Kitchen of the Week: Uncovering History in an Colonial

Vintage materials and a simple fashion help pay tribute to the kitchen all-American roots. Once an orchard worker’s home, this 200-year-old house in Melrose, Massachusetts, has gone through several renovations. Those renovations covered or altered many of the home’s historical features — such as the original brick oven and fireplace in the kitchen. Designer Eric Luciano chose to begin, tearing down the drywall surrounding the toaster to reshape this kitchen into a more viable space that also matches the home’s history.

Kitchen in a Glance
Who lives here: A couple in their 60s
Location: Melrose, Massachusetts
Size: 250 square feet
Cost: $45,000

Luciano Group

After ripping out a dilapidated porch above the kitchen, Luciano was able to raise the low ceiling by about 8 inches. Bright black walnut, warm yellow walls and contrasting white woodwork draw the eyes away from the low ceiling height.

Pendant: Restoration Hardware; wall paint: Butter Pecan, California Paints; dishwasher: Frigidaire

Luciano Group

Granite or marble counters felt too chilly for this blossom kitchen, so Luciano purchased large parts of American black walnut in pieces and cut them onsite for custom counters.

Countertops: Craft Art

See how to work with wood countertops

Luciano Group

The original brick chimney and oven was covered up by drywall during a previous renovation. Luciano had no idea just how much of a presence they would become until his group took down all the surrounding walls, but he adopted the prominent brick in his design. He abandoned the part above the original oven open for timber storage.

Luciano Group

Luciano altered the kitchen’s original galley layout to an L shape, expanding into an old laundry room. The new layout not only generates more working space, but also allows for greater entertaining — if guests are finished, the kitchen mess can be hidden on the marble worktop, imperceptible from kitchen’s entry and the adjacent dining room.

Cabinetry: Starmark; hardware: Restoration Hardware; fridge: Maytag

Luciano Group

All-white appliances blend in the cabinet layout. “Stainless steel would just be too slick for the home,” says Luciano. “As a designer you need to maintain the integrity of the home.” The scope was part of the previous kitchen, and the customers plan to eventually replace it using an abysmal version.

Two-by-4 Carrara marble tiles tie in with the baking counter around the corner of the L-shaped kitchen. Luciano chosen for a backsplash onto just 1 wall to avoid visual clutter.

Luciano Group

Rather than extending the black walnut countertops, Luciano chosen for marble on this particular breakfast and baking place. “It may stain, but it has a cafĂ© feel and also is a great worktop for baking,” he states.

The customers love to bake, and this working space’s location makes it simple to keep messes from sight.

Sink: Domsjo, Ikea

Luciano Group

Initially the client needed a piece of furniture for this particular desk place, but Luciano suggested this custom made solution to make more counter area and stick with the kitchen clean and simple lines. A counter and drawer legs underneath allude into some piece of furniture without creating an awkward gap between the counter and desk.

The customers also use this region as a location for food when it is ready to bring into the dining table. “Cabinets could have been put here rather than a desk,” says Luciano. “But I needed to add a feature to this kitchen.”

Stool: Era Counter Stool

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How to Install a Tile Backsplash

Small details make huge differences, and also a tile backsplash is just one of these small information. A backsplash not only looks great, but it also protects your walls. With some simple tiling skills and a small practice, transforming your kitchen might be one weekend job away.

Skill level: Medium to advanced. You need to be comfortable with basic power tools, like drills and saws. Also, be certain you have a good understanding of the numbers on your own tape measure. The majority of the work simply requires patience and a steady hand, so take your time.
Period: 2 to 3 days
Price: $10 to $25 per square foot
General tip: If you have not set tile before, practice placing a few rows of tiles on a scrap of plywood until you can achieve consistent grout lines and levels.
Security hints: Always wear gloves when cutting tiles and gloves when handling cut tile. Use caution with all power equipment.

More: When to consider hiring a pro

Jared Erwin

Materials and Tools

To work out the total amount of tile you’ll need, measure the square footage of your backsplash, and then add 10 to 20 percent to this total — that will account for waste out of trimming or breakage.

Adhesives: For most programs, the best adhesive is going to probably be thinset, which bonds to plaster, drywall and any other porous surface. Thinset is a cement-based adhesive that penetrates the walls as well as the porous rear of the tile. It works nicely with porcelainceramic and glass tile. If you’ve chosen glass tile, use a white adhesive.

Tile spacers: Tile spacers, which will keep tiles directly and even on the walls, come in all sizes and shapes. These spacers are available with the tile on your local hardware shop. Keep it easy when picking out a spacer to use — if you’ve chosen a sheet of little tile, ensure your spacers fit the design of your sheet.

Notched trowel: A trowel is used to apply the adhesive to the surface being tiled. It can be located from the tile or flooring section of your local hardware shop. It is usually a good idea to have a small-margin trowel and a larger notched trowel.

Grout: select a color that complements your tile (it is usually better to prevent an specific color match) and one which is going to be easy to keep clean — stay far from bright white, if you don’t only love scrubbing. I recommend using a premixed grout which has a loofah blended in. Topical sealers will work, but premixed grout saves you a measure. You are going to require a grout sponge and a grout float or trowel too.

