On New Year’s Day I got an inquiry for a kitchen renovation in East Nashville and I instantly had a good feeling about it. Maybe it was the good luck meal we had with family that day or maybe it was the client’s sweet email; either way I knew it was going to be a good one.
Our initial meeting was great and I learned that the main jumping off point for her and her husband was this gorgeous kitchen that I loved. One of the reasons they hired me was because I incorporate modern and handmade elements into timeless design. They wanted their historic Tudor-style home to have a mix of both.
One of my favorite characteristics of Tudor houses are the arches and curves that are usually featured in multiple places throughout the home. In this case, their front door is arched, and they mentioned wanting to bring that feeling into the kitchen. We ended up nixing a new arched entry but I used this as a basis for a lot of my decisions. You’ll notice subtle curves in a lot of the design elements.
I spent time with the floor plan to create a new layout for their kitchen that eliminated an awkward peninsula with less than two feet of clearance to the pantry (crazy!). I wanted to push back a wall to open up the space and create a row of full height pantry cabinets to maximize storage. The clients were on board and we moved ahead with that plan.
After some convincing of the husband (all good-natured!), they went for the striking black and white floor pattern. Demo and framing was finished and then it was time for tile. Installation happened so fast and in one day the space was transformed; I knew everything else was going to be amazing on top of that gorgeous graphic floor. And thankfully the clients loved it!
In the early stages of our planning, I had designed a custom island for them, meant to look old but have new convenient features like large drawers and storage. I got some quotes but the clients and I all searched one night for anything vintage that might meet their needs. We ended up finding and loving the same ones, so I measured and confirmed the one we should get. You’ll see in the photos that it has beautiful old brass drawer pulls and turned legs.
The final major element of the kitchen was the marble backsplash. We had a few challenges to contend with—mainly the really uneven old plaster walls, and the height changes between the upper cabinets and the window casings. Rather than have a straight across marble backsplash under the hood, I knew I wanted to incorporate curves into the design (along with the beautiful curved oak banding on the range hood). I ended up mimicking this curve to the right of the sink, to account for the height change from the uppers to the bottom of the window casing. It’s a subtle feature but it’s one that allowed us to have a full height splash that felt natural from any vantage point. And my amazing contractor solved all of our old plaster wall issues so it installed perfectly!
Once it was all finished, the clients said they felt like they were on vacation every time they were in their kitchen. I love that we created a fresh and open space, with modern and graphic elements that still feel classic and timeless in their historic home.
Photographs by Joseph Bradshaw