This project designed by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design was a kitchen remodel, and new furnishings for a Mediterranean style house, built in the 1920s of white clay bricks, which was an unusual housing type for Portland, Oregon.
New furniture includes vintage chairs in the dining room, reupholstered in brightly colored felt, a 10′ long vintage bench upholstered in an antique morrocan rug, a JHID-designed coffee table made of walnut ‘bricks’ an echo of the brick architecture. The curtains in the living room are hemp, with a border made from antique suzani tapestries. A painting in the living room is from Portland artist Alison O’Donoghue.
The kitchen was originally divided into a breakfast room and kitchen, and the kitchen was further encumbered by an island with less than 30″ of clearance on either side of it. The kitchen was closed off from the dining room by a narrow doorway. It had probably been remodeled in the 60s or 70s and had unattractive oak cabinets mounted onto a dropped soffit that lowered the perceived height of the kitchen, and closed it in.
The clients wanted to open the space up, while retaining the ability to eat in the kitchen, and give it a fresh feeling more in keeping with the architecture of the house. The island was removed and the wall between the kitchen and breakfast room.
A dynamic material palette of encaustic concrete tiles was selected for the floor and locally hand-made ceramic tiles for the walls. A built-in window seat plus two stools allows the family of four to comfortably eat in the kitchen.
A whole wall of cabinetry was designed around the refrigerator, which provided enough storage to forgo upper cabinets at the sink and range.
Painted, rough-sawn beams create visual interest on the ceiling. The counters are solid, thick walnut slabs from locally felled trees. The reclaimed iron bases were found at a local salvage yard and a slab of marble was cut to serve as a tall table and additional counter space.
An adjacent back entry was reconfigured to create a useful little mudroom, and in the space between the two designed a thick arched opening with shelves for cookbooks and a pull-out broom closet.
The hand made ceramic pendant lights are the same shade of cool, slightly purple-grey as the concrete floors.
The designer opened up a large arched opening between the kitchen and dining room to better link the two spaces.
Photos: Lincoln Barbour