After 100 years, a Roanoke home gets back to its Arts and Crafts roots.
Story by Andrea Darr | Photography by Matt Kocourek
Families just don’t live in homes the way they used to, with kitchens cut off from the rest of the house. Moreover, this 1906 Colonial Revival had a 1970s update that wasn’t doing it any functional favors, so the homeowners contacted Architectural Craftsmen, who gets referrals in the Roanoke neighborhood often for their work in historic homes.
Business owner Mary Thompson says the homeowners’ wish list included a bigger and better kitchen, with casual dining and a look reminiscent of the era in which the house was built.
The original kitchen was much smaller, with a large, separated living room in front of it. The dining room was on the other side of the house from the kitchen. “There was no comfortable place to stand where you weren’t in the way,” Thompson recalls.
By moving a non-load-bearing wall between the original living room and kitchen, Thompson solved the issue of space and connectivity. She enlarged the kitchen, brought the dining table to the front room, moved the living room to the former dining room and improved the flow among all of them with new entries. In fact, one of the highlights of the project is a beveled glass pocket door that separates the kitchen and dining room.
One tricky issue for the team was how to install cabinets around windows that dipped below counter height. Simply installing new, shorter windows would have required a visit with the review board of this historical neighborhood because it would alter the exterior. “That became a big thing we didn’t want to deal with,” Thompson says.
So they decided to go straight across, butting the counters to the wall seamlessly, finishing the back sides and window ledges, and in the process, making a nice surface to grow herbs or display flowers. An induction cook top with pop-up hood is centered between the windows, almost concealed by the surrounding soapstone countertops. Large-scale art hangs above.
The homeowners were adamant about not wanting upper cabinets, in order to keep the room feeling light and open, yet storage still abounds. The opposite side of the room features hutch-style cabinetry for storing serving pieces (and houses a drop zone for keys and charging station), while an island doubles as a super functional daily work station and place to eat or hang out while watching TV.
The result is a room that looks not like a kitchen but rather another furnished room of the house.
“That was exactly what she wanted — the kitchen to blend with their Stickley furnishings,” Thompson says.
To integrate the new connected spaces, they patched in quarter-sawn oak flooring where they had removed the dividing wall, and used that defining material to build all the cabinetry as well. “That was typical of the main floor in better houses,” Thompson notes.
Thompson incorporated a starburst detail seen on the front of the house into a few of the cabinets. “We like to reflect the original architecture,” she says.
The homeowner sourced hammered brass replica hardware that gives it a true Arts and Crafts flair.
Another of the homeowners’ wishes was to create access to the outdoors. Thompson changed out windows to patio doors in the old butler’s pantry, adding floor to ceiling storage on one side and a wet bar — including a sink, ice maker, fridge and wine cooler — on the other. “It was a lot to fit in 62 inches, but we did it!” Thompson says.
Working in older homes often serves up a surprise or challenge during renovation, and this one was no different: Once the space was down to its studs, the team spotted sagging joists from a leaky bathroom above. They had to sister the joists to strengthen the support and smooth the ceiling.
These alterations improved every aspect of the owners’ lifestyle, from slow mornings at the island counter to participating in the neighborhood’s monthly progressive dinner parties. Now it’s truly a place to live and entertain. “This space really had a beautiful transformation,” Thompson says.
Kitchen Company: Architectural Craftsmen
Cabinets: Profile Cabinets
Plumbing fixtures: Ferguson Enterprises
Countertops & Backsplash: Carthage Stoneworks
Appliances: Factory Direct Appliance