As old home lovers, we always appreciate the charm, character, and unique features of the homes we remodel. We enjoy leaning into the original design elements of the space and learning from those that designed and built many years before us.
However, that doesn’t mean that we also don’t want to keep up to date with current home trends, technologies, appliances, and finishes. Because of this, we decided to take a company field trip back in July to the NW Naturals Street of Dreams in Newberg, OR. And we were so excited to see some historical home trends making a comeback in a big way!
Something that we saw at Street of Dreams was a lot of natural materials. Fine wood cabinets, natural stone countertops, and living finish metals were all over the houses throughout various rooms. While we still love the modern-day invention of engineered quartz and the timeless look of painted cabinets, something about seeing a natural finish kitchen is exciting.
It harkens back to the Arts & Crafts area of design (mid 1870s – 1919). This era in architectural and design history used these same natural materials to showcase craftsmanship. To find beauty in the simplistic. The joinery of the wood was seen as a work of art, stone was used for its natural beauty, and metal was meant to be shined up or get better with age.
Marble, granite, soapstone, and quartzite are all beautiful natural stones that offer depth and movement that engineered quartz can only attempt to recreate. The various species of wood and their grain can add a lot of character in either cabinetry or as a countertop. And metals like unlacquered brass or living finish oil-rubbed bronze patina beautifully over time.
SEPARATION OF SPACE
Since the pandemic started in 2020, interior designers and architects have been forecasting a movement away from open concept and towards more separation of space. Large open great rooms that incorporated the kitchen, dining, and living spaces were still prevalent in a lot of the homes at Street of Dreams; however, a couple of the houses did have some separation between these spaces.
Two of the houses (#1 & # 4) separated the kitchen from the dining and living areas. At one of the houses, the kitchen was still well connected but was off to the side of the main space. A change in flooring also helped visually separate the kitchen. At another house, a wall of cabinetry separated the spaces with three access points to the kitchen and a wall of sliding glass doors opening the kitchen up to the backyard.
Neither of these kitchens felt disconnected from the house or the action. Rather, it was refreshing to see the kitchen being its own space once again. In a lot of the older homes we work in, the kitchens are separated and in their own rooms. This is because, historically, kitchens were purely for function rather than aesthetic. We don’t really start seeing a shift in how kitchens are designed until the early to mid-20th century when they begin to be known as “the heart of the home”.
One of the top design choices we witnessed at the various homes at Street of Dreams was the inclusion of a butler’s pantry in the kitchen design. Today, butler pantries are often a transitional open space between the kitchen and formal dining room to stage food, hide countertop appliances (like a microwave or toaster oven), and offer additional pantry storage.
Historically, the butler’s pantry was a closed off space with double doors to trap in smells from cooking. It too was an area for food prep and staging between courses but also served another purpose, maids often stored fine china, silverware, linens, and family heirlooms in the butler’s pantry – and the butler would lock the room at the end of the day. Some pantries included desks for the butlers to sit down and manage their area of the house. Some houses had state of the art pantries with a servant call bell system connecting their room to the pantry. In some cases, the butlers would even sleep in the pantry in case a thief attempted to break in to steal the family’s fine wares.
While this doesn’t occur anymore, butler’s pantries are still as prevalent as ever in modern home design. Today’s butler’s pantries can be as simple as a bank of cabinets in an adjacent room for dry good storage and food prep to as elaborate as a coffee bar with a built-in microwave and second refrigerator.
If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen and would like to work with us, please fill out our online form (under Contact Us). We would love to talk to you about your project!
Recently here at Craftsman Design and Renovation, we’ve started to receive more calls regarding green remodeling: how can we be more kind to the planet while updating our home? Each call we field about this, Bill, one of our Partners, repeats the same motto – “A green remodel is a well-designed remodel.”
Most people who have worked in or followed the construction and design industry will understand the truth of these words. In an age of “design to sell”, house flipping for profit, “form over function”, and an excess of HGTV, these spaces often look good on camera, but the flaws begin to reveal themselves once they are seen in person.
More often than not, rooms are poorly designed and poorly constructed. With our many years of experience in remodeling, we’ve seen it all; improperly installed tile, cabinets that don’t offer enough storage, too much or too little space between appliances, cramped quarters, and trendy but cheap fixtures and finishes – all for the sake of selling, or appearing “updated.” These are typically the rooms that get ripped out within a few years of being put into the space.
Most of us have walked into a poorly designed kitchen or bath that does not serve the homeowner that uses those spaces daily. It can be frustrating and create stress for the homeowner, causing them to throw out what they have and start from scratch. This is where good design becomes a key factor in green remodeling.
