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Handmade Kitchens from The Workshops of David T. Smith

Primitive Kitchen

This is one of most interesting kitchens we’ve done. This house in Maine, built in 1720, was the Miller’s house. The mill, still standing, is situated adjacent to this early cape. This style of house in Maine is known as a “Big House - Little House - Back House – Barn”. Early homes were designed this way in consideration of the harsh winters and the chores involved in caring for the livestock.

The house was recently purchased by a descendant of those who lived in the house around 1850. This couple decided to undertake the task of restoring the house to its original condition and adding modern conveniences to make it a more comfortable home. The Workshops was entrusted with the task of designing a functional kitchen that would match the architecture of the house, and look like it had been there since the day the home was built.

The basis for our Primitive style kitchen design was a photo I had of an original 1700 Maine kitchen that had been sold at an antique show in the 80’s. Plank doors, flush drawers, straight primitive feet, simple cove crown moldings, and crusty paint were all essential to the design. The hand planed ¾” and 1¼” curly maple countertops, finished in a brown stain with an oil finish, the open pantry shelves, the primitive clothespin wooden knobs, and a soapstone sink with a brass faucet helped to bring it all together.

Each and every appliance is hidden behind cabinetry. When you walk into the kitchen there isn’t a hint of the 21st century.

We also designed a custom vanity and replaced a pewter cupboard and a buttery cupboard that had been torn out and sold by some greedy antique dealers in the past. Our pieces replace these originals in their exact locations and designs.

I believe the house is pleased with our work.

David T. Smith
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