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Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo...

Posted by theresse (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 16, 10 at 4:52

Is that a silly question? Every time I see a pre-1920's real photo of a kitchen I don't see the curved feet on the kitchen furniture and I'm having fun being as period-accurate (within reason) as possible.

In some kitchens back then they actually had built-ins below and above - in craftsman houses. In those cases they have no feet and tend to just have a lot of straight, clean lines. Just molding beneath if even that (flush kickplate - if that's the correct term) w/ inset doors.

Like this:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/americanvintagehome/4509393830/in/set-72157607551455760/

and this:
http://www.historichouseparts.com/images/VKC0411-07b.jpg

What to do... Anyone have a clue? I'll attach a pic of my kitchen as it is now. The upper cabinets are original.

Thanks!

p.s. Here are some fun pics by the way, if you're into similarly old houses:

http://www.shorpy.com/image/tid/205

and http://www.mckendry.net/GALLERY_OF_IMAGES/GALLERY_OF_IMAGES_4.htm

Here is a link that might be useful: My kitchen (the pot rack and light will be replaced w/ 1 light)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

Are you asking if there should be a kick space?


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

I love the links! They are so fun!

It's my understanding that kitchens during that time were basically free standing furniture, there were few built-ins in the kitchen. In many homes, kitchens were also a place for servants, or at least not a place that company ever went, so they had the simplest furniture. I would assume that they would have straight feet, not the more expensive curved.

Your kitchen is lovely. I love those old uppers! I would say, if you are trying to be as period accurate as possible, having your cabinets painted white is not accurate for that time. However, it does look lovely. I'm not yet ready to strip our butlers' pantry, so I've painted it white for now, knowing that someday I'll get it back to the lovely wood it was.

Our home is from 1898 and we are in the process of re-doing it. We're almost done, this is what we did for our kitchen ( I apologize if you've seen these before) uppers and lowers:

Photobucket

The uppers are based on our pantry, the lowers are salvaged beadboard from a porch ceiling, we just finished them with quarter-round.

Good luck, and great kitchen!


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

I presume you are planning on keeping the uppers, right? They are terrific! I think that I'd do straight feet, not curved. As for a toe-kick, you don't have to do one. Go to the finished kitchens blog and look up MaryLynnNC's kitchen. It is one of my favorites. I think it was her that extended the overhang on her countertops to compensate for not doing a toe-kick on the base cabs.

Our home is 1913 also, but alas we had NO old cabinets at all. Keep us posted on what you do, it will be fun to watch.

BTW autumngal, I LOVE your uppers and shelf valance above. What species of wood are your cabs?

Here is a link that might be useful: MaryLynnNC's kitchen


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

macv, sorry - I meant under lower cabinets - not under counter. I think the space is called kickplate but I could be wrong.

autumngal - that's a beautiful kitchen! Looks very period-appropriate. I haven't seen that pic before (and would love to see more)!

Even in 1913 they had all built-ins in the kitchens IF they were craftsman. In our neck of the woods - the Northwest and particularly in my neighborhood - this wasn't uncommon though I understand it was less common in other parts of the country. I agree about the straight feet and feel stuck! My poor contractor made drawings based on what I'd asked before (curved feet) and now I feel bad having to ask for something different, darn it. But I think the simple curved feet (not ornate - very simple) are more for 1920's kitchens.

Thank you!


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plugmold so neat

And this stuff from Mary Lynn's kitchen, gotta try this when we redo our kitchen:
plugmold on back of island


