Craftsman kitchen – Translating a tried-and-true plan into a new space |

Craftsman kitchen – Translating a tried-and-true plan into a new space

I’ve had the pleasure of working with local builder Steve Eldridge for many years, so I was especially delighted when he and his wife Bonnie contacted me about helping them plan their new kitchen.

I had worked with them on their last kitchen more than 17 years ago, and Bonnie wanted to incorporate many of the same things we included in her previous kitchen, especially its functional layout and appliance arrangement – only on a larger scale.

The Eldridges had recently purchased acreage in Penn Valley and the property was just perfect for them – a barn and pasture for their horses, an established orchard, and best of all, it bordered a 360 acre cattle ranch with no buildings in sight. Also included on the property were two small, adjacent houses.

The original plan was to completely redesign the two structures into one expansive space, reflecting the Arts and Crafts style they loved.

Building designer Vicky Haden did a wonderful job accomplishing this, but ultimately, due to major structural problems present throughout, this idea of using the existing structures as a “framework” was pretty much abandoned as the work progressed. Even though the completed house is more or less all new, it was still constructed based on Vicky’s original plans.

The overall kitchen design incorporates the dining room at one end toward the front of the house, and the breakfast nook at the more private back side of the house. This central kitchen opens into the living room via a large interior ‘window’ that captures the fireplace view at the sink. A peninsula divides the kitchen from the dining room, offering a convenient raised buffet bar with wine storage and seating for two.

The “kitchen” side of the peninsula houses a 48-inch wide Viking cooktop, with a powerful stainless steel hood overhead that ensures steam, odors and grease exit as soon as possible. A handy narrow pull-out base “pantry” holds oils, seasonings and such right next to the cooktop.

The island is situated in the kitchen with ample clearances on all sides. Its maple butcher block top is the perfect choice for this work center, and the Eldridges don’t mind chopping and cutting on it.

It can always be sanded down to look brand new again. The warming drawer at the cooktop end of the island is used frequently, and it is helpful to have a place to sit for some of the longer, more mundane kitchen tasks.

“A few months ago I hosted a series of Chinese cooking classes with Annie Webber,” Bonnie said. “There were 13 of us here for the classes and there was plenty of room for everyone. Annie loved the cooktop and island; we loved Annie and her food!”

They chose a beautifully veined Vermont soapstone counter for the kitchen’s perimeter around the sink and the cooktop, but Bonnie cautions that this choice would not be for everyone.

Its softness compared to granite is one of the attributes that attracted her, but it takes a bit more care.

“Although I love everything about my new kitchen, the layout is still what I love the most. My kitchen is filled with lots of light and good ventilation, and it functions perfectly for me.” Bonnie notes. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”


Karen Austin, certified kitchen designer and home economist, has designed area kitchens since 1983. You can reach her at Creative Kitchens and Baths, 272-4963.

– General Contractor: Steve Eldridge Construction

– Building Design: Haden Design

– Kitchen Design: Creative Kitchens & Baths

– Cooktop: Viking, 48 inches wide

– Hood: Vent-A-Hood, 54 inches wide

– Dishwasher: Bosch

– Double Ovens: Dacor

– Microwave: Sharp

– Primary Sink: Kohler

– Island sink: Franke

– Cabinetry: Honduras Mahogany, Shaker style with inset doors, by Mitchell M. Ward

– Counters: Soapstone at perimeter, maple butcher block on island and granite slab at bake center

– Flooring: Slate

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