Showhouse Finds Inspiration in Historical Surroundings

Old Westbury, NY — Set against a rich historical backdrop, the Orchard Hill Designer Showhouse was recently turned into a modern-day showcase of design talent.

Located here on the grounds of Old Westbury Gardens – a site listed on the National Register of Historic Places – the showhouse features the work of 25 design professionals, all of whom were asked to intepret different areas of the home, including the kitchen and butler’s pantry, while retaining the flavor of the home’s original design.

Ultimately, the combination kitchen and pantry will serve Old Westbury Gardens as a place to hold dinners, cocktail parties, receptions, luncheons and other formal occasions.

History in the Making

The kitchen and butler’s pantry comprise approximately 250 square feet of space in the historic mansion. Kitchen designer Regina Kraft of Cold Spring Harbor, NY-based Regina Kraft Interiors explains how important it was to create a sympathetic renovation of the space while producing a functional kitchen.

“My goal was to create a kitchen and butler’s pantry that reflected the historic nature of the home while updating and restoring the rooms,” she relates.

The kitchen’s layout, which had been largely untouched since its original planning and construction at the turn of the last century, was reconfigured by Kraft, who blended elements of the older kitchen with modern appliances and an eclectic style.

Room to Work

The cabinets run approximately 18' throughout both rooms, in an L-shaped configuration that allowed the designer ample room to work with and include updated appliances.

Lee Construction custom built the lower cabinets to complement the style of the existing upper glass-front cabinets. A large pantry closet off the kitchen offers additional storage.

Instead of fabricating an island for the kitchen, Kraft added casters to a large work table, creating a flexible work area. A small work table, capped with tile trim, is positioned near the kitchen window.

Honed Absolute Black granite tops both the lower cabinets and large work table, helping to blend the designs of old and new. Kraft also salvaged a cabinet from the breakfast room, complete with an original oak countertop. It now resides in the kitchen, and provides yet another storage/work space.

Kraft explains that the stainless steel appliances – donated by Electrolux – significantly added to the aesthetic of the space.
“The Electrolux appliances add a streamlined and professional look to the kitchen that complements the traditional elements of the space with a nod toward the present,” she says.

Placed in the center of the kitchen, the Pro Series 48" range sits beneath the original Richardson & Boynton Co. steel hood. The cappuccino maker, built into the wall above the salvaged cabinet, is adjacent to the range, while a Pro Series side-by-side refrigerator and freezer are across from it. Nearby, a dishwasher sits next to the double-bowl sink – a built-in convection microwave situated above it.

Appliances in the butler’s pantry include a 48-bottle wine cooler from Electrolux’s Designer Series, as well as an icemaker, a second dishwasher and a warming drawer.

Patchwork Project

The flooring in both rooms took on a special importance. Sheet vinyl covered the original cork butler’s pantry floors some years ago, according to the designer. So, to recreate the original feel and add a sense of historical continuity, cork floors were used to rebuild the flooring in the area.

Checkerboard black and white Marmoleum tile adds a splashy style and a functional design for the kitchen’s flooring.

The hearth, previously a cement slab, was retiled with 4"x4" handmade Seneca tile in cobalt blue. This pulls various elements of the two rooms together, such as the small work table and butler’s pantry windowsill treatment in the same tile.

Cream-colored brick tile in 3"x8" is used in both the kitchen and the butler’s pantry as part of an elegant, understated backsplash.

Visual Comforts industrial pendant lighting was used to illuminate the entire space. The lights can be angled and moved to direct the light to any specific area in the working kitchen.

For more about this project, click here.