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Design Ideas
Vintage Restoration: Bringing This 1920s Kitchen’s Charm Back
With the help of a knowledgeable custom cabinetmaker, this couple take a 1980s renovation and return to the home's original 1920s charm.
Homeowners Chris Nye and Poppi Multz found their picture-perfect home in a well-kept 1923 bungalow in Portland, Oregon. Chris cites only this major concern: “Both the kitchen and the bathroom were remodeled sometime in the early 1980s by a previous homeowner as a result the kitchen and bathroom clashed with the rest of the period 1920s... Keep Scrolling
WRITTEN by JESSIE YOUNT
PHOTOGRAPHY by DAVID K RAMER
STYLED AND DESIGNED by CHRIS NYE AND POPPI MULTZ AND GEORGE RAMOS WOODWORKING


Homeowners Chris Nye and Poppi Multz found their picture-perfect home in a well-kept 1923 bungalow in Portland, Oregon. Chris cites only this major concern: “Both the kitchen and the bathroom were remodeled sometime in the early 1980s by a previous homeowner as a result the kitchen and bathroom clashed with the rest of the period 1920s house.” With the goal of blending the kitchen and bathroom into the style of the rest of the home, Chris and Poppi set out to find a custom cabinetmaker to make their vintage restoration dreams come true.

HAND-PICKED STYLE. Poppi and Chris picked out the perfect vintage-style appliances to suit their kitchen. Here, an orange teapot and teal utensil holder add color and cheer to the countertop.

THE GOAL: blending the kitchen and bathroom into the style of the rest of the home

MELDING A VISION

Chris and Poppi met with George Ramos, cabinetmaker and woodworking expert, with a clear design plan in mind.  The couple kept the sink and dishwasher in the same place but decided to move the stove to make room for a hood for better ventilation and counter space.

CREATIVE COOKING. One of Poppi’s main priorities was creating a functional space, to bake homemade bread and tasty treats. The 36-inch range and matching hood met her needs, while the subway-tile backsplash shows retro influence.

As an avid cook and baker, Poppi opted for a large 36-inch range, and “moving the stove to the other wall created a work space on either side, which was nonexistent before,” Poppi says. George also suggested the cabinets that rest on the countertop and the extra set of doors below the uppers. These extra doors allow Poppi to simply slide her cookware into the cabinets, and maintain a clean, spacious countertop next to the sink.

IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS. George created a functional and charming custom cabinet for Poppi’s cookbooks. Poppi says, “We were able to use the space under the main counter, where I do most of my kneading and cooking—right where I need them.”

Related Reading: House Tour: A Portland Bungalow with Vintage Flair 

SMALL SPACES & STORAGE

“Most people think about blowing out walls in a small space; I like when people decide not to, and stick within the footprint,” George says. For example the range and hood took up most of the space on one side but Chris and Poppi were able to recess the fridge into the wall to save space. Two more spaces that needed careful consideration were the full custom banquette table and benches, and the cabinet that houses Poppi’s cookbooks.

THE FINAL RESULT. With the custom designs and smart storage solutions complete, Poppi says, “Our kitchen has become the most delightful room in the house, and cooking no longer seems like a chore.”

“I almost never build a banquette without storage below,” George says. Beneath their fir exterior, both benches add ample room for storage to the charming, family-friendly seating area. The time and care put into this vintage restoration kitchen reflect Poppi’s love for cooking similarly so do her many recipe books. George says, “I decided to create a dedicated space to show them off.”

VINTAGE RESTORATION: PERIOD-CORRECT CHARM

As a Portland local himself, George had knowledge that proved essential to the couple’s project. “Portland recently made it mandatory for companies to deconstruct and salvage wood, rather than simply demolish the material when making way for a new house,” George says. Therefore, taking into consideration Chris and Poppi’s focus on a period aesthetic, George suggested reclaimed fir as the material of choice for both the banquette and countertops.

DELIGHTFUL LUMINOSITY. Previously “there were soffits and drop-down cabinetry that blocked the natural light coming through the windows,” Chris says. With the kitchen renovation complete, the kitchen is aglow in natural light.

This way the banquette and countertops mirror the look of the original fir built-in in the hallway. For the countertops, “I suggested cherry with a slight stain,” George says, “as opposed to the orange-amber color of the original fir built-in.” These countertops truly glisten, adding warmth and earthy appeal to the brightly colored kitchen.

A BEAUTY TO BEHOLD. The original fir built-in in this hallway was the inspiration for the banquette and countertops. The fir darkens and evolves over time, creating a timeworn and weathered appeal.

INVITING & ILLUMINATING

Find out how Chris and Poppi added color, light and airy appeal to their vintage restoration.

TOP TO BOTTOM. A white ceiling provides an open and airy feel. Meanwhile, the patterned tile adds period appeal.

PRETTY IN PAINT. The walls were bathed in bright yellow paint adding a cheery burst of color to the center of the room.

POP OF COLOR. Chris and Poppi selected retro-style orange appliances and décor.

INNOVATIVE IDEA. To the right of the sink, George designed the cabinets to mimic an authentic hutch. Therefore, this clever design saves space but also adds to the period-correct features.

STYLE FILE

TYPE OF HOME: Bungalow originally built in 1923

BACKGROUND: Chris and Poppi bought their house in 2009, charmed by the well-preserved bungalow. George worked with the couple to ensure a period aesthetic that would complement the modern appliances needed for cooking in their vintage restoration.

DESIGN ELEMENTS: Period style with a palette of yellow, orange and white; open plan with banquette

MATERIALS: Custom cabinets with golden cupboard latches, custom white paint to match the HVAC, reclaimed fir countertops and banquette

Want more simply beautiful ideas? Check out this post on 15 Retro Kitchen Appliances You’ll Love. 

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