Before and After: HGTV’s “Farmhouse Fixer” Brightens a 19th Century Home’s Kitchen and Laundry Room
Michelle and Peter spent 16 years saving for a renovation in their Ipswich, Massachusetts farmhouse before they decided that it was time to make some updates. The couple called in farmhouse expert Jonathan Knight to help them give their 1880s home a modern refresh. In the latest episode of HGTV’s “Farmhouse Fixer,” Jonathan and his team tackled several of the house’s problem areas, including the kitchen and mudroom.
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The couple loved the look of their home, especially the exterior, and were most interested in having the interior match their daily needs. “This is a wonderful farmhouse built for the way people lived back in the 1880s,” Peter explained. “And it’s our goal to really try and refresh it, to bring it forward to the way that we live now.”
One main point of contention was the laundry room and mudroom, which was initially located off of the kitchen. The strange placement meant that people would walk through the house to get to it, tracking in mud, hay, and shavings. The ceiling was also too low and the room lacked sufficient natural light.
Jonathan opted to move the mudroom so that it was right near the front door and main entryway, which provided more natural light and higher ceilings. The team installed the washer, dryer, and dark tiling to help make the room as functional as possible. They saved the original black soapstone sink from the kitchen and moved it into the mudroom, where they added a dark, high backsplash and a small counter space. Designer Kristina Crestin explained that the appearance of the sink area made it seem like something that could have been a part of the original build of the house, rather than a recent addition.
While the space that the kitchen was in was a decent size, the main working area in the room was too cramped, with the dishwasher, fridge, and sink all crammed together. Michelle and Peter requested that Jonathan reconfigure the prep space. They also shared that although they had a table in the kitchen, they rarely ate at it, and instead preferred dining at the countertop (which became too tight when their kids came home for a visit).
After completely gutting the kitchen, Jonathan and his team began to rework the space. They removed the old fridge and put a built-in fridge and pantry on the other side of the room. The switch helped open up the space and provide mobility throughout the kitchen. Kristina chose dark blue cabinets, white countertops, and a matching white farmhouse sink. After consulting Michelle and Peter, Kristina picked out a long, leggy island for an optimal dining and prep area. She added a wooden butcher block to the end of the island for an authentic extension to the space and incorporated dark lighting fixtures, which brought out the cabinetry. She also installed beams in the ceiling, which she said helped “farmhouse it up.”
“The colors are amazing,” Michelle said, upon seeing the kitchen for the first time. “I love how it looks old, and yet fresh and new.”
“Farmhouse Fixer” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.