House Tour: Old House, Modern Kitchen

A rural farmhouse dating back to 1789 gets a contemporary kitchen makeover.

  1. Modern Approach

    Old House Modern Kitchen

    While not the likeliest design for a 1789 farmhouse kitchen, this modern addition by Elaine Monchak, architect and owner of Monchak A+D Design LLC in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, speaks to the homeowners' taste and meets their program requirements. 


  2. Original Kitchen

    Original Kitchen

    When Monchak first visited the property with her client, it was in “very, very bad shape,” she says. But the house’s location—far back from the road on several bucolic acres with lovely views in every direction—made the necessary upgrades seem worthwhile.


  3. A Different View

    Modern House Addition

    “For a project like this, where you have a house with a very strong character and structure (and a homeowner who appreciates modern architecture), there are really only two ways to go. You can do a building addition that fits into the same character or do something completely different,” says Monchak.


  4. Smart Cabinetry

    Riftsawn Oak Cabinets

    The tall cabinet next to the microwave maximizes efficiency with pull-out drawers (other built-ins include a trash/recycling center installed below the windows). The warmth of fine-grained oak, with a white milk-tint rubbed finish, nicely bridges the centuries between Colonial and contemporary.


  5. Open Shelf Storage

    Open Shelf Storage

    To maintain a light, airy, open feeling and make the most of the views, Monchak nixed the idea of upper cabinets. Shelves in front of the windows and above the sink provide additional storage without adding bulk.  


  6. Glass Backsplash

    Back Painted Backsplash

    “I wanted something bright as an accent,” Monchak says. The seamless, easy-care backsplash was created from a single sheet of glass that was back-painted in a warm hue. Use glass tiles as a budget-wise way to replicate the look of back-painted glass.


  7. Fireslate Countertops

    Fireslate Countertops

    The Fireslate countertop may look familiar to anyone who ever took a high school chemistry class, since the manufactured slabs are so tough they’re laboratory mainstays. However, oil, acidic foods, wine and even water will leave their mark on Fireslate.


  8. Contemporary Range Hood

    Cylindrical Range Hood

    The range hood was another topic of debate. The client, who enjoys cooking, insisted on one. Monchak was reluctant to install anything overhead but ultimately developed the perfect solution for the space: a cylindrical stainless steel unit with a sculptural look that’s at home in its modern surroundings.


  9. Sliding Doors

    Sandblasted Glass Sliding Doors

    Sliding doors—crafted of sandblasted glass and fiber-cement panels—separate the kitchen and sunroom, adding to the versatility of the space. They can be open for entertaining larger groups or closed to create separate intimate spaces.


  10. Made for Entertaining

    Made for Entertaining

    The flow between kitchen and sunroom continues to a stone patio perfect for al fresco relaxing, dining, and entertaining, further fulfilling the original project goals of creating an attractive and functional space to share with friends. For more on this kitchen, click here


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