As a kitchen designer, my first inclination is to design a kitchen that feels like it belongs. In most cases, it reflects the time period or history of the existing house; and sometimes the house predates a standard kitchen and some invention is necessary as long as it makes sense to the home's architectural evolution.
But what about a house that would not traditionally have a kitchen?
This former one-room country schoolhouse was equipped with a plain, 35-year-old kitchen; pushed into one corner of the open space it looked out of place. It seemed the most natural solution would be to utilize the entire back wall of the room using unfitted, furniture style cabinets. We wanted the pieces to have the appearance of being collected over time and assembled as a functional kitchen.
To accommodate a cooker and chimney in the middle of the back wall, the existing door was replaced with two flanking doors to mimic the two exterior entrances and create a nice symmetry. Cabinets on either side of the cooker, painted to match the backsplash tile, are topped with butcher block and contain cooking and baking dishes.
As a fan of designer Roger Shollmier's workstation theory (he also invented this amazing Galley Sink but that is another story) this reclaimed wood, work island is situated galley-style with a sink directly across from the cooker. The counter and cabinets have designated equipment for each workstation. A prep area and baking area flank the cooker while the marble topped island is ready with clean up and service areas. The refrigerator and pantry are hidden within a fumed, rift white oak, tall cabinet to the left of the island. While the painted hutch to the right is storage for dishes and serving vessels. It is also close to the dining table for easy service and clean up.
Although an eclectic space, we kept it visually clean by predominantly using the same white paint and matching the flemish patterned backsplash tile and found cast iron sink to it. The unfitted style also means that the space can easily be adapted and expanded if necessary. With a classic style and natural materials that will age well, this schoolhouse kitchen gets an A+ for longevity.
Catherine Cassidy is a Designer with Build, a construction firm in Stratford, Ontario, specializing in new custom homes and renovations.
I am a licensed carpenter,