Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Remodeling the Heart of a Home Dreaming about Improving Your Dreamhouse? Here Are a Bundle of Books to Make Those Dreams Practical

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Remodeling the Heart of a Home Dreaming about Improving Your Dreamhouse? Here Are a Bundle of Books to Make Those Dreams Practical

Article excerpt

THE COUNTRY LIVING BOOK OF COUNTRY KITCHENS

By Bo Niles

Hearst Books, 143 pp., $29.95

HOUSE BEAUTIFUL: KITCHENS

Edited by Margaret Kennedy

Text by Carol Sama Sheehan

Hearst Books 155 pp., $22

BOB VILA'S WORKSHOP:

By Bob Vila

Morrow

24 pp., $29.95

Kitchen Makeovers

Not so long ago, the American kitchen was an architecturally uninspired place confined to a small room, walled off from the rest of the home - a place to prepare food, and that's all. Not so any more.

As it was in Colonial times, today's kitchen is again the heart of the home, a place where the meal is cooked and also eaten, where the family gathers and friends are informally entertained. In many ways it has taken over the social functions of both the living room and the dining room. As likely as not, today's kitchen will also house a TV and, increasingly, the home computer as well.

Where space is at a premium, a necessarily tiny kitchen will be open to the rest of the home so the effect is much the same. Architects who once gave short shrift to the kitchen now make it a principal feature of their designs, and realtors claim that a kitchen with character will often clinch the sale of a home.

So where does that leave those of us with a 1950s home and a kitchen typical of that era? Well, there are books with a slew of good ideas. Two publications from Hearst Books are outstanding for the number of examples of how older, uninspired rooms, were renovated to meet the needs and gather-in-the-kitchen lifestyles of today: House Beautiful: Kitchens and The Country Living Book of Country Kitchens.

Both provide a range of design ideas and building information for renovation or new construction. Lavishly illustrated, they are also good examples of the printer's art.

"House Beautiful" begins with a look into three styles of kitchen: sleek contemporary; the never-out-of-fashion country kitchen; and tailor-made designs to meet specific needs or limitations imposed by the existing building.

Part 2 deals with the elements of design - the all-important layout, appliances, storage options, color, and the availability of surface finishes. Decorative touches make up the final chapter.

Not every example cited involves a total remake of the kitchen as in the case of the 1885 California farmhouse cited in the chapter, "Something Borrowed, Something New."

"It's tempting when remodeling an old kitchen sadly in need of an update," says author Carol Sama Sheehan, "to simply gut the interior and start from scratch." But she cautions that a more moderate approach often makes sense "especially if a room has vintage architectural elements worth preserving."

In a similar vein, the author shows elsewhere that decorative details can remake a kitchen without a single structural change. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.