Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: A married couple; she’s a psychologist, and he’s a lawyer
Location: Portland, Oregon
Size: 190 square feet (17.7 square meters)
Designer: Jenni Leasia of Jenni Leasia Design
The main idea was to create a kitchen that flowed with the rest of the gracious historic home. Leasia looked to the architecture to design historically appropriate cabinetry and millwork. She also used unlacquered aged brass knobs and pulls in era-appropriate styles.
“It’s important to be thoughtful about what is appropriate for a home; if the house gives you great architecture, embrace it and use it,” Leasia says. “Ask what will last in this home, rather than falling into trends.”
“They really like traditional style, and it’s easy to slide into something that’s too formal when you go traditional sometimes,” Leasia says. She was mindful of keeping a casual vibe in the pretty room. The counters are Perla Venata quartzite, a natural stone. The backsplash is a custom-colored handmade subway tile. The fabric on the Roman shades brings in happy colors. “Everything was so neutral, neutral, neutral and blended together,” Leasia says. “They love color, and the fun floral pattern references traditional prints but in an updated way. It added a casual touch that makes the room more inviting.”
She used aged brass on the traditional-style cabinet hardware. Though brass is on trend right now, that was not the designer’s motivation for choosing it. “Aged brass is certainly something that would have been found here in the 1930s,” she says.
Note the crown molding above the cabinetry. Leasia designed it to match the original 1930s millwork in the living and dining rooms. This enhances the architecture of the kitchen and prevents dust from gathering on top of the upper cabinets.
Paint: Rich Cream 2153-60 (walls), Floral White OC-29 (ceiling) and Marscarpone AF-20 (cabinets), Benjamin Moore; backsplash: ceramic subway tile with crackle gloss finish, Pratt & Larson; cabinets: Oregon Custom Cabinets
This freed up the peninsula to be a place to hang out, eat and work — and not just the work of food prep. “One of the homeowners is a lawyer, and out of all the lovely places to choose in this house, it’s his favorite place to sit with his laptop when he’s working from home,” the designer says. “They both live at that peninsula now.”
In fact, at just 30 inches, the width of the range and the refrigerator is appropriate for the room. “It’s important to think about just how big you really need appliances to be,” Leasia says. On the right, the new refrigerator is smaller and blends right into the cabinetry. This also maintains the 1930s look, as a large stainless steel appliance would have stood out like a sore thumb. “Using panel-front appliances helped make the room feel more spacious,” Leasia says.
“This wallpaper looks like a really expensive silk chinoiserie mural, but it is made up of ink jet-printed panels,” Leasia says. “It was a great find.” The room has two more original china cabinets that match the one in the kitchen. The couple opted to use their existing traditional table and chairs, which fit right in with the home’s classic style.
Wallcovering: The White House Panel #4, Et Cie wall panel collection, Designer Wallcoverings; wall paint: Natural Linen 966, Benjamin Moore