Magazine article Sunset

Past Perfect: This Kitchen Recaptures the Past, Smartly Using Salvaged Vintage Materials

Magazine article Sunset

Past Perfect: This Kitchen Recaptures the Past, Smartly Using Salvaged Vintage Materials

Article excerpt

TO MAKE AN OLD KITCHEN workable, you needn't yank it forcefully into the present. Instead, like former decorator Joan Reeves, you might let it lead you back to an era of fine materials, burnished wood floors, well-used tables, and casement windows. You might conclude that a simple sun-washed room is a version of bliss, especially when paired with lots of workspace and a couple of showstopper antiques.

"I love comfort and calm," Reeves says, "and I love old houses." The California native returned to Los Angeles in 1997 after 20 years on the East Coast. Her 1930s cottage, which she renovated with salvaged bits from vintage houses, is French Normandy-style with an Arts and Crafts soul. Its airy rooms flow together informally, linked by white walls, crafted woodwork, and access to leafy gardens. Her style is elegant yet basic--bamboo and wicker furnishings, welcoming reading nooks, and uncluttered surfaces. "My goal was nothing precious," Reeves says.

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As is the case in many homes, Reeves's kitchen is the true heart of the house. …

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