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Fresh Kitchen Contest 2012: Character Development

These kitchen makeovers are the stuff of everyone’s wish list. Today's feature: A home that has witnessed generations of life is a heritage of the past and a legacy for the future.

Turning 100 is a milestone that calls for more than cake and ice cream. Elizabeth and Bart Crawford marked their Forest Park home’s centenary with a major renovation.

The house, a structural beauty, showed its age in an unexpected way — a servant problem. In prosperous homes in 1911, the kitchen was the domain of the “help,” which means it was “charming and antiquated,” says Elizabeth.

“Cramped” and “inconvenient” also described it. The principal path to the kitchen wound through the butler’s pantry, laundry, and a half-bath. For a family that enjoys entertaining, an inconvenient kitchen can be a trial. But the aesthetics — the kitchen featured pink linoleum — may have been worse.

The butler’s pantry (above) is more hip than stiff-upper lip, with its fresh-green palette and functioning RC Cola machine.

“The way I coped with the ugliness was to put my children’s artwork everywhere — cabinets, walls — the whole place was covered,” Elizabeth says.

So when the Crawfords contemplated remodeling, it was a given that the project would include revamping the kitchen and dining area.

The kitchen’s white palette centered on the choice of Alabama marble for the countertops. “Alabama white marble was the standard a century ago in this neighborhood, so it is true to the history of the house,” Elizabeth says.

Polished oak flooring matches the original floors in the front of the house, while overhead, the boards of the ceiling were lightly stained for a more natural look.  “Wood offers warmth,” Elizabeth says. “I wanted a warm kitchen. I don’t care for professional, austere kitchens.”

Just as important is respecting the character of the house. The success of the renovation was demonstrated in a visit by members of the historical review board. “They couldn’t tell what part was new,” Elizabeth says.

RESOURCES

architects: Standard Creative! cabinets: John Pittman, JLP, Inc. countertops: Stone Concepts LLC island: John Ward; Concrete Answers tile: Kenny & Co. appliances: AllSouth Appliance door and cabinet hardware: Brandino Brass fixtures: V&W Supply Willis pendant lights: Rejuvenation

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