Fairy Tale Finish

KITCHEN $51,000 – $100,000 Residential designer: Stimmel Consulting Group, Ambler, Pa. General contractor: Emerald Designs, West Chester, Pa. Creating a new kitchen for this turn-of-the century Victorian castle provided residential designer David Stimmel with one of his most interesting and challenging projects to date, he says.

October 31, 2006

The new kitchen features a granite-topped island that includes a sink and seating for four. A mantel hood frames a period-style tile backsplash above a stainless steel Wolf range.  Photos by Charles Meacham

KITCHEN $51,000 – $100,000

Residential designer: Stimmel Consulting Group, Ambler, Pa.

General contractor: Emerald Designs, West Chester, Pa.

Creating a new kitchen for this turn-of-the century Victorian castle provided residential designer David Stimmel with one of his most interesting and challenging projects to date, he says. He had to design a functional entertaining space that complemented the home's original architecture yet included modern, top-of-the-line appliances and finishes; it also had to reflect the style and color theme of a sample of toile wallpaper his client had cherished for years.

The wallpaper inspired the color scheme of the kitchen's custom cabinetry, tile details and trim, says Stimmel, who's Ambler, Pa.-based remodeling company specializes in custom kitchen and bath design, supply and installation. Working closely with the homeowner, period architectural elements were researched and selected to incorporate into the kitchen's large island, fireplace mantel range hood and furniture-style cabinetry. A custom cabinet fabrication shop treated every element, including highly detailed applied moldings that came from three suppliers, in the same finish for continuity.

Although the cabinets were designed to reflect the history of the home, the construction included innovative features such as a pair of pull-out storage pillars that form the legs of the range hood.

Bottom drawers of the plate rack china cabinets conceal pullout warming drawers.

One of the first things Stimmel addressed at the outset of the project was how to increase the size of the home's original kitchen which, at approximately 300 square feet, did not meet the homeowner's living and entertaining needs.

"We actually blew out the walls in several adjoining rooms in order to create a single large area for the kitchen," he says. This increased the size of the working space by an additional 137 square feet. "During the deconstruction stage we uncovered one of the home's original structural beams in the ceiling which we saved." Three custom beams that mimic the original were fabricated and incorporated into the new ceiling to create its distinctive Country French-style coffers.

Keeping with the century-old character of the home, integrated appliances were used wherever possible. This includes a high-end refrigerator from Sub-Zero and twin dishwasher drawers from Fisher & Paykel Appliances, which are disguised as part of a free-standing buffet in the butler's pantry.

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