THE CHINABERRY KITCHEN
Old House Journal|October - November 2020
THE CHINABERRY KITCHEN
Strong color unifies a revival kitchen in a 1910 Seattle house. A NOT-TOO-BIG HOUSE WITH CURB APPEAL WAS WHAT MARISA MUNOZ WAS LOOKING FOR WHEN SHE CAME UPON THIS ONE ON QUEEN ANNE HILL IN SEATTLE. THE 1910 HOUSE, A TRANSITIONAL FUSION OF LATE-VICTORIAN AND CRAFTSMAN ELEMENTS, HAD JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING SHE WANTED: STEEP GABLES AND PRETTY WINDOWS; ORIGINAL MOULDINGS, HARDWOOD FLOORS, AND A ROMANTIC WINDING STAIRCASE. WELL MAINTAINED, THE HOUSE GENERALLY WAS IN MOVE-IN CONDITION . . . EXCEPT FOR THE KITCHEN.
BRIAN D. COLEMAN

Remodeled by the previous owners, the claustrophobic room was fitted with cheap brown cabinets, very shiny black granite counters, slate flooring, and—incongruously—baby-blue walls. Marisa knew she would want to redo it.

When she contacted Seattle interior designer Sheila Mayden, the two decided to begin with a small, manageable project: creating a brand-new, three-quarters guest bath for the family room on the basement level. All went smoothly, so, the following year, Marisa felt ready to tackle the kitchen. By now homeowner and designer had a great working relationship; Sheila knew that Marisa liked the strong color and lots of detail.

Wisely, Marisa did not want to enlarge the kitchen, as that would have affected the adjacent dining room. Staying within the original footprint would also help preserve the essence of the early-20th-century house.

The space was small, just 12' by 8'9, so planning was a challenge. The main cooking and cleanup area was nearly square, with just three walls: one each for the sink, the range, and the fridge. The pair decided to leave appliances in the same locations but chose state-of-the-art replacements: a 36” ‘Bussy’ range from LaCanche (matte black with brass detailing); a built-in Liebherr refrigerator hidden behind cabinet doors; an apron-front fireclay sink; and a disguised dishwasher. The microwave oven would be tucked into the rear pantry.

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October - November 2020