Incorporating Vintage Furniture Into a Kitchen Remodel
We recently added a vintage hutch to the Farmhouse kitchen and it just makes the space. We’re not even done with the remodel yet, but I already know that this hutch (pantry cabinet? setback cupboard?) is one of the things I love best about this kitchen. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the hutch has a beautiful story behind it (you can read that below)! But there’s other reasons too. So today I’m sharing the 6 reasons why we love to add vintage furniture to our kitchen remodels.
Farmhouse Kitchen // all sources here
Why add vintage furniture to a kitchen?
One of my favorite spots for vintage furniture is the kitchen. Seriously, my Pinterest ‘kitchen’ board is filled with kitchens that have incorporated vintage furniture. And here’s why…
It juxtaposes all the shiny, modern elements
So often, kitchens feel shiny and modern, even when you don’t intend them to be. I think it’s something to do with the appliances and metal finishes and expanse of countertops. But adding a vintage piece of furniture can go a long way to off set all that modern.
Stand-alone furniture pieces are often much less expensive than constructing built-ins. This hutch was listed at $1,400 (we got a discount so it ended up being around $1,200), which is way cheaper than custom cabinets and countertops would have been, especially if you have to hire a contractor to install them.
psst: we also added a hutch to our Bryant House kitchen for storage and to solve our narrow-space situation…and best yet, it was a steal on Craigslist!
a Feeling of WARMTH
I think most interior designers would agree that no space is complete without a bit of history in it (I dare you to find one room we’ve renovated that doesn’t have a vintage piece in it!). It can be a vintage rug, a chair, an old photograph or painting, an island or table, or say…a giant hutch! These vintage elements add a feeling of warmth to a space and automatically make the room more welcoming and accessible.
A nod to farm-to-table and the simplicity we like
We like our food to be simple and fresh-from-the-earth and an antique piece of furniture in the kitchen is a nod to that. I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but patina and wavy glass lend a feel of ‘farm-fresh’ and ‘homemade’ like no modern or man-made elements can for me.
Buying vintage > new
One of the best things we can do for the environment is reuse existing things instead of buying new. Vintage furniture is no different. It saves waste from entering the landfill and decreases the number of new products needing to be produced…a win-win.
Every vintage piece has a story (this hutch’s serendipitous story is below) and even if you don’t know the story behind your piece, it’s still pretty special to use something that other people have used for years. This connection to the past is one of the things I like best about old houses!
psst: you can read more of our Farmhouse’s storied history (and see old photos) here!
The story behind our hutch
I shared this story back when we bought the hutch, but I wanted to mention it again because it’s just so good. It’s my favorite old-house story ever! Plus it made me fall in love with our little hometown even more, because this is the kind of thing that could only happen in a small community. Read on for the serendipitous story…
A couple years ago, I was wondering our local antique store (the now defunct Relics) and spotted a beautiful hutch. It was 8’-tall and 5.5’-wide and incredibly solid. The wood looked like it would match perfectly with our Farmhouse's fir woodwork. Actually the entire piece - from the crown molding down to the old latches - looked as if it would fit perfectly at our Farmhouse. But at $1,400 and no immediate need for a pantry cabinet, I couldn't justify the purchase. So I left the store empty handed.
Two months later, I received a hand-written letter in our mailbox from a previous resident of the Farmhouse. She wanted to inform us that there was a large cabinet at the local antique store that had originally belonged in our Farmhouse. It had been in the kitchen many years ago and then later moved to a closet. It had been painted and then stripped. And in recent years, an owner had removed the cabinet from the Farmhouse and placed it on the 3rd story of a local victorian home. Finally it had been brought in to the antique store to be sold on commission.
So obviously I had to go to the antique store.
I would later find out that the cabinet had actually been bought while our letter sat in the mail, but thankfully it was returned before they got it out of the store (it turned out to be too big for the buyer's space). And there were other interested buyers too. But serendipity was on my side. When I went back to the antique store, the store's owner was delighted to find out that I was the new owner of the Farmhouse and walked me over to the piece in question. It was, of course, the pantry cabinet I had fallen in love with all those months ago. Happy to reunite the cabinet with it's original home, the store's owner offered me a discount and I happily brought the cabinet home (with the help of 3 men to get the hutch out of the store😉).
We’ve had the cabinet in our office at first and then the living room, all the while hoping to return it back to the kitchen where it originally began. And last month, we finally did just that!
We still need to replace the latches on the hutch. The upper left one is broken and it’s impossible to find an exact replica. So I got 4 of these unlacquered brass latches from Rejuvenation (they just happened to be the EXACT size as the originals) to replace them with. I’m still debating what to do with the hinges (they’re miss-matched and need polishing) and if I should darken the wood to match all the stained fir molding and built-ins throughout the rest of the house or just let it be in it’s all it’s perfectly patina-ed glory.
We’ve also considered raising the top section of the hutch and mounting it to the wall in order to create a countertop area on this side of the kitchen. This new countertop would surely become a gathering spot for school paper and stuff, but perhaps that’s not so bad. But it’s such a pretty piece just as it is, so we’ll see…
Would love to hear your thoughts!