Restoration was the goal for most of this 1909 Portland house. But
when it came to the kitchen, owners Linore and Larry Allison wanted to
expand the space and incorporate contemporary conveniences without
insulting their house’s period ambience. “We didn’t want
a stage set cluttered with fake-antique gimcracks,” they explained.
“So we took a good look at the straightforward use of materials in
the rest of the house and applied what we learned to 1980s kitchen
Remodeled by Benchmark Design, the kitchen with its adjoining
breakfast room now covers a generous 230 square feet. A wall between
the original kitchen and a small pantry came out, while all other walls
were stripped to their studs for new wiring and plumbing. Gypsum board
replaced plaster and lath. A bay was pushed out for a small dining
space. Along the back wall, seven tall, small-paned windows opened the
view to the rear garden. Eastern maple, finished with polyurethane, was
used liberally–as flooring and cabinet trim–for durability and for its
period look. On the lower cabinet doors, grooved paneling, like that
found in the original kitchen as wainscoting, also reflects the past.
Tall baseboards, used throughout the rest of the house, have been
welcomed into the new kitchen: they now accommodate registers for the
forced-air heating system, and here and there conceal hidden drawers
that pull out on full-extension glides.
Counters are topped with 2-inch square ceramic tiles, except for a
28- by 32-inch marble slab recycled from a bank and used for pastry
rolling and candy making. Details such as the suspended glass-shaded
light fixtures and the maple-framed panels around the face of the range
hood also recall earlier decades, without looking like period cosmetics.