Renovating a Century-Old Kitchen

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An updated kitchen finds a sense of belonging in this historic West Plaza home

Story by Ann Butenas     |     Photography by Matthew Anderson

Built in the 1920s, this West Plaza home oozes character and charm. However, the homeowner wanted an updated kitchen that was comfortable for him to use when he was by himself yet big enough and functional enough to enjoy when entertaining guests. Bringing the kitchen into the 21st century without sacrificing its original character became the goal of this renovation for designer Shelby Puetz, owner of Well Appointed Kitchens, Baths & Designs, LLC.

“This intimate kitchen was formerly closed off, which was normal for the era in which it was built,” noted Puetz, who worked on this project while at Regarding Kitchens before establishing her own design firm. “When the owner approached us to give the kitchen a facelift, our main goal was to preserve the historical moldings and style and not put in a kitchen that didn’t fit with that style. We wanted it to look like it was constructed at the same time as the rest of the home.”

More than just a matter of incorporating updated appliances and a fresh coat of paint, Puetz had a bigger project on her hands. A wall had dissected the dining room from the kitchen, preventing the natural light from the kitchen to flow into the eating area, which had previously been a much darker space.

Puetz then went to work infusing efficiency into every aspect of the kitchen.

“Every corner of the kitchen, including the base cabinets, is all usable,” she expressed. “Every part has some type of organizational system. It was all very precisely done to make sure it gets its full use. As a result, the homeowner has more room and less clutter.”

Puetz relied on the energy of a calming color palette that easily co-exists with the charm of the home, incorporating fog-colored backsplash, creamy white painted maple cabinetry and unique exotic granite countertops.

Puetz also integrated touches of the past to preserve the historical integrity of the home. For example, the hanging light fixtures are replicas of fixtures from a 1920s schoolhouse. The black faucet and black accent hardware throughout allow the kitchen to stay true to its original style, offering a craftsman feel to the space.

When redesigning the highly-organized pantry area, Puetz also created a nook with pocket doors atop the adjacent counter. When certain smaller appliances are not being used, such as an espresso machine and the microwave (which was formerly situated above the range), they can be hidden from view, offering a nice and clean atmosphere. In the former design, all of the shelves were opened, creating a sense of clutter. 

Even the flooring was not immune from the renovation parameters.

“The former slate floor, which was chipping, had been placed over a concrete base,” said Puetz, who had to completely tear it up and remove it. In its place she put hardwood flooring which was seamlessly matched with the existing hardwood flooring in the dining room.

“This kitchen functions now and fits the rest of the home, especially for the owner’s lifestyle,” noted Puetz. “This is one of my favorite designs, mainly because of the details. It’s a nice, intimate and historical piece.”

Ensuring the client gets the best in service, Puetz endeavors to understand how the client intends to use the space and what is important to them in terms of design and style elements.

“I do what the customer wants,” she emphasized. “It is a privilege for me to provide these designs to make their home more personalized. Not only do I love making people’s homes theirs, I also enjoy providing the cohesiveness throughout the home to ensure it fits with the remaining design of the home and that it fits with their lifestyle.”


  • Kitchen Design:  Well Appointed Designs / Regarding Kitchens
  • Contractor:  Regarding Kitchens
  • Countertops:  AG&M / Bedrock International
  • Plumbing and Lighting:  Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
  • Hardware:  Locks and Pulls
  • Tile:  Virginia Tile
  • Cabinetry:  Smithport
  • Flooring:  SVB Hardwood Floors 

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