Jared Erwin

When picking out tile, look for something easy, small and neutral. Little tiles often arrive in sheets, which makes them simpler to set up, and may be cut with tile snips, which are much more DIY friendly compared to the usual big wet saw.

Most tiles can be cut using a scoring process. This is time consuming, and results will vary based on the tile substance. Using a scoring knife out of a tile supply shop and a right edge, just score your cut three to four times and then apply pressure to the outside edges of the tile to break the tile at the score.

If you go with larger tiles that needs to be trimmed using a wet saw, consider hiring an expert to cut them .

Jared Erwin

When you’ve got all your materials and tools, follow these directions.

1. Decide on a pattern. If you’ve chosen tile sheets, then your pattern is place for you. If you would like to decide on subway tile, place your tile in a brick pattern. Use tile spacers to keep your pattern symmetrical.

2. Find a starting point. In many kitchens the center of this sink is a good place to start. You wish to begin in the center and work out your way — that gives you better symmetry when you create it to the ends.

This was the starting point we employed with this specific backsplash. From here we worked our way around the kitchen.

Jared Erwin

3. Do prep work. It is a good idea to apply a bead of silicone caulk to the seam between your wall and your countertop. This acts as a backup line of protection if water were to ever get from the tile. It isn’t a do-or-die measure, however.

Hereyou can see that the bottom border of this tile has been coated with a white silicone caulk after the tile has been grouted to keep water from getting behind the cabinets and resulting in harm.

Next, turn off the circuit breaker and be certain none of those sockets or switches are live. Then remove any electrical wall plates. Unscrew the switches and sockets and pull them out of the boxes. Don’t disconnect the wires! You just want enough room to be able to work your tile around the box.

Jared Erwin

4. Apply the adhesive. Make sure you can view your center-line starting mark; employ adhesive from that point. Assess the working time around the container, but it is usually OK to spread enough to employ a few tiles (or sheets) on your first row. This first row will sit on your countertop.

5. Install the tile. Starting from your center line, press the tile up against the wall securely. This creates suction that will hold your tile in place until the adhesive has fully cured.

As you work your way around the kitchen, be certain that you plan ahead for any cuts you have to make. It is a good idea to use a pencil and a speed square (a right-angle tool which helps to give you a straight line) to indicate your cuts prior to making them. Do your very best to cover the cut edge and constantly leave the mill edge exposed.

As soon as you’ve installed the tile, go back and remove any adhesive that’s pushed up into your grout lines — you don’t want this showing when you grout your tile.

Within this picture, tile spacers are being used to use the tile in a brick pattern. Notice the adhesive, the tape measure and also the speed square — make use of these during installation!

Jared Erwin

6. Grout and clean. Following your tile was installed for 16 to 24 hours (or whatever the adhesive container specifies), you can go back and start grouting. Remove all of the spacers and clean off any dried adhesive on the surface of the tile.

Work the grout in at an angle. Within this picture, grout is being implemented with a standard-margin grout trowel. Apply it using all the trowel angled toward the wall, then moving in a diagonal design. Clean off the excess grout with a sponge and also work a 3- to 5-foot place at a time. As soon as you’ve finished grouting, run a clear bead of silicone along the base border of the tile.

Permit all this dry for 24 hours until you go back and replace your electrical sockets, switches and covers. If you are using a penetrating sealer, be certain that you inspect the container to the time frame for applying.

Jared Erwin

Notice here how the brick pattern continues through the corner; the lines stay the same. Take your time, follow these simple steps, and ask questions when you buy your supplies.

A tile backsplash creates a huge difference in the look and feel of any kitchen. And once you’ve completed this job on your kitchen, go take a look at your bathroom vanity. The options are infinite.

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Kitchen of the Week: Midcentury Style, Chalkboard and Light

This kitchen at Seattle’s Blue Ridge area was in dire need of a makeover, and the owners needed to maintain the feel of the midcentury home while adding storage, new appliances and a fresh appearance.

Geoff Piper, direct designer Stephanie Ingram along with the staff at Fivedot Design Build opened up the 100-square-foot kitchen into the adjacent rooms for a combined cooking, entertaining and living space. Ecofriendly cabinetry, salvaged chalkboard countertops and stainless steel appliances have been set up for a classic and practical appearance that blends with the remainder of the home’s layout.


Three walls of windows open up the kitchen into natural light. Piper replaced the house’s first single-pane windows to assist the kitchen maintain a more constant temperature in Seattle’s cold winters.

At first, the window walls presented some challenges into the electrical function. The house’s midcentury roof structure meant there wasn’t any obvious means to run wiring to the ceiling, along with the windows prevented using the walls. “We had to do some very creative wiring and then use some exposed conduit to find the lights and switches at which we needed them,” says Piper.

Countertop and pub top: ReStore; pub stools: Modernica Case Study Dowel Barstool


Using substances that are kind to the environment, and the household’s wellbeing, was important to Piper. The black countertop consists of repurposed school chalkboards from a local salvage source store. After being cut to size and their edges, they have been finished with mineral oil for an easy-to-clean surface.

