Susan has one of those wonderful, sun-drenched, high-ceilinged old apartments that is filled with charming antiques and flowers from her country garden. On any given day, vegetables from the same are ripening on the counter. It’s a cozy and welcoming home, but her 1980s formica kitchen was on its last legs, and compared to the other rooms, an eyesore. It would have been a tragedy to install sleek new cabinets, which would have made the lovingly broken-in walls and floors look worn. It didn’t make financial sense to do a gut renovation; what was called for was a sensitive update that would make the whole place look fresh. When I walked in and saw her vintage sideboard, with its warm chestnut color, I knew we had our inspiration. New cabinets, made from reclaimed and hand-distressed Douglas fir, look as though they’d been built back in the day. Now the kitchen fits with the rest of the home and makes efficient use of the tiny but tall space.

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To view the photo gallery for this project, please click here.