Addressing present-day needs while honoring historic character.

The owner of this distinguished Somerville late Victorian hated her kitchen. Insensitively remodeled in the 1980s, not only was the kitchen jarringly out of character with the rest of the house, it failed to take any advantage at all of a striking view towards the Boston skyline. There were two pinch points: an arbitrary wall with an opening that separated the sink area from the range, refrigerator, and breakfast table; and a porthole of a window above the sink that was all there was to let in the southern light and view. As a long-time employee of the Department of Energy, the owner wanted not just a new kitchen, but a more efficient and healthier house overall.

A Kitchen Renewed

Byggmeister's Solution

The challenge wasn’t just to capture the light and view; we also needed to improve the space plan and work flow. Overlaid on those goals, we needed to respect the carefully maintained Victorian character of the rest of the home and bring that sensibility back into the kitchen space.
We removed the wall that isolated the sink space to create one unified kitchen area. We relocated the sink to a center island so that we could replace the small window with a large sliding glass door out onto the deck and the view of the skyline.
We salvaged and re-used the honey-colored southern yellow pine wainscoting; we matched and extended it to a window seat and laundry room door to create continuity and tie those new elements to the old. The cabinets and counters have traditional styling in light colors to reflect the light from the new sliding doors deep into the space. More light from the rear utility stairs is brought into the space by means of a frosted glass door.
More prosaically, but just as important to the client and the project team, we upgraded the insulation and air-sealing throughout the house to improve the home’s comfort and efficiency.

We love projects like this one, where we can address a major weak point in an otherwise great old house and turn it into a significant strength—creating a space that serves our clients well while also extending the useful life of the home for future generations.

Project Location

Somerville, MA