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

If you are designing the lower cabinets to look like free-standing units rather than one solid run, then straight feet are period. There were some short sections of cabinets, but they had no toe kick at all. Sinks were often cast iron, with open space below for storage, maybe a section with doors to one side. The drain was disguised by a curtain. A bit later, this area could be hidden by cabinet doors.
My house (1908) has the original pantry--a 9 x 6 area with a door in one corner; opposite the door and centered on the outside wall is a window with regular double hung sashes. To the right of the door is a cast iron sink with drainboards nearly 6 feet long with three upper cabinets to the ceiling (space under sink is entirely open). The long wall opposite the door has a china cabinet to ceiling in the left corner with a potato bin next to it, then a cabinet with one door closest to the sink.
The cabinet doors in the long section are flat panel with an X design carved in with latches, the upper cabinets above sink have raised panel doors with latches and butterfly hinges. The china cabinet also has two glass doors to show china, with a turn latch.
Not a toe kick anywhere to be seen.
Curiously, I have a 1918 range which sits on 3 foot tall cabriole legs--four burners with a broiler and range stacked to their right. :)


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

Kimkitchy - Sorry, I didn't see your response before! I'd love to see pics of your kitchen even if nothing else was original. I've had SO much fun with that "wicked" year that I love any and all things 1913. ;) I even got silly enough to buy a 1913 newspaper ad from ebay a few days ago that shows all kitchen furniture in mission oak! I thought it would be fun to frame and hang on the annoying chimney in our kitchen - the one I can't afford to have taken out yet! To see it, go to ebay and type in item # 120582995669.

Oh of course I'm keeping those original uppers! I've been putting a lot of thought into it (unfortunately I put a lot of thought into most of these ridiculous kitchen details...my friends and family are so annoyed!) and I agree with you that I should have the feet/legs be straight. Whew - got that decision out of the way!

I saw Mary Lynn's photos which are beautiful, thank you! I couldn't afford to lose the space of the overhang (literally a door would bang into it) but otherwise that's a good idea.

Columbusguy1 - Ummm...HELLO? Pics please!!! You can't go into all that lavish detail and not show a picture or two! No fair!! ;)

We also have a wall that's almost 100% cabinetry from floor to ceiling - including spice rack cabinet and ironing door cabinet, etc. Only thing that's not cabinet is molding or else the door to the mudroom. No toe kick there either. I should say: now that I understand the real definition of toe kick! I originally thought toe kick was the part you actually kick due to their NOT being a recess! But I guess that part's just called the toe!

Here's a pic of the wall that's all cabinetry from floor to ceiling:

Here is a link that might be useful: The wall that has all cabinetry to the floor


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

About that pic from above (my kitchen), I forgot to say: note the bright green mudroom! It's a snappy light green color but the florescent bulb my husband put in there makes the green look quite a bit stranger at night! Also - if I didn't say it earlier - the pot rack and light in ceiling will be gone and replaced w/ a more appropriate ceiling light. Hopefully someday, a nice stove, too. The island's top will be replaced in the next few weeks w/ edge-grain butcher block and the new counter (on the right where it's now demo'd) will be a not-too-thick looking but heavy-gauge stainless w/ white Shaws farm sink and wall-mounted faucet. I sort of wish I'd looked harder for a less common sink now but oh well! The backsplash will be 2x6 honed calacatta marble subway tile w/ extra busy looking pieces removed so it will stay fairly subtle. Cabinets will either stay white or else turned cream colored. Nothing very brave, but all a vast improvement compared to before (and will go well w/ the rest of the house)!


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RE: straight or curved? photo..

Okay I came up w/ a solution. Please - someone - tell me you approve (so in need of approval here, especially cause i have so little experience!). Again, it's a mostly original craftsman kitchen (albeit painted wood), especially w/ regard to original built-ins.

I can compromise by blending both the original craftsman style w/ a newer (trendy - yet efficient, and also somewhat period-appropriate) style by having the counters that are the original depth (somewhere between 21 and 22" deep) and the new bump-out depth of 24", come together under one countertop. It would blend the craftsman flush-to-floor look for the shallower-depth parts, w/ the toe kick-with-feet furniture look for the bump-out. So it would go, from left to right of that long counter (that will have a farm sink in the middle): shallow on far left end, then wide bump-out, then shallow again on the far right side. Or put another way: craftsman flush to floor so door to mudroom won't be blocked, then toe kick w/ straight feet in the middle of the room to accommodate modern things, then flush to floor again so door to dining room won't be blocked. What do you think?? Sorry for being overly-detailed but without a picture/drawing I wanted to be clear.

