Before and After, Interiors, Kitchen

Before & After: Uncovering Secrets in a 1904 Denver Square Kitchen

This kitchen is in a 1904 “Denver Square”, which is known as a “foursquare” everywhere else in the country, but here in Denver we like to label things as our own.  For example, the “Denver Omelette” is really a “Western Omelette”.  If anyone can think of something else that Denver (or your home town) has been able to add their name to, but isn’t unique to that city, let me know!  I enjoy things like that.

When I first saw this kitchen, it was very small and completely enclosed.

before photo kitchen
BEFORE: The room did have the three key elements to a kitchen: refrigerator, stove and sink, but just barely.

I took this photo with my back to the wall.  The client wanted an island with seating and more counter space.  She also wanted to be able to have people over while she cooked so we knocked down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen to make more space for the cook.  We uncovered one odd thing that I’ve never seen before: under the drywall was another opening that had been enclosed – see below!

opening under the drywall
This framed opening was found underneath the drywall! Someone at some point had already opened this up but then decided to close it again – odd, right?  Did it make the ghosts unhappy?
underneath the wall
Here’s another view of the window that had been created at some point in time and then covered up again.  I love surprises like this.
During denver square construction
Here’s a great view after everything (except the kitchen sink!) has been torn out. You can see the challenge of electrical on the exterior brick wall….
color palette kitchen
The client wanted a handsome, strong palette – here’s what we came up with!  Dark navy, crisp white, gray tile, walnut and soapstone.
During construction
A site visit pre-appliance and electrical! The color on the cabinets is Polo Blue by Benjamin Moore – it’s a very dark navy. I used walnut for the beam, hood wrap, open shelves and island to keep things warm.
soapstone and walnut
I love these two materials together – walnut and soapstone. I especially love the look of that gray un-oiled/un-waxed soapstone counter!! I designed the island to have horizontal planks of wood surrounding it.  I don’t believe it was an easy fit to get the channels to line up!  Oak Tree Classic Woodworks made the cabinetry.

To be self-critical and a little defensive, we took these photos on an unusually dark and dreary day in late winter this past year.  I should have postponed the photo shoot for a sunny day – but because I had work stacked up, I decided to just do it.  A lot of good things have come from my “just get it done” attitude towards my business, but this wasn’t one of them and I learned my lesson.

soapstone sink
Here’s the soapstone oiled.  I love the way the matte black faucet looks against the black soapstone. Behind this you can see the walnut hood wrap and open shelves with sconces and appliances. (Photo by Sara Yoder and Styling by Kristy Oatman for Laura Medicus Interiors)
walnut island
Dark and Handsome! (Photo by Sara Yoder and Styling by Kristy Oatman for Laura Medicus Interiors)
straight set tile
I love straight set tile! (Photo by Sara Yoder and Styling by Kristy Oatman for Laura Medicus Interiors)

Are you getting the lack of sun vibe?  Normally this home is flooded with sunlight – all I think when I see these is that I should have waited to get that sunshine!

minimal kitchen
I do like this minimal and dark view of the kitchen. Here’s the outdoor bench used as seating… (Photo by Sara Yoder and Styling by Kristy Oatman for Laura Medicus Interiors)

The other thing I learned is to wait on taking photos until the client gets more things in the house.  In the shot above you’ll see a dining table with just an outdoor bench – no other chairs in sight!  In my defense, it’s almost a year later and this client is still using temporary chairs while she decides what to purchase so I could have been waiting a while.  Another solution for me would have been to rent or borrow some chairs!

This next photo makes me cringe – and again, it’s my fault.  I should have borrowed something to fill in the empty spot and I should have waited for a sunny day!

after photo
The door and part of the wall on the left will be taken out for the next phase and a little window-filled mudroom will be added to the home. Perhaps I should have waited for this too! The vast empty space really bothers me.  (Photo by Sara Yoder and Styling by Kristy Oatman for Laura Medicus Interiors)

What have I learned?  It’s great to get it done, BUT sometimes it’s at the expense of the final product when I would have been better off waiting.  Denver gets a lot of sunshine and I am spoiled by not having to worry too much about the light at photo shoots most of the time.  I do enjoy getting things done and my zeal for that got the best of me on this one.  However my philosophy, in general, is still this:

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” —Bruce Lee




4 thoughts on “Before & After: Uncovering Secrets in a 1904 Denver Square Kitchen”

  1. I just love the “dark & handsome” look as you call it ! The whole kitchen says, “take me & cook” irregardless of whether the sun is shining ! Good job Laura.

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