Homeowner transforms 1904 kitchen into a gathering place

Clare Howard

Alice Price's colonial revival home built in 1904 reflects some characteristics of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Colonial home in Massachusetts.

There are clean simple lines, several palladium windows and a boxy facade. Wide, curving garden beds soften the look of the house. Colonial and colonial revival styles, which evolved to contrast with overly ornate Victorian and Queene Anne styles, reflect stately symmetry and parallel lines.

Price appreciates the architecture of the 2,500-square-foot home, but knew when she moved in that the kitchen was completely untenable.

Price is director of support services at Methodist Medical Center, where she oversees food. Professionally and personally, she pursues food preparation and research with focused scholarship.

She bought the home 12 years ago when her son Addison was 2. She's done extensive remodeling throughout the house, but the first project was the kitchen.

The small room had been accessible through a 30-inch door and was isolated from the rest of the house. When Price entertains, she cooks. She likes her guests circulating in the kitchen area.

The kitchen was expanded beyond its original footprint and connects seamlessly with an adjacent room, which was opened up to the front foyer. French doors were added, connecting the kitchen with a back porch and rear brick courtyard.

The courtyard between the back porch and the garage is hung with tiny white lights that help create a festive spot for outdoor entertaining.

"Obviously, I love to cook and entertain. Before the remodel, I had 3 feet of counter space. Now I have a breakfast bar and over 20 feet of counter space," she said.

"I have granite countertops and cherry cabinets. I'm contemporary, but it was important to respect the age of the house. The cabinets look like pieces of fine furniture."

Rather than formal dining rooms, the American lifestyle is moving families and guests into the kitchen, Price said.

She can easily accommodate groups of 40 that can spill out from the house onto the back porch and courtyard. The space is designed so she can also set up two 8-foot tables in the center for large sit-down dinners for regularly scheduled events with area chefs.

The kitchen has a GE Profile wall oven with a proofer for breads and cinammon rolls, a double-doored GE Profile refrigerator-freezer and an Advantium GE microwave that cooks at the speed of a microwave but also browns meats and caramelizes. She has a Jenn-Air stove top with center grill, broiler and vent.

A bank of windows looks out at the courtyard and skylights add to the natural light in the room.

"Part of updating a 1904 house is making it useful for today's lifestyles," she said, pointing to her computer and desk on one side of the kitchen.

Journal Star writer Clare Howard can be reached at choward@pjstar.com.