1st Place Winner
Feinmann, Inc., Arlington, Mass.
Someone’s in the Kitchen, Princeton, Ill.
Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Davitt Design Build, West Kingston, R.I.
This late 1800 Second Empire Victorian home is quite attractive from the outside, but the kitchen area did not reflect its old world charm. Years of ad hoc shelving, misguided painting and inefficient use of space were the major problems. The small windows and an inadequate amount of lighting, though not unusual for a home of this age, did not help matters.
Feinmann, Inc. was presented with a multitude of challenges including designing a kitchen around already-chosen, high-style Italian cabinetry, a Cordon-Bleu chef’s needs and linking the outdoor garden to the kitchen itself.
“We essentially renovated and extended the house to the rear, recreating a slightly extended mudroom,” says Feinmann. The link to the garden is established by a high indoor-outdoor space along the north end of the kitchen with skylights at close intervals along the roof of the extension, creating what came to be known as “Skylight Lane” — it ends at an 8-ft. high, framed glass door that opens onto the garden path. The wall running along Skylight Lane features a large six-shelf built-in bookcase that is tall enough to accommodate a full-size cookbook.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the addition itself is the window wall. The idea behind the design was to allow the new kitchen element to “peek out” of its Victorian surroundings. The glass wall is composed of fixed and operable awning windows whose large-sized and elongated horizontal panes complement the horizontal lines of the kitchen components.
A primary interior element is a “floating” horizontal ceiling plane that centers and anchors the kitchen islands (counters, range and sinks) in the large space. The low ceiling provides excellent lighting for the work surfaces and also lets the high, sloped ceilings of the Victorian above to reconcile with the new kitchen.
For the addition’s interior, slate-like tiles were used to give the kitchen a modern, yet old world feel. The expansive counter space is in the form of two large islands, which also house a natural gas countertop stove, two sinks, electrical outlets and additional drawer and cupboard space.
With this successful renovation, Feinmann, Inc. was able to meet and solve each of its challenges. The kitchen is worthy of any chef’s house with plenty of counter and cooking space, and ample lighting from fixtures and windows.