My reasoning is that I'd be incorporating the look of the other wall's flush to floor built-ins, under the same counter as the more efficient and "furniture look" conveniences of the bump-out. In so doing I'd get the toe kick in the area I'd work the most, and it would better define that bump-out space, making it look more deliberate and less like an "oops oh well" kind of a thing. Does that make sense? Usually it seems you see it one way or another: either all toe kick w/ feet along one long wall (regardless of bump-out) or all flush to floor look, as in Mary Lynn's case. So I'd be doing something I haven't seen before which makes me nervous but again, would incorporate the two looks...bring it all together.


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

I love this thread! It's like the kitchen forum for old house crazed people, fantastic!

theresse, your kitchen is just amazing, I love the wall of cabinets and the mudroom. I'd love to see more of your home, please post more photos of it! I have to confess, I don't completely understand your plans for your kitchen, but what I do understand of it sounds like a great compromise.

Thank you for your kind words on my kitchen. It's mostly done, but, of course, there are a few things left. I'll post the link to the photobucket album.

Kimkitchy, thank you also for your kind words! Lots of the wood is salvaged, so I'm not sure what it is. The new wood is a pretty simple mix of cherry, pine, and cabinet-grade plywood. Under the paint throughout our home and on our staircase is this dark wood, which is where we got the stain color from.

Keep us posted on things!

Here is a link that might be useful: Autumngal's almost done kitchen


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

Theresse, I'll try to get good pics--my camera is pretty crappy but I'll do my best. Gotta clear out some mess first also...the cat box lives under the pantry sink. :)
I am not sure, but I think my pantry cabinets were always painted--I took off the hinges and latches to clean them, and there was bare wood underneath with no sign of stain--I hope to strip them down and stain them at some point, so the x-detail is hard to see.
One thing I forgot--my center upper in pantry has an opening for ventilation to the outside, which makes me think it might have been used to store pastry? It closes with a wooden door outside, and a metal hinged one which opens with a pull-chain. The quirks of old houses!
Attached is a pic of my old house--it's a crappy city auditor pic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Exterior


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

Thanks autumngal. :) You convinced me to FINALLY find my old Flickr acct. and post some pics of the house. A lot of the pics were taken for other reasons but I had them on file so that made it easy. The link's at the bottom of this post.

I've been looking at your Flickr acct. again and I'm starting to think I HAVE seen your pics before. I remember the tin ceiling making quite an impression! In fact I often think of your kitchen when I visualize how my mudroom might look like when the wall comes down and it gets turned into more of an eating space attached to the kitchen. It has lower ceilings than the kitchen. I just love all the little details in your kitchen. Love those open shelves and the homemade jars at the very top! Nice countertop too. I almost did wood but chickened out in the end (hopefully I won't regret doing stainless).

columbusguy1 - same thing - sort of - happened to me a couple of days ago. My contractor removed the last of the lower cabinets and when he did, the one on the right (seen in pics attached below on Flickr) showed that the wood trim to the right of the kitchen-to-dining room door had never been painted! I can't make sense of it. I guess the two most likely scenarios are that the kitchen was once unpainted but with a finish over the wood - but the finish (or whatever you call it) wasn't applied until after the lower cabinets were put in, which is a little odd. Or, it wasn't ever finished wood and was part of that whole "sterile" movement back about a hundred years ago and was always painted a lighter color perhaps. Although I couldn't find white paint on the walls. The oldest color seems to be a light sage-avocado kind of color (not unlike the color mine is now actually - though maybe lighter and maybe with a hair bit more gold in it?) and then the color over that is a sort of cherry pink!! Perhaps way back then the cupboards were painted white re. the sterile phase. Maybe someday I'll find out if we remove layers of paint on them.

