German Heritage Kitchen
When the homeowners’ moved to this unique house, they knew they wanted to have a more functional kitchen with better flow. But they wanted to do so in a way that would preserve and honor the German heritage made so prevalent by the original owners. Massive, intricately carved beams and detailed stained glass windows were architectural elements that were too valuable to lose.
One of the biggest challenges was to retain the carved beams while eliminating the soffit to permit the use full-height wall cabinetry. Since the beams originally died into the soffit, pieces had to be fitted and stained to match to bridge the gap between beam and wall once the soffit was removed. The central structural beam and post separating the kitchen proper from the breakfast area was retained, as well as all the beams that converge from the rounded breakfast area. However, three decorative beams that crossed into the former bar area were removed so that the area could be repurposed as a part of the kitchen.
Another challenge to address was the curved wall of the breakfast area. The kitchen extends a bit on the curved wall, so we set the cabinets on a slight angle to extend the usable countertop area. Open shelves were planned symmetrically on each side of the stained glass window, which had to be scribed to fit the curved wall.
One of the homeowner’s requests was a recessed niche behind the range as a focal point. However, this presented a challenge because existing plumbing prevented cutting into the wall behind the range. In order to give her the niche without an expensive plumbing re-rout, we bumped out the range using angled pull-outs so that the wall behind could be built out to accommodate a niche.
A mixture of light and dark cabinetry maximizes natural light, while integrating the dark, carved beams into the space. The island was redesigned to maintain more working space, and reoriented to create a delineation from the breakfast room. A lowered island for seating replaces a former peninsula with bar seating and creates better traffic flow to adjoining areas. The resulting kitchen embraces unique German architectural elements, while providing an efficient work area and convenient traffic patterns.
Alise O'Brien Photography