Photo by Susan Gilmore
“The kitchen is often the most complicated room in the house and is increasingly central to how we live our lives.” —David Heide, owner, David Heide Design Studio
The terms “front of house” and “back of house” are most often used for public spaces like restaurants or theaters. But in the 1800s, spaces meant for meal prep, such as the kitchen, were considered “back of house” and not for public view.
This kitchen, originally designed by Minnesota State Capitol architect Cass Gilbert and built in the 1890s, didn’t receive the complex and interesting details that filled the rest of this house. “The kitchen now plays a major role in daily life and entertaining,” says David Heide, owner of David Heide Design Studio, who set out to bring “front of house” details to the kitchen while maintaining the history and pedigree of the house.
The owners wanted the north-facing, dark kitchen “as light and as bright as possible,” so Heide chose a light color palette of white and gray to brighten the room. Small red garnets speckled subtly throughout the honed-finish Bianco Romano granite countertops introduce color. The kitchen’s matte tile floor was changed to wood to lighten the room and complement the rest of the house. The final touch was natural light: A garden-facing bay window was added to connect the backyard to the space.
“The look of the kitchen is important, but function is supreme and must be at the root of all projects,” Heide says. On top of new appliances, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator and Kohler apron-front sink, Heide enlarged the adjacent breakfast room to accommodate guests and eased access to the backyard and garage through a new porch and mudroom. Says Heide, “If kitchen renovations can help keep houses viable and livable for many years to come, we can help preserve our architectural heritage while saving resources.”