TURLOCK, CA— Ask Jim Madsen, and he will probably agree that everything old is new again. How else to explain this 20'-6"Wx15'-2"D Colonial-style new construction that he – along with Sid Nightengale Construction in Atwater, CA – designed to replicate Thomas Jefferson’s “Monticello”?
Madsen, owner of Design Classics, based here, explains: “The family had traveled to Colonial Williamsburg, VA on vacation several years ago, fell in love with the architecture and decided to bring it home with them. We incorporated as many Colonial design elements as possible while still creating a practical space with all of the modern conveniences.”
He continues: “Since the family loves to entertain, it was important to design a home with rooms large enough to accommodate everyone comfortably. The kitchen was designed so that multiple cooks could work at one time.”
To that end, there is a 48" aisle between the primary sink and cooktop for multiple cooks to work back to back. Meanwhile, a 60" aisle between the island counter and wall offers room behind the eating bar.
“I placed peninsulas on either end of the kitchen, since adding walls would have closed in the space,” he says. “The large island in the center seats four and is the primary work surface.”
But, capturing every detail needed to make the design authentic also created some unique design constraints, he points out.
“Most flooring in the late 1700’s [in this area] was pine. We compromised and chose slate with a multi-sized pattern for the high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, family and mud rooms, and Carlisle wide-plank heart pine flooring for the lower traffic, more formal areas,” he offers.
However, one element that Madsen was able to accurately duplicate was the custom copper hood from Rangecraft, which he cites as the true centerpiece of this historical-themed design.
He continues: “With four children under the age of 12, the clients wanted a large kitchen with all the modern amenities.
However, homes in the 1700’s didn’t have ‘kitchens’ as we know them. So, we tried to conceal the modern appliances and provide a period-style focal point. That piece turned out to be the custom copper hood, which looks like it was forged by the village blacksmith.”
“I researched it, designed it and worked closely with Rangecraft to manufacture it,” he explains.
“I researched the hand-forged, copper items of the period. [The resulting hood almost gave the feeling that, if Thomas Jefferson had modern ventilation in his kitchen, this is what it would have looked like,” he adds.
Madsen also points out that the hand-made backsplash tile from Ann Sacks is purposefully plain so that it doesn’t draw attention from the copper hood, yet it adds a soft complement and an authentic feel to the design.
And, with the hood as the focal point, the lighting used was much more subtle as well. Recessed can lights are the primary lighting for the room, while large windows in the kitchen and breakfast nook offer an ample supply of natural light.
Madsen used a combination of custom cherry cabinetry with dentil crown molding and rope accents, along with CaesarStone counters to replicate the Colonial design theme.
“The custom moldings tie everything together,” he says. “The dentil crown molding on the cabinetry is repeated in the larger dentil crown molding at the ceiling. Furthermore, the cherry rope molding accents the upper cabinets, while hand-carved cherry corbels and cabinet feet accents from Enkeboll Designs in the island.”
He continues: “The recessed panel millwork at each passage, the custom baseboards, door and window trim, wainscoting and other custom finish work further add the detailed craftsmanship that Monticello is known for.”
In keeping with the style, the cabinets are finished with polished brass hardware from Top Knobs.
To make the design even more authentic, Madsen incorporated “German antique” glass in the upper display cabinets to provide a wavy, antique glass look, as well as a traditional, colonial arched window placed over the sink. The window over the sink echoes the larger arched windows in the family and living rooms. This design element is repeated in the barrel-vaulted entry passage under the staircase.
Undercabinet fluorescent lighting – hidden behind a decorative, below-cabinet crown molding apron – supplies lighting for tasks at the counter, while low- voltage “puck” lights are seen in the display cabinets on top.
It was also imperative that the design offer the utmost in functionality, so all of the cabinetry drawers feature heavy-duty, full-extension glides. They also include a variety of storage possibilities such as pull-out trays, a Lazy Susan, a pop-up mixer stand for the KitchenAid mixer, and a pull-out pantry next to the cooktop for oils and sauces. Other features include spice inserts, a pull-out hand towel and a pull-out butcher block.
Madsen notes that it was critical that the kitchen offer enough storage capabilities for everyday cooking and entertaining purposes.
Therefore, the dishes and glasses are stored in deep drawers on the peninsula island nearest the dining table so that the children can reach them, while the upper cabinets feature a depth of 14" so that the homeowner can store larger platters.
Conversely, both peninsulas on either end of the kitchen provide a landing space for food going to the dining table on one end and a “perching” spot for guests in the family room on the other end.
Meanwhile, an appliance garage next to the refrigerator provides convenient storage for the coffeemaker, toaster, blender and other small appliances, while the walk-in pantry has floor-to-ceiling shelves and an “auto-on” light for hands-free use and energy savings.
“Since there is a home office nearby, I added a phone niche rather than a sit-down desk area,” he notes.
He concludes that the client’s formal china collection, crystal and serving pieces are all stored in the butler’s pantry, while table linens and other large serving platters are stored on the pull-out trays below for easy access as well.
Old and New
According to Madsen, the resulting layout of the kitchen offers a perfect marriage of Colonial styling and high-end convenience. Focusing on the latter, the room includes appliances from Dacor, GE and KitchenAid, among others.
“This high-functioning, low-maintenance kitchen has a convenient work triangle. For example, the 48" GE refrigerator is placed near the breakfast nook so that the kids can easily get juice or milk without disturbing the cook in the center,” he explains. “The refrigerator is also balanced by the Dacor ovens and warming drawer at the opposite end of the space.”
Furthermore, the primary sink is placed in the center, opposite a large island that includes a 46" six-burner gas cooktop from Dacor, small prep sink, icemaker and the eating bar.
Other appliances selected for the design are a Dacor 30" Epicure oven; Dacor microwave/convection oven combo; Dacor warming drawer; GE dishwasher, trash compactor and ice maker. A hot water unit from Everhot and Opulence by Danze faucetry – which serves as the primary faucet for the sink and island – complete the space.
For more about this project, click here.