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The 1912 Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel: The Reveal

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Welcome to Part II of the 1912 Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel!

For those of you who are joining us for the first time, this is the second installment of our DIY kitchen remodel series.  We bought our 106-year-old home two years ago and after spending the first year remodeling a tiny guesthouse on our property – an insanely challenging undertaking! (see The Micro-Dwelling Project) – our next project was tackling our main kitchen.

Our historic home was in immaculate condition when we bought it and fortunately the kitchen was the only thing that needed updating. In our first post we take you through the complete demolition process.   See The 1912 Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel: The Demolition.

In our demolition post we also provided all the background information about the kitchen, its unique elements and our vision for the remodel – combining the original elements for a blend of historic and contemporary.

Our vision was a modern, contemporary, efficient kitchen that incorporated the kitchen’s original historic elements and used a blend of traditional, natural materials that were true to the time period of the house.  These included materials like soapstone, copper, hardwood, marble, butcher block and brick.

We had the kitchen cabinets and layout designed by a professional and then set about to do the rest by ourselves.

Let’s take another walk through the original kitchen and then I’ll show you what we came up with.


Everything ripped out and the remodel is ready to begin!

The chimney was rebuilt up to the ceiling and we put new crown molding all around the whole kitchen.  We added some iron hardware to the chimney where we’ll be adding glass shelves for some colorful decorative items.

Double wall ovens and cabinets took the place of the old chicken coop door closet.

FYI, we’re still in the process of mortar-washing the bricks to make them uniform in appearance.

We installed soapstone countertops and a copper farmhouse sink with an oil-rubbed bronze faucet and matching hardware throughout the kitchen.

We purchased our soapstone countertops from Vermont Soapstone which has been around since 1856.   Soapstone countertops, which are now regaining popularity, were more common in the early 20th century when this home was built (even more so on the East Coast), and they were our first choice from the get-go.  Soapstone has really unique properties that makes it a great choice – it’s not affected by heat (you can set hot pans directly on it), it doesn’t stain, and it’s non-porous so it doesn’t harbor things that would attract bacteria – and it’s just downright gorgeous.

After our experience with Bellmont Kitchen Cabinets in our guesthouse kitchen remodel, we already knew wanted to go with their cabinets for our main kitchen, this time choosing their 1900 series.  We wanted to go with a timeless look and chose Shaker style in white.  Not only is white classic but with our covered porch blocking out a lot of daylight, we needed to add more brightness to our kitchen.  We love our Bellmont cabinets.

We chose a modern farmhouse copper sink from CopperSmith which we absolutely love.  We chose one with a bright raw finish which looks really cool but are now letting it develop its natural rich patina.  At any point the sink can be scrubbed back to it’s original bright copper state.

We chose marble for our backsplash, another timeless material that is both traditional and contemporary.  We chose wider/longer tiles for a more modern look.  Since marble is highly porous, we used as a stone sealer to prevent staining.

We wanted sleek, contemporary light switches and outlets as well as under-cabinet lighting and based on our experience with the adorne® Collection by Legrand for our guesthouse kitchen remodel we wanted to use them again for our main kitchen.  (Check out our review of the adorne® Collection in our main kitchen.

We opted for contemporary appliances set against a traditional backdrop.  Being from Germany, of course German engineering was the obvious choice :)  Based on quality, reputation, features and appearance we chose Miele for our kitchen appliance suite.  We also added recessed lighting throughout the kitchen, the one item we hired out to an electrician.

The original kitchen had no refrigerator in it, the fridge was located in the pantry off the kitchen.  So we built in another fridge and added more cabinets around it, making good use out of that corner where the antique Hoosier used to be.

A Note About Paint:  We wanted to go with a gray-toned paint for the kitchen and tried out no less than 4 different shades of Benjamin Moore.  We thought we had finally found a true gray but as is the nature of paint, it’s very different depending on the time of day and lighting.  Sooo…we’re back to the drawing board on this one.  If you have any recommendations we’d love to hear them!

Absolutely nothing.  But since we got him right after it was completed (and he jumped into the photo shoot for snack), and since one of our readers, Patty, left a comment on our kitchen demolition blog post requesting to see a picture of our pup, we thought we’d go ahead and introduce him.  Meet Huxley, our adorable and good-natured 12-week-old Treeing Walker Coonhound.  Once full grown he will be 60-70 pounds which practically makes him a major kitchen appliance in his own right.

Alright, back to the kitchen!

We knew we wanted to go with hardwood flooring for our kitchen.  It’s timeless, true to the historic time period of our home, is merciful on dropped dishes (less shattered china!), and in our opinion there simply is no material more beautiful than real hardwood.  Based on our experience with the flooring in our guesthouse, we knew we wanted to use Armstrong Flooring again for our kitchen.  We had envisioned a hardwood that was both rustic and gray-scale, providing that balance of traditional and contemporary and Armstrong had exactly what we were looking for.  Read all about our flooring installation!

We chose butcher block for our kitchen island.  Can I just say that you can never go wrong with butcher block!  It fits both traditional and contemporary settings and it’s downright gorgeous!  We knew we wanted to use John Boos who has been making the finest butcher blocks in the USA since 1887.   As the centerpiece of our kitchen and my primary workspace, we couldn’t be happier with it.


I have a few things staged temporarily for the photo shoot and I’m still in the process of moving my things back into the kitchen (the upper glass cabinets are still empty).  With all the white and gray in the kitchen the decor will need to provide an abundant amount of color.  I have a lot of ideas for the decor and there are so many directions this could go – I can’t wait to get started!

As with our DIY guesthouse remodel, we tackled this kitchen remodel entirely by ourselves.  We had the kitchen designed by a professional and then proceeded to do the entire remodel ourselves except for some of the electrical work that we hired out to an electrician.  The only prior experience we had had was our guesthouse remodel.  I am still in awe and feel so incredibly lucky to have a husband who is so talented.  Go Todd!

SO much went into the process of our historic kitchen remodel and in the upcoming installments we’ll be sharing the step-by-step details with you!

Thanks for joining us and we look forward to seeing you next time!

A special thank you to our partners Bellmont Kitchen Cabinet Co., Miele, Armstrong Flooring, John Boos, CopperSmith and Legrand!

kimberly killebrew the daring gourmet

Hi, I’m Kimberly Killebrew and welcome to Daring Gourmet where you'll find delicious originals, revitalized classics, and simply downright good eats from around the world! Originally from Germany, later raised in England, world-traveled, and now living in the U.S., from my globally-influenced kitchen I invite you to tour the world through your taste buds!

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  1. What refrigerator did you end up getting and do you still like it now? I am currently looking for a new one with the french doors on top. Thank you.

    1. Hi Mills, we ended up getting a Miele but it turned out to be a re-branded Liebherr. It broke down within the first couple of months and then about a year later the door seals were coming loose. Overall we were not happy with the quality. We’ve since moved and are having to remodel our entire kitchen again (ugh) and are still debating which fridge to go with. We’ve been leaning in the direction of a Sub-Zero but are still doing some research.

  2. Love it all, especially that you have Miele appliances! You are going to FLIP with the dishwasher!! I am still in love with mine and every day it’s such a joy to use. I cannot recommend it enough! Enjoy your new kitchen, you deserve a lovely place to cook and bake!