It would have been easier to start from scratch, and some professionals might have recommended tearing down this 1,000-square-foot home in historic Webster Groves. But designer Joni Spear and her clients — a young couple with a two-year-old – share a common zeal for ecological living. “They make their own kombucha, and they care about reducing their carbon footprint — and they desperately needed a functional kitchen,” Spear explains.
But smaller isn’t always simpler. Spear created a blank canvas by gutting the original kitchen and its bump-out, taking everything down to the floor joints and studs. Preserving the old home’s structural integrity got a little complicated. “We ended up needing an engineer and an architect,” Spear says, to secure footings on the foundation, join two ceilings, re-size windows and add French doors.
When it was time for the fun part, Spear heated things up with modern farmhouse elements and environmentally friendly touches, including a trash rollout with compartments for recycling and compost. Speaking of functional, Spear custom-designed the muted green cabinetry, using “every inch,” she says, to accommodate an abundance of gadgets, from a Vitamix blender down to tea infusers and reusable water bottles.
When she learned that the homeowners enjoy cooking together, Spear promptly proposed the “Galley,” a hard-working, 5-foot-long sink where the homeowners prep, cook, serve and clean — all in one place. With his-and-her faucets, one spouse can easily cook while the other one cleans.
The homeowners picked out their ASKO dishwasher; the rest of the major appliances are KitchenAid products finished in black stainless, to defy toddler smudges. As a visual bonus, the refrigerator pops against white subway tile embellished, over the cooktop, with a herringbone backsplash. In lieu of marble or granite, Spear recommended concrete for its adventurous, more youthful look. Cork flooring is another green option providing practical elements, too — comfort mainly, as well as durability.
All that was left to do was incorporate modern, farmhouse touches: one-of-a-kind pendants purchased directly from the designer on Etsy, and secondhand chairs found at Miriam Switching Post in Brentwood. A co-worker of one of the homeowners salvaged the 1920s barn wood used in the kitchen table and bench, and a sliding barn door covers the panty, completing the look rather perfectly.