The best rooms function simultaneously in plan, composition, and detail, and the Arts and Crafts Kitchen shines in all three.
Replacing a 1980s remodel that offered plenty of square footage but little else, the kitchen efficiently supports both cooking and entertaining, promotes friction-free circulation to the adjacent dining and family rooms, and respectfully updates the house’s original Arts & Crafts–era design.
As architects Christine Albertsson, AIA, and Todd Hansen, AIA, found it, “the actual kitchen was a small area in the middle of a big room,” Hansen says. “There was lots of circulation without much useful space.” The new plan combines the existing cooking and breakfast areas into a clean, simple rectangle. “The owners wanted to be able to seat 10 in the kitchen, and we accomplished that with two islands,” Hansen says. “The smaller one also serves as a bar during parties, which keeps the working end of the kitchen separate from the hosting end.” A thickened wall houses the built-in refrigerator as well as a station for homework and menu-planning; walk-in pantry storage frees the outside walls for windows.
Reflecting the room’s long horizontal dimension, Hansen says, “the drawers are a little wider than you might expect. We also gave variety to different sub-functions along the way,” treating cooking, china-storage, and cleanup areas as vignettes within the larger scene. To define workspaces, he says, “we made some areas of the countertop come out an inch or so. We tried to make it more articulate.” While the rift-sawn white oak cabinetry echoes work found in the original house (and the crackle-glazed wall tile represents a bit of period-appropriate imagination), black basalt counters and stainless steel hardware, appliances, and lighting fixtures lend a subtle contemporary spark. “The owners wanted it to be sympathetic with the original interior,” Hansen says, “but they also wanted it to feel new.”--Bruce D. Snider