Swapping Spaces

Paoli, PA


The owners of this country estate, their daughters no longer at home, decided that they weren’t ready for condominium style downsizing yet, and wanted a kitchen that suited their current lifestyle better than the room they’d remodeled 25 years ago. The original house dated back to 1740 and had been added to many times. Its square footage far exceeded what they needed, but the existing kitchen space had a low ceiling, felt dark, and although otherwise roomy and functional, couldn’t accommodate a table and seating. It also lacked an effective exhaust system for the island range top. Their vision was to add a cozy breakfast nook by pushing the existing space out six feet. The cost of the addition alone was more than they wanted to invest in the entire project, so we had to find a different solution.

We proposed instead that they move the kitchen to the adjacent breakfast room, remove sections of wall and the header so that the spaces would flow together, and replace the windows in the bay with floor to ceiling double hung sashes, where the breakfast nook would go. Both rooms were painted white, including the previously stained tongue and groove wood cathedral ceiling, dramatically brightening the space. Access to the pantry was changed, and cabinetry matching the old cherry cabinets added to maximize its utility without just tearing it all out. Some of the old cherry kitchen cabinetry stayed in the breakfast room, where a refrigerator for beverages was fitted where the double ovens had been, across from which a bank of cabinets and shelves were repurposed to serve the breakfast nook. A quiet palette of colors and materials, crisp transitional style cabinetry, and well proportioned groupings of simple forms resulted in a clean, contemporary space, giving this lovely old home a new life.


Nora Stultz

Scott A. Stultz


Scott Stultz

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