Before and After Kitchen: A Farmhouse Refresh

Two-over-two double-hung Windows and Shaker-style Cabinets are period appropriate. They can be paired with a simple island, a range of pro-style quartz countertops, and a straightforward island. Contractor: Ramsey Creek. Custom cabinets, islands and range hoods: Brighton Cabinetry. Windows: Marvin.

Even if you love an old house, even if it’s been in your family for generations, that doesn’t mean you should live in the past. Ask Kaleb Wyse, who has a family that grows corn and soybeans on their land in Mount Pleasant, IA. They have been farming the land for four generations. Kaleb bought his grandparents’ home, an American Foursquare circa 1890, over ten years ago and was now ready to tackle the kitchen renovation. Kaleb’s challenge was to find a way to combine the room’s “farmhouse spirit” with a functional workspace that suits his cooking, entertaining, and blogging (the Wyse Guide website for food and gardening is his creation). Kaleb, who designed the space and was also general contractor, says that it was dark and closed-off. I wanted to recreate the farmhouse feeling, but with more open space and functionality.

The flow was greatly improved by widening the passageway connecting the kitchen and dining area. Annexed hallway and half of the mudroom to it created space for a dedicated baking zone. Shiplap walls and Shaker-style painted cabinetry have a timeless appearance. Practical touches such as pantry cabinets with pocketsing doors and pantry cabinets add convenience. Kaleb says that his grandparents were amazed by how big it all looks. His mom lives across the street and loves the light, airy feel. She wants me to design her next kitchen. He says that even though he spent months working in a team to complete the project, he would not change one thing. “Every time that I come in here, I smile.”

Left: The kitchen feels brighter thanks to open shelving and 9-foot ceilings. The range is now mounted on the fridge wall. A mantel-style vent fan covers it. It has a shelf that Kaleb uses to display his cutting boards and wire racks. Quartz countertops: Aurea stone; Faucet & pot filler: DeVOL; Lighting : Hudson Valley Lighting

Right: Kaleb says, “I hate wasted space!” He built in hidden storage to keep spices jars and cooking oil within reach. He considers the pot filler a luxurious, but he uses it for canning. Paxton Hardware LTD. Gallery rail (on rangehood)

Left: Kaleb chose to forgo the traditional apron sink. “I wanted utility so a deep stainless steel sink just made sense.” This sink has integrated accessories like drain inserts and cutting-boards that can be used as workstation functions. The high-arc faucet can accommodate tall stockpots. Sink: Kohler

Right: Tall pocketing pantry door are “the best” because they offer both a clean appearance when closed and open shelving that is easy to access when recessed. He suggests that friends and family help themselves when they visit; the flatware drawer is located underneath. Hardware: House of Antique Hardware

Kaleb designed a baking center to increase prep space in the annexed area. He placed a dedicated island next to a wall oven, and also created a pantry cabinet that houses a stand mixer, and other supplies. Quartz top on the island acts as marble and provides a cold surface to roll out dough. The lower shelf has more quartz, which can be used for cooling racks. Paint (cabinets); Wool Skein, Sherwin Williams; Refrigerator and wall oven, range, microwave, and range: Sub-Zero/Wolf

Left: The garage door remained, but two large windows now look out onto the back patio. Before that, there was a sliding glass door. The quartz is used as a topcoat on the baking island, and also on the lower shelf where Kaleb cools his baked goods.

Right: Kaleb had a large expanse of shiplap-covered walls to fill so he came up with the idea to install two unlacquered brass bars with S-hooks in order to display his copper-coated cookware. He says that he uses the pots but they add a glow to his space when the sun shines in. BlueLinx Shiplap

Get the look

Modern function is combined with farmhouse simplicity to create a kitchen that’s as functional as it is beautiful.

Left: Bridge faucet/DEVOL “This timeless design could easily have been in use 100 years ago,” Kaleb states. Kaleb says that the unlacquered brass is already beginning to patina which I love. Aged Brass Ionian Tap, $1.080; DEVOL

Right: Metal pendant / HUDSON VALLEY LIGHTINGBrass-accented industrial lights tie the look together, and “painted metal shades are easier to clean than fabric–important in a kitchen.” Painted No. 2 Pendant, $650; Hudson Valley Lighting

Left: Workstation sink/KOHLERAt 11″ deep, this stainless steel basin can hold a whole party’s worth dirty dishes. Kaleb makes great use of the drain-rack, cutting-board, colander and washbin inserts. Prolific Sink, $1,537; Kohler

Right: Barstools / McGEE & CO.Kaleb loves mixing antiques with new pieces to “quietly upgrade” a space. Williamsen Counter Stool, $275 McGee & Co.

Floor Plans

The kitchen’s traffic flow was improved by combining spaces and widening connections. Large, cased openings keep the period feel.

  1. To annex a hallway, and a part of a corridor, we removed most of the wall. This added space is 98 square feet.
  2. The island is located in the original kitchen, with stool seating and drawers for cookware and a trash can on the one side.
  3. Two small windows were replaced with three larger ones. A new sink was placed below them and a dishwasher was added to the left.
  4. The range was moved and a doorway closed. A built-in refrigerator with panels was added in its place.
  5. The cased opening between kitchen and dining room was widened by 7 feet.
  6. In the annexed space, created a baking center with an island, stacked microwave, wall ovens and a pantry. A French door was added to the new mudroom, replacing a sliding glass door with windows.

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