Real-Life Redo: Farm-Fresh Kitchen
Gather farmhouse-style kitchen inspiration from one Virginia homeowner’s once-ramshackle room turned dreamy kitchen.
Reviving an 1875 Kitchen
Stephanie Dudley’s bright and cheerful kitchen establishes hospitality even before her guests take the first bite. “I love to cook,” she says, “and feeding my family and friends is my way of showing them how much I appreciate them.”
When she bought an 1875 Tidewater farmhouse, situated in Irvington, Virginia, it required so much work that most people would have thrown up their hands in frustration. Known as Goodrest, the house had undergone a century’s worth of wear and tear, and the kitchen was one step away from collapsing.
Along with friend and kitchen designer Karen Turner, Stephanie had carefully followed the Virginia Department of Historic Resources’ guidelines to receive rehabilitation tax credits for her efforts.
Cabinets with Character
Stephanie had new cabinets made with recessed beaded-board panels to reflect the simple, homespun character of the place. Even the refrigerator and dishwasher are disguised with matching panels. Other glass-front cabinets and open shelves allow Stephanie plenty of room to display her collections of antique bowls and dishware. Well-chosen items like heart-pine countertops
Custom cabinets and matching appliance panels: Contemporary Kitchens; conkit.com or 804-758-2001.
Countertops: Butcher-block, also by Contemporary Kitchens.
A butter yellow farm-style sink completes the kitchen’s authentic look.
The nostalgic look of a farm-style sink (also called farmhouse) harkens back to a simpler time when vegetables were freshly picked from the garden and rinsed off in the kitchen. Originally, this hardworking, utilitarian style of sink was intended for tasks that required a deep basin.
Its signature front apron protrudes beyond the countertop and into the space generally reserved for cabinetry. Stephanie’s sink, which is actually wall-mounted (Gilford apron-front in Sunlight by Kohler), also has an integrated backsplash.
Surrounded by large double-hung windows, the breakfast nook continues the same airy feel of the kitchen. Painted a pleasingly light blue, the dining table was handmade by a local craftsman. The playful scalloped detail of the table’s skirt is echoed by the edging of the nearby window shade.
The fixed bench, built to resemble the room’s cabinetry, doubles as storage for oversize pots, pans, and small appliances. Its cheery striped cushions tie together the kitchen’s various springlike colors and invite lingering conversations over coffee. Stephanie added other extras like colorful pottery and a large pendant light to give the breakfast area some distinction while still remaining cohesive with the rest of the kitchen.
An awning window lets in lots of fresh air and light.
Stephanie refurbished all of the windows she could in the kitchen, along with their internal weight-and-pulley systems, which enable the sashes to open and close properly. Only broken or missing panes were replaced.
Island on Casters
Stephanie added casters to this traditional table to create a movable island. The table’s white wood blends well with the kitchen’s bead-board cabinets.
Once Builder John D. England had replaced the pine floors, Stephanie painted them a subtle yellow-and-white harlequin pattern to brighten the space and add an aged appearance.
Flooring: vintage pine flooring; for a similar look, try vintage pineflooring.com or 866-203-6924.
Floor paint: Alternating diamond pattern in White Dove (OC-17) and Butter (2023-60) by Benjamin Moore; benjaminmoore.com.