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Modern Twist on Vintage Design

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Sandra Kicman

In a stately, Buffalo, New York residence, a family of five loves spending time in the active hub of their home. Comprised of the kitchen and dining area, it is an open space awash with natural light. A bright interior pops with bright, cheerful colors that connect visually to the outdoor living and pool area. The space feels clean, modern, and above all, highly functional for their contemporary lifestyle.
   It was not always like this. Prior to the current rendition, the hub was an assembly of small, awkward rooms that reflected the home’s antiquated sensibilities. The homeowners, architect, Trish Bailey of Bailey & Harris Architects, and interior designer, Mark Taylor of Mark Taylor Interiors, had to convert the nearly 100-year-old home into something workable for a large, busy family; all while honoring the stately craftsmanship built in the style of a historic Tudor.
    “The original residence, built in 1923, was designed by a notable firm,” says Bailey.  “It is a beautifully crafted, traditional building with great ancestry. Whatever we did in our intervention, we had to respect that,”  she says thoughtfully.

A Loving Nudge
It turned out that the targeted renovation areas were reconfigured in the 1970s. Only a few of the original elements remained underneath the veneer of the post, mid-century re-design. The original butler’s pantry had been repurposed to include a laundry room that blocked the view to the pool outside. A large chimney, a mechanical necessity in the 1920s, occupied the kitchen’s center thus clogging up space and sight lines. The original cabinets had been replaced with laminate.
    To nudge the space into the current century, Bailey removed walls to eliminate the sense of compartmentalization. The butler’s pantry, an elegant part of the home’s vintage, was returned to a service space for water, coffee, and drinks. However, it is now open in a way the old one never experienced.
    The chimney, which served no purpose, was removed. The laundry room moved upstairs and its walls were taken down. The newly opened space hosts a breakfast and dining area marked with a long table and banquette that comfortably accommodates 12 people. The wall separating the old laundry room from the hallway was reconceived as a half wall. Bailey also added a discrete, functional garage to the floor plan that connects to the  kitchen through a mudroom.
    “The kitchen is centrally located. It’s now opened up from a bunch of tiny kitchen rooms into an expansive eat-in kitchen and dining area that connects to the garage addition and the outdoor space,”  explains Taylor. Bailey says, “There is natural light, good circulation and traffic flow.”

Materials and Space
The natural materials are authentic to the home’s heritage. The kitchen island’s double-thick Carrara marble punctuates the meeting of traditional elegance with modernity’s sleeker lines. The pendant light capping the island mirrors this juxtaposition with its traditional shape but fresh, all-glass appearance. Restoration Hardware barstools in a  in a black oak drifted finish pick up the Carrara marble. 
    “I love having a big island! We really maxed out what we could do with it,” says the homeowner.
    The kitchen’s perimeter counters are made of soapstone. The exceptionally long, narrow, wood dining table provides an elegant austerity. Its unusual shape accommodates intimate dinners and family card games as well as large gatherings. A local craftsman made the cabinets.
    Black, white, and grays are the dominant colors. The neutral background accentuates the vibrant, snappy colors in the artwork, fruit bowl, and ever-present fresh flowers. 

Bailey & Harris Architects   
Homestone Tile Gallery  
Italian Marble & Granite
Markarian Rugs   
Mark Taylor Interiors

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