A well-designed space will last much longer than a space that was put together haphazardly. By understanding how the homeowner uses the space, interacts with it, and personalizing the space to their needs, we’re able to put together a functional AND beautiful space.
Good design is never just about making a room look good (though we think we do a pretty good job at that), but making it function well for the user. It should offer the space, storage, and necessities needed to make your kitchen, basement, bathroom, mudroom, or whatever room you are renovating, attuned to your way of living.
This is why as a design-build firm, we always take our time going through the design process. We want to get to know you and how you live. We want to understand what you love about your home and the things that drive you nuts. Through design, we’re diving into the nitty gritty. We’re getting to know who you are and how you want your home to function for you. And we want to be sure that whatever work we are putting into your space, it won’t be ripped out in two years and thrown into the landfill because it no longer functions for you – or the next owners.
Good design is enduring and will last for many years to come. Though it can cost more on the front end, it ultimately leads to less waste in the landfill – thus making Bill’s words ring true, “A green remodel is a well-designed remodel.”
If you’re looking into remodeling your bathroom or kitchen, and would like us to work with us, please fill out our online form (under Contact Us). We would love to talk to you about your project!
We could all use a little more light here in the Pacific Northwest. Especially in our kitchens, a space we spend so much time in. Here are some of the ways we incorporate additional light into our kitchen remodel projects.
Add a Skylight:
These can be a gamechanger, especially when adding a traditional window may not be an option, or additional wall space is needed for cabinetry.
Install Additional Lighting:
We typically design with the triple threat: recessed, under cabinet, and decorative. They all provide their own type of lighting for different purposes.
Open the kitchen to the back yard:
Who doesn’t love a good French door?! And it gives great access to host those outdoor dinner parties.
Select lighter cabinets:
All cabinets don’t have to be white for a light and bright kitchen. Lighter paint tones as well as light-stained cabinets can have the same affect –while still adding warmth to the room.
Add a window:
Ideally at the sink – then you’ll get a nice view of the back yard while doing dishes!
Contact us today to start your Portland, Oregon kitchen remodel. And get that light filled kitchen you’ve always imagined!
A well placed built-in can make a world of difference in your older home. Giving you neat and tidy extra storage (with doors that close away the mess) can really be life changing. Below we show you some of our favorite places to incorporate built-ins that also blend with the age of your home.
Give the printer, paper, and office supplies their own home with a custom office solution.
A great spot to keep dining linens, extra dishware and serving plates.
Stash away coats, bike bags and helmets, umbrellas, dog leashes and all those muddy rain boots and shoes.
Get those towels, sheets, blankets, and surplus shampoos corralled into a spiffy looking linen closet.
Who doesn’t want an adorable library ladder? And a serene place to store (and read!) all those books.
We love a good colonnade. It gives the rooms purpose and character, while still having an open floorplan feel.
For your Portland, OR old home remodel we’d love to help you find custom, unique, thoughtful solutions for your space and your family. We love to incorporate built-in solutions into our larger remodel projects to make sure every inch of your home works for you.
Contact us today to get started on your Kitchen, Whole House, Basement, Bathroom or Addition project.
We’d love to help you find the best solution for you and your home!
As part of your kitchen remodel planning process, we want to ensure that your new custom cabinetry will fit your specific cooking needs perfectly. But when it comes to the world of kitchen cabinet accessories, there is a lot to choose from. Too much. Here, we’ll take you through some of our favorites that make cooking and meal prep just that much more enjoyable.
1. Drawer Peg System
- This system holds plates, bowls, dishes, and cups in a convenient under counter drawer.
- It makes accessing dishes a breeze – and the organization of everything in its place makes everyone happy.
2. New and improved Lazy Susan
- Lazy Susan’s are an extremely polarizing part of the kitchen – homeowners either love them, or hate them.
- We design to use every inch of space in our kitchens, so we often times recommend a version of them.
- These aren’t your old Susan’s though – there’s pie shaped, half moons, and more – without the cumbersome pole right down the middle.
3. Spice Drawer
- The ongoing spice struggle is real!
- This spice drawer accessory keeps them all in line – labels up and out, making things easy to read.
4. Trash/Recycle/Compost Pull-out
- The days of difficult under-the-sink trash bins are over.
- These pullouts are easy to use, large, and can be used for trash, recycling, or compost.
- We’ll often design having them right next to the sink for easy disposal.
These kitchen cabinet accessories are some of the few our team will discuss with you as we help you to plan your dream kitchen.
Contact us today to start your new, custom, and functional kitchen remodel today!