It's all about balance
Balancing space constraints and functional wants; balancing finishes with budgets; balancing form and function. All in the service of providing you a space that allows you to feel balanced and centered in your life, in this room that is so central to all of our lives.
MODERN LIVING IN A VICTORIAN TOWN HOME
When our clients purchased this 1867 town home in Boston, they purchased it for the parlor floor, the floor with all of the original Victorian Details. But the kitchen was on the floor below, where the kitchens in these homes were originally, so that the cook would be out of the way. As our client was a chef herself, this didn't work for her. She wanted to be in the action, and wanted the kitchen on the floor that was the reason they bought the home in the first place. But she also wanted a fully functional chef's kitchen, at the same time that she wanted to maintain the formality of the main parlor area. To do this, we took over the space that was the catering kitchen and took out the walls separating it from the dining room, as well as the pocket doors separating the dining room from the parlor, and the structural wall between the parlor and the entrance way.
As it turns out, creating a fully-functional kitchen in a constrained space is not that difficult--you just need to look to how working chef's cook. Every restaurant kitchen is compact with everything within easy reach, with nothing more than is needed, and nothing less. Our client found when she really thought about it, she never used more than 5 burners at a time, so we were able to get more cabinet space by using a 30" Thermidor 5-burner cook top. We were able to satisfy her requirement for two ovens and a microwave by using a Miele Speed-Oven which doubles as a microwave, and thus not sacrifice valuable cabinet space. In terms of the finish we chose zinc countertops and a French sweep hood to provide a more formal feel, as well as giving it a slightly more patina-ed feel to match the rest of the home. For the cabinetry we matched the moldings to the existing moldings throughout the home.
The dining room table, whose top is made of a single piece of French oak, is finished with a grey wash. This allows it to work seamlessly with the zinc countertops in the adjacent kitchen. The cabinets on either side of the fireplace provide ample storage to augment that in the kitchen. The cabinets were custom made, with the cornices created by removing the frontise piece from the fireplace, and creating a mold from which to create 8 plaster casts to create the cornices themselves.
By removing the pocket doors between the dining room and the living room, as well as the wall separating the parlor from the entry, we were able to provide an open, connected space. The kitchen communicates directly with the main living space, ensuring that our hosts are able to stay in the mix with their guests, even while they are cooking.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
Pragmatic design choices allowed our clients to achieve their goal--living on the floor they love, in the way they want to live. The space picks up the graceful curves and formal accents of the original Victorian design, but still allows our clients to live in the more connected (and less well-staffed) way we live now.