Small traditional kitchen in character row house with period detailing, farmhouse sink

Row house galley kitchen with traditional cabinetry, subway tiles, white granite countertops, plank-like porcelain floor tiles, open shelving

A peninsula forms the centerpiece of this remodeled cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, home, interior design, kitchen, room, white, gray
A peninsula forms the centerpiece of this remodeled kitchen in a 19th century row house. The dropped ceiling conceals ductwork the slightly different color helps to define the work area.

Row houses built before the Civil War have a character to match their history, but this doesn't always extend to the kitchens.

The existing kitchen in this house in Capitol Hill, Washington DC had been built in the 1980s, in a rear addition. But architect Bruce Wentworth of Wentworth, Inc, hired to design and construct the remodeling for a new owner, says it made poor use of the space, and was not of good quality.

"The owner, a single professional, loves to cook, and wanted a kitchen much better suited to her requirements," he says.

Gray tiles on the backsplash complement the white countertop, cuisine classique, home, interior design, kitchen, room, white
Gray tiles on the backsplash complement the white cabinetry.

As with many row houses, space was limited, but the architect was able to enlarge the kitchen by acquiring some space from a former utility room.

"This meant we could provide a long galley kitchen with a large peninsula that is a social space where guests can stand or sit and chat with their host. It also created a more spacious area for the table beside the window. And it kept the working part of the kitchen away from the main circulation axis through the house from the front to the back door in the kitchen."

However, the design was not without its challenges. The ceiling over the kitchen needed to be lowered 4 inches to accommodate ductwork. Wentworth used the dropped ceiling to define the work space, painting it a slightly darker shade to reinforce this point of difference.

A small work triangle provides a highly efficient cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, gas stove, home, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, kitchen appliance, kitchen stove, major appliance, microwave oven, refrigerator, room, white, black
A small work triangle provides a highly efficient kitchen. Appliances include a microwave in a drawer, next to the refrigerator. The color of the stainless steel is echoed by the mid-gray tones of the traditional subway tile backsplash.

In keeping with the owner's desire for a warm and cozy kitchen that would complement the traditional character of the home, simple painted cabinetry with flat, recessed panel doors was specified. A beadboard wainscot around the table space and on one side of the peninsula provides further period detailing.

"The kitchen also features a 9ft-long floor-to-ceiling wall of shallow shelving toward the back of the galley," Wentworth says. "I call this grab-and-go storage."

White granite countertops are teamed with traditional gray subway tiles on the backsplash. These also complement the off-white cabinets. The harmonious palette is further enhanced by a rustic plank-like porcelain floor tile that is easy to maintain and well suited to the concrete slab floor.

Credit list

Bruce Wentworth AIA, Wentworth, Inc
Brockton in painted maple wood
White Macaubus granite
Flooring tiles
Provenza Lignes from
Pfister in brushed nickel; Ashfield pullout
Cabinet company
Woodharbor Custom Cabinetry
Field tile in Shadow from Waterworks
Rohl Shaws Original
Zephyr Breeze II

Story by: Trendsideas

01 Oct, 2014

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