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Design ideas
Get the Perfect Period Kitchen in 9 Easy Steps
Previous owners created a kitchen that feels as though it has always been part of this circa 1884 home. The kitchen was originally located in a long-gone outbuilding.  
Written by Catherine Titus Felix
Photography by Mark Tanner
Styled by Jickie Torres

Are you ready to add some character to your great, high-functioning kitchen? Debi Lee’s turn-of-the century Victorian cottage in Monrovia, California, has all the right ingredients for period style and efficiency.

Here’s how you can get the look:

1) Choose a period look that is easy to maintain. The simple faced, framed cabinets are treated to a high-gloss, white finish and fitted with simple black iron pulls and hinges that are easy to clean and maintain.

2) Use woodwork to evoke period warmth. Bright white wainscoting behind the stove and in the breakfast area evokes a turn-of-the-century cottage ambiance. The woodwork was chosen to match as closely as possible to the trim throughout the rest of the house.

3) Ensure that your focal points are style appropriate. The farmhouse sink, vintage-style appliances and pendant lights add to the historic feeling. However, stainless steel tops the counters and island, making these hard-working areas durable and simple to maintain.

4) Add pops of period color. The red Cook’s Delight range, dishwasher and refrigerator are from Elmira Stoveworks. “The appliances are fitted with red, Victorian-style face panels,” Debi says. “But when you look underneath, they are all computerized.”

5) Don’t forget the details. Use vintage patterns and colors in fabrics to complement the period appliances. It’s also a great way to soften and warm up the look.

6) Hide the unnecessary electronics. For a period look, hide TVs, MP3 players and computers in cabinets or on a pantry shelf, or mount them under cabinets where they can be tucked up when not in use.

7) Display your sets with glass-fronted cabinets. On the walls opposite the sink, built-in floor-to-ceiling cabinetry offers additional storage, this time with glass-fronted doors. Here, Debi displays her collection of vintage ironstone and green glass canisters that add more color to the room.

8) Use collections with character. Decorating the soffits is one of the room’s most striking features: a collection of fruit labels and food ads, a legacy from the previous owners. The Lees have enjoyed adding to the collection to make it their own.

9) Cut the clutter The high ceilings afford a bank of cabinets that hang above the refrigerator. This keeps most of the kitchen and dining essentials from view, lending a clean fresh look to the room. This is especially smart since the vivid vintage tin signs could easily overwhelm the décor if there was too much clutter.

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