Tuesday, November 13, 2012

☞ BESPOKE: The Updated Brownstone Kitchen

A kitchen with modern upgrades but also still stays true to a brownstone interior can be done with a couple of classic touches. White cabinetry has been trending for a few years now and the key to having the aesthetic not seem too contemporary is keeping a simple flat paneling.  The lower photo is a record selling South Harlem brownstone kitchen that shows the traditional paneling with the more expected cabinet hardware. Back splashes are the requisite subway tiles and the floor is natural wood.  Note also the glass paneled cupboards which allude to some of the first early 20th century kitchens.

At top is a designer West Harlem home that sold quickly with its modern variations but keeps things traditional at the same time. Paneled cabinetry all have modern handles and a carrera marble backsplash provides a new use of a popular Victorian countertop element which all are contrasted against a dark stained wood floor.  Industrial deco lighting finishes things off over the island which replaces the expected dining table.

If one were to change the hardware and lighting out, these two kitchens would be very similar in look. Stainless steal appliances are all built in to the layouts and inset lighting also provide an upgrade but are not obtrusive in both examples.  This look can also be achieved with wood finishes instead of painted woodwork but the white tends to brighten up dark spaces and is also considered historically accurate.


  1. It does seem quite ahistorical having the kitchen island, or am I mistaken as in Daunton Abbey they have a kitchen island in the huge mansion house. I wonder if there were islands in historic Harlem brownstones? Or how a brownstone kitchen was organized as the narrowness of the buildings do make it awkward?

  2. Yes, industrial kitchens and large estates had butcher block islands or center work tables which were very perfunctory in there use. Private homes appear to have had the dining table setup. Nowadays, the center island is used for both dining and kitchen work.