renovation project!
I need to interrupt this and state how important it is to have a good contractor! As a designer, I did all the planning, purchasing, consulting and most of the supervision… however, I have a wonderful and creative contractor with a fantastic attitude. He loves what he does. He really digs a challenge and is smart about re-using stuff if it is smart to do so. No matter what, at times a project of this magnitude will have some stress, and I wouldn’t want to go through that without a contractor that has a good attitude and is willing to work with me to solve the problem at hand. ‘Our guy’ is a huge blessing and really helps make projects like these fun!
Ok, back to the project…
The new windows and trim were installed in this ‘during’ picture as well.
We installed 4 x 8 sheets of beadboard plywood all around the entire space at 5′ high capped with a simple trim board on top. The same beadboard was used for the backsplash. It is cost effective, sturdy real wood so it should be durable for renters, and totally in keeping with the vintage style of the original house.
The new cabinets from Home Depot were installed as well as the countertops, (also from Home Depot). We went with a brown laminate counter. Granite was just too expensive for a rental here, and the brown repeats the color from the new found wood floor.
What you don’t see is the boring stuff, albeit important stuff, like new wiring, new plumbing, insulated wall, and sheetrock.
Now to the good stuff…
Here’s the antique brick cottage farmhouse style kitchen project completed:
In this picture you can get a feel for the new floor plan. The sink is to the right, where a door was originally that went out to the side yard. We replaced that door with a window, and put in the sink and dishwasher.
To the left, directly across from the sink, just out of this photo, is the range.
Then to the left, in the picture you can see the fridge.
And beyond is the 4′ peninsula between the windows with counter stool space on the other side.
And further beyond is the back entry.
For the new floor plan I was able to create an efficient work triangle, with a bonus peninsula I created with this 4′ cabinet from Home Depot. It nicely adds to the kitchen work counter area and we had just enough space to extend the counter on the backside of it, to allow space for counter stools.
The mason jar pendant lights I made from old mason jars and track light adapters from Menard’s.
Even though we replaced the windows, I really wanted to maintain their original size. These long windows in the kitchen pour gorgeous light into this room, but they do make the floor plan a bit tricky. We had just enough space between them to put this cabinet, adjacently placed, creating a work area from the front, and a counter stool area from the back side. You can see the beadboard we put on the back of the cabinets for the peninsula too.
Also, the radiator is the original one, I just repainted it from brown to this wonderful aged bronze color using this amazing Ralph Lauren metallic finish paint.
For the fridge area, I had room to squeeze in a 9″ cabinet next to it, this will give the users a bit of space to set milk, juice and the like as they are accessing the fridge. Doesn’t seem like much, until you have to use a fridge that doesn’t have any counter space next to it, then you realize how much you miss it!
Also, for very little expense, I had the fridge area encased with a sheet of plywood painted white and brought the upper cabinets out to the front, creating a built-in fridge look. I dislike seeing the exposed side of a fridge, it just gives the kitchen an unfinished look in my opinion. Here, in this picture of the sink area, you can see the new window over the sink where the side entrance door once was.
This also shows how the warm brown counters and floor, contrast nicely with the cool white cabinets and gray beadboard. I find that mixing warm and cool tones in a room’s color plan, offers enough variation that the room doesn’t wind up feeling too ‘warm’ or too ‘cool’.
Surrounding the range, I had just enough space to have a cabinet and countertop on each side of it. One of my pet peeves is when the range is shoved up against a wall on one side. I’d much rather have 2 smaller cabinets on each side, than one large one and a wall on the other!
So from the back entry of this antique brick cottage looking through the farmhouse style kitchen, you can see through the dining room (chandelier from Home Depot) all the way into the front living room.
I am still thrilled with our investment and decision to restore this property. We are so blessed to have a wonderful family that has been in there ever since we finished it. They love living there and love the property as much as I do.
Want to read a little more about this antique brick cottage?
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