July 2, 2015
Redesigning a historic home has its tradeoffs. For designer Christie Board of Prescott, Ariz.-based Board by Board Inc., one 19th-century home offered two challenges: keeping the home’s character and also overcoming the problems of a century-old building.
“Originally the things that were put into it were nice, but they were now just old,” said Board, explaining that the first settlers of Prescott, Ariz., built the home. “I think the biggest thing was that not a lot had been done to the home for many years,” she added. “That’s just part of working with any older home.”
Connecting the Layout
The living room, kitchen and back porch of this 1,200-sq.-ft. home were housed in three separate rooms, as was typical for the time. For these homeowners, the hope was that the new design would allow them to live more socially and connect better as a family.
“We wanted to create a space that gave them openness, sunlight and the ability to entertain and still keep the spirit and age of the house,” said Board. “They wanted it to feel current and they wanted it to age well, but they also wanted it to feel that it was architecturally appropriate to the house.”
Opening up the layout revealed a number of issues the design team expected to find in such an old home. The foundation, which was settled and crooked, needed shoring, and the plumbing and electrical required intrusive work.
The three rooms became one long great room, with the kitchen at the front of the home. Much of the original woodworking around the windows and doors was kept, as well as a brick wall in the kitchen.
Saving the Character
While the new layout allowed for the open feel the homeowner’s wanted, the square footage itself remained the same. For this small space, the owners requested several new appliances plus two appliances garages because of food allergies. Housing all those appliances is traditional white Shaker cabinetry.
“It’s classic, it’s been in style forever, and it’s historically correct to a vintage home,” said Board, also pointing out the beadboard details on the peninsula. “On the other hand, the Shaker door is still in right now. I thought it was a good way to stay current but still remain correct to the architectural design of the house.”
One set of cabinets stands apart with glass and beadboard doors in a shade of green. This piece, detailed with faux aging, mimics furniture.
“That would have been correct to the house, in that the original owners would have had freestanding pieces at the time,” said Board. “It gives the kitchen that feeling of a little bit of something different.”
Three wooden shelves, held by steel brackets, add another unique feature. Made at a local shop, the wood is reclaimed and continues the vintage feel of the room.
Board also chose the countertops and backsplash for their vintage feel but contemporary style. The porcelain subway tile backsplash has a pillow effect for an aged appeal, and the countertops – a honed, leathered granite – are more on the traditional side because of their lack of shine.
“The countertops gave that vintage touch, but yet it’s still current because the honed surfaces are gaining popularity,” explained Board, adding that the exposed brick chimney gives the room contrasting texture. “The countertop surface plus the wooden shelves and the older floor create interest in the room.”
As for the pendants over the peninsula, Board explained that their origination began with the glass in the taupe cabinets, which was meant to have chicken wire embedded in it. The glass piece, a 1930s-dated item donated from a local, was broken in the process, and the pendants with corresponding wiring had already been ordered.
“We were not going to buy a piece of chicken wire glass, but these pendants turned out charming anyway,” she said.
All the charm of the vintage additions blends with the essentials of a contemporary kitchen, including an induction cooktop, contemporary range hood, convection oven and a speed oven. A pot filler with an antique shape gives the kitchen a final touch of modern cooking with an older feel.
“For me, I think design is about beauty and longevity,” said Board. “The design industry has created style trends that cause us to be tired of our stuff every seven to eight years. Some clients love to change up their homes frequently but many don’t. I think this kitchen is going to look good for a long time, and I’m really happy about that.”
Designer: Christie Board, Board by Board Inc.
Photographer: Lauren Schleifer, Bella Vita Photography
Cabinetry: Modified Shaker Door
Cooktop: GE Profile Induction Countertops: Fantasy Brown Honed/Leathered Stone
Faucet: Danze Opulence
Pendant: Grandin Road Wire Mesh
Potfiller: Danze Opulence
Sink: Baldwin Fireclay
Speed Oven: GE Profile Advantium
Tile: H-Line Subway in Pumice