This past weekend was the Architectural Heritage Center’s Annual Kitchen Revival Tour.  Now in its 14th year, the tour showcases the efforts of Portland homeowners who have restored their home’s kitchens to its original glory.  Most of the homes featured were professional restored by local contractors who concentrate on period homes, however one home’s kitchen was the product of its DIY owner’s own efforts.

In addition to the kitchens, all of the owners were generous enough to open their entire first floor to the tour, so that everyone could gain some stylistic context of the house and appreciate the kitchen even more.  And on top of that, pictures were allowed in all but one home, so I was able to snap a bunch ofphotos of the other public rooms of each house.

The first home we visited was a lovely 1913 Craftsman in Ladd’s Addition.  After a 1970s remodel by a previous owner stripped the kitchen of most of its original fabric (save one cabinet!), the present homeowners worked with designers Charlotte Cooney of Domestic Arts (who I came to find out is also a neighbor of mine!), Kevin Fischer of Alice Design and award-winning local contractor, Hammer & Hand.


Alex Daisley (above right, on right), the project manager from Hammer & Hand, talks to tour-goers about the kitchen’s period stove and other design elements.  Using that one remaining original cabinet as a template, Big Branch Woodworking built the rest of new cabinets to match.


A nook off the main kitchen provides a bright space (above left) for a second sink and storage for lesser-used small appliances, as well as a display wall for the owners collection of antique signage.  Around the corner from the nook is a cozy powder room (above right) adorned with more of the owners’ eclectic art collection.


The double French doors (above left) that divide the living and dining rooms are actually pocket doors that fold back on to themselves and then retract into their respective pockets.  A handsome built-in hutch (above right) and wainscoting contribute to the room’s elegance.  Off the dining room in the alcove is a small study (below).

Hats off to Hammer & Hand for the exceptional job they did on this project – everything ties in seamlessly and looks as though it’s always been there!!

Another house we visited was a 1914 Craftsman (below) in the Richmond neighborhood of SE Portland.  This restoration was spawned by another 1970s remodel by a previous owner that robbed the kitchen of most of its original features…and charm.

The living room (below) is well-appointed with a variety of craftsman furniture and two large colonnades that separate it from the dining room.


In the kitchen (above), contractor Matty Sears and cabinet-maker Gideon Hughes took their cues from a large built-in in the dining room and improvised in other areas.  The counter-tops flanking the sink are soapstone, while on either side of the restored 1950s O’Keefe & Merritt stove the counters are maple butcher block.

One of the last homes we visited on the tour turned out to the be the home of fellow bloggers (and neighbors!) from the Laurelhurst Craftsman Restoration blog.  I knew they were in Laurelhurst, but I didn’t know where.  When I pulled up to the house, I recognized it immediately.  It was great to meet the owners, Jeff and Sharon, and see their recently restored home in the flesh…

The living room woodwork was stripped of paint and refinished to echo its original look.  A mixture of new and antique furniture is found throughout.

Because there were so many people in their kitchen when I was there, I wasn’t able to snap any good pictures, but trust me…it’s gorgeous.  Wade Freitag from Craftsman Design & Renovation did an amazing job.  New fir cabinets, soapstone counters, subway tile, a stunning locally-crafted copper hood, and leaded glass inserts (made by the homeowners) all coalesce to produce a cohesive period look.

The 2012 Architectural Heritage Center’s Kitchen Revival Tour was a lot of fun.  It was great to meet so many like-minded homeowners, designers, and contractors and get some insight into the whole process.  Our restoration has merely scratched the surface – we have a ton of work to do and even more things that we still need to figure out.  Both of us are looking forward to the challenge, but we know it won’t be easy.

Whatever happens, you know I’ll be writing about it here, so stay tuned…!