While remodeling the kitchen of an 1891 brick townhouse in Philadelphia, Kevin Bennert, director of the Philadelphia interiors firm Oak Design Project, looked across the pond. “We were inspired by townhouses in London that seamlessly blend old and new,” he explains. “The main priority was to make it more functional for the family.”
More Beautiful House
Before the client commissioned the company, Bennert says, the kitchen “was isolated from the rest of the house with dated cabinetry.” After a complete gut renovation by the Janusky Group – they went down to the studs and reinforced floors – the wall separating the kitchen and dining room was removed and the floor dropped to increase usable space . Now the kitchen is open, flooded with natural light and ideal for entertaining with the newly created space between the dining area and the patio.
Simple sheer cafe curtains add privacy but don’t block sunlight near the dishwasher and sink.
“We recycled an antique window to use as a partition between the stove wall and the dining room,” says Bennert. “It created a visual separation that still lets the natural flow.” The curved stems above the range mimic the shape of the island.
It wasn’t until a structural engineer was hired after demolition that the design team learned that they could actually knock the floor down (to raise the height of the ceilings). “That was our biggest question mark,” says Bennert, “but in the end, it was a remarkable transformation!”
A reflective backsplash bounces even more light around the room.
Every inch of space has been used, down to a few inches for a spice rack in the lower cabinets.
See what the kitchen looked like before
The rounded ends of a walnut wood island open to reveal hidden cabinetry. “It was a high point for the design,” Bennert says of the piece. Tumbled silver travertine floors add sparkle.
Nafeesah Allen, Ph.D. is a multilingual author, freelance researcher, editor, and contributing editor for various national online publications. She frequently covers personal finance, family, culture, real estate and discrimination. She also runs BlackHistoryBookshelf.com, a book review website that highlights global black histories organized by language, topic, and country. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @theblaxpat.