Ecofriendly cabinetry made out of plywood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and formaldehyde-free glue is topped with a gorgeous walnut veneer. Piper had the cabinets completed with a UV-cured substance that eliminates most of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Vibrant turquoise and orange accents inside a few of the shelving include a playful touch without becoming overpowering.

Read more about ecofriendly kitchen cabinets

Cabinetry, shelving: Kerf Design; refrigerator: KitchenAid


BEFORE: Outdated cabinetry took up visual space from the kitchen but did not provide enough storage to the household. Piper and his staff carefully planned the new space around the household storage and space needs.

“We spent quite a little time thinking about where each small thing goes, but ended up deciding that it had been better to look for a great, basic kitchen with storage that could be flexible,” says Piper. “Too many special storage options would have led to a small disjointed layout” Instead, the group chosen for large drawers that may be divided as needed.


AFTER: Among the team’s major problems was figuring out the height location for the cabinetry within the counter. It needed to be reduced enough to be accessible, but if too low would obstruct the view into the kitchen. In the end, they put little-used and display items within this cabinet and left up it to fully open up the space.

Dishwasher: Bosch; array: Bluestar 36-inch; hood: Vent-A-Hood; dining table: proprietor

Photos courtesy of Kerf Design

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The Right Hardware: Jewelry for Your Home

Widely seen as jewelry for the house, architectural hardware puts the finishing touch on a design. Great hardware has the ability to elevate the outcome of a room with its own character, whether you’re striving for exuberance or subtlety.

Some nice hardware is quite pricey (with good reason, particularly when handmade to order). But there are also very affordable options which are perfect, particularly for for small DIY projects like breathing new life into older furniture or sprucing up a room with brand new door hardware.

Jennifer – Rambling Renovators

These chunky pulls are a terrific play on the traditional look.

Dena Brody Interiors

Squared off and clean, this slick cabinet hardware is the epitome of modern, and goes well with all kinds of decor. There are versions of the style for those with a higher-end and those looking for a less expensive alternative.

Rick Hoge

Particular antique hardware, such as the bits on the two yellow cabinetsare hard by which to organize, as they’re actual show-stoppers and you don’t need to overpower or overshadow them with additional hardware. Rick Hoge did a great job of introducing drawer pulls that compliment the cabinets without even attempting to match themand surely let the cabinet brings glow!

Tal Goldstein

I am a sucker for classic glass knobs. When they’re clear glassthey blend in superbly with most decor, but utilizing colored knobs is a excellent opportunity to decorate a room and add comparison.

Nic Darling

The fat wood pulls on the drawers in this ultra-paired down kitchen are a hot touch that talk into the plywood wall doubling as a accent and backsplash.

Modus Design Studio

The stainless steel lever and rectangular backplate reinforce the simplicity of the monolithic yet warm modern door.

Brennan + Company Architects

Lots of you are aware of my affinity for barn doors, however, which makes the room number the actual pull only knocked my socks off.

Working with warm wood and don’t want to cool it off with stainless steel, chrome or nickel? Try out an oil-runned bronze or blackened steel. For toilets, kitchens and other possibly”moist” rooms, consider having a matte lacquer applied to the hardware, therefore it won’t corrode or change color over time due to exposure to humidity or wet hands.

Ziger/Snead Architects

Houses are full of squares, rectangles and other right-angled types, therefore that I love the idea of bringing in a round hard surface to break up the monotony.

Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers

Ah, pocket doors, you slay me! I could go on for days about pocket door hardware, but one of my favorite resources is Rejuvenation; I could have lost in their gorgeous hardware (and each of the end choices ) for days. I like that the doorway hardware does not fit the cupboard hardware in this toilet, creating a more collected look, despite the overall warm, modern tones.

Moroso Construction

Obviously, fitting finishes is not a bad thing. The dark hardware onto such pocket doors can be a gorgeous complement to the metal framed windows and dark curtain hardware beyond.

Woodmaster Kitchen & Bath Inc..

I know I only wrote about liking the concept of dividing right angles, so strengthening them are able to make quite an impact, too. These easy squares are a terrific touch.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc..

And these yummy little friends are a favorite of mine. I also adore them in round shape…

K2 Design Group, Inc..

… like this. Quite Hollywood glam!

There is a lot to love about this slick, nautical bathroom: the ceiling treatment, the light fixtures, the tile and the nifty storage solutions. But would you look at these amazing rope cupboard pulls? They are a whimsical comparison to the more traditional lever handle on the door.

Jennifer – Rambling Renovators

Oil-rubbed bronze knobs on stark white doorways are fine in my book any day of the week.

Locate an old doorway with gobs of character? Do not bother changing the hardware! I love the comparison between old an new in this toilet.

Glenvale Kitchens

Mix it up! This amazing AGA stove/oven includes a classic feel (although maybe not a classic pricetag).

Castro Design Studio

These modest chrome balls are the perfect hardware option to the high quality millwork, Calacutta marble counter tops and decorative light fittings.

More: Browse hardware products
Metal Mixology

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