At any rate it's particularly odd because whichever way the woodwork was, the door trim - like I was saying - is unfinished wood below countertop height. So whatever used to be there, originally went all the way to the end of the door trim (about 21 or 22"). But I always assumed the crappy, unoriginal lower cabinets' presence meant there originally was nothing below except like a wall-mounted old sink and maybe the kind of wooden countertop that rests on wall brackets and has a lip sitting on top of the sink's mouth on either side. This lack of paint or finish on the door trim indicates there WERE built-ins below. So WHY OH WHY are they missing now? Almost the whole house is original and in good-enough shape that I can't understand why those cabs are missing. Am I missing something re. that unpainted door frame/trim? So odd...

Lastly I just wanted to say that one of my upper cabinets also has a hole for letting some air in. My grandmother's house used to have one too and she called it a "cooler." I agree it was probably acting as a pie safe of sorts or else even helped chill extra food in the winter (?). Mine doesn't have a door on the outside of the house though - although there's siding there so who knows what's under there!

I would love to see a pic of that pastry-storing cabinet of yours!! And the rest, so get on it please! ;)

Here are more pics of my house:

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of house, living room, dining room, nook, kitchen


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RE: Should 1913 feet under counter be straight or curved? photo..

Thanks autumngal. :) You convinced me to FINALLY find my old Flickr acct. and post some pics of the house. A lot of the pics were taken for other reasons but I had them on file so that made it easy. The link's at the bottom of this post.

I've been looking at your Flickr acct. again and I'm starting to think I HAVE seen your pics before. I remember the tin ceiling making quite an impression! In fact I often think of your kitchen when I visualize how my mudroom might look like when the wall comes down and it gets turned into more of an eating space attached to the kitchen. It has lower ceilings than the kitchen. I just love all the little details in your kitchen. Love those open shelves and the homemade jars at the very top! Nice countertop too. I almost did wood but chickened out in the end (hopefully I won't regret doing stainless).

columbusguy1 - same thing - sort of - happened to me a couple of days ago. My contractor removed the last of the lower cabinets and when he did, the one on the right (seen in pics attached below on Flickr) showed that the wood trim to the right of the kitchen-to-dining room door had never been painted! I can't make sense of it. I guess the two most likely scenarios are that the kitchen was once unpainted but with a finish over the wood - but the finish (or whatever you call it) wasn't applied until after the lower cabinets were put in, which is a little odd. Or, it wasn't ever finished wood and was part of that whole "sterile" movement back about a hundred years ago and was always painted a lighter color perhaps. Although I couldn't find white paint on the walls. The oldest color seems to be a light sage-avocado kind of color (not unlike the color mine is now actually - though maybe lighter and maybe with a hair bit more gold in it?) and then the color over that is a sort of cherry pink!! Perhaps way back then the cupboards were painted white re. the sterile phase. Maybe someday I'll find out if we remove layers of paint on them.

At any rate it's particularly odd because whichever way the woodwork was, the door trim - like I was saying - is unfinished wood below countertop height. So whatever used to be there, originally went all the way to the end of the door trim (about 21 or 22"). But I always assumed the crappy, unoriginal lower cabinets' presence meant there originally was nothing below except like a wall-mounted old sink and maybe the kind of wooden countertop that rests on wall brackets and has a lip sitting on top of the sink's mouth on either side. This lack of paint or finish on the door trim indicates there WERE built-ins below. So WHY OH WHY are they missing now? Almost the whole house is original and in good-enough shape that I can't understand why those cabs are missing. Am I missing something re. that unpainted door frame/trim? So odd...

Lastly I just wanted to say that one of my upper cabinets also has a hole for letting some air in. My grandmother's house used to have one too and she called it a "cooler." I agree it was probably acting as a pie safe of sorts or else even helped chill extra food in the winter (?). Mine doesn't have a door on the outside of the house though - although there's siding there so who knows what's under there!

I would love to see a pic of that pastry-storing cabinet of yours!! And the rest, so get on it please! ;)

Here are more pics of my house:

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of house, living room, dining room, nook, kitchen


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