The New Bungalow Kitchen
The Taunton Press
THIS HANDSOME BOOK IS described by its publisher as a guide to remodeling (or building) a “new” bungalow-style kitchen that incorporates the most up-to-date 21st-century amenities (think Viking ranges. Sub-Zero refrigerators and home offices). It draws on 17 bungalow-style kitchens designed or renovated by II architects to illustrate live groups of design considerations a bungalow owner faces in redoing a kitchen: (1) reconfiguring or adding space. (2) creating. renovating or restoring the interior shell. (3) storage and workspace considerations. (4) appliances and fixtures and (5) lighting, heating and hardware.
“From their inception more than 100 years go.” writes architect and author Peter LaBau. “bungalow houses were specifically designed to integrate beauty with practicality, warmth with efficiency. Strongly influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century. original bungalows were small jewels thai allowed their inhabitants to live easily and openly in lovely. comfortable homes. The bungalow style has made a major comeback over the last decade. both in the restoration and renovation of old Bungalow houses and in the design and building of new ones. It’s no wonder that the Bungalow style is enjoying a rebirth. And nowhere is that rebirth more welcome or exquisitely played out than in the new bungalow-style kitchen.”
The older, renovated kitchens LaBau discusses combine the best of old and new elements. In one, a large double-basin soapstone sink sits beside a new double dishwasher. In another, an antique display cabinet from an old general store has been refashioned into a kitchen island. Built-in microwave ovens and under-the-counter wine refrigerators coexist with dark-stained oak cabinetry and painted bead- board wainscots. One renovation that LaBau uses repeatedly to illustrate several features is Joseph Meizler’s seamless redesign of the kitchen in a 1916 Sears Ashmore kit house in Minneapolis. which Metzler recently wrote about in this magazine (see Issue 53. Spring 2007. page 110).
If anything defines the “new” bungalow kitchen for LaBau. it is how architects—at least, the II whose projects are showcased here—have embraced the de facto integration of this room with the rest of the house, not only in how they have dispensed with the “fourth wall” that once separated the kitchen from the rest of the house but in how they are importing materials and finishes—in both vintage and reproduction form — that bestow on the kitchen the same sense of authenticity that marks an old bungalow’s other interior spaces. Everything in this new kitchen —walls, ceilings, tile, fixtures. flooring—is either continuous with or directly complements similar elements elsewhere in the house.
In his introduction, LaBau writes. ‘No other book has attempted to show how the Bungalow aesthetic can be interpreted in this most hardworking room of the house until The New Bungalow Kitchen.” That may be true in a literal sense: Jane Powell did not claim to be doing specifically that when she wrote Bungalow Kitchens, nor did Paul Duchscherer when he wrote Bungalow Backs: Kitchens. But those books must he considered companions (at least) to this one— Duchscherer’s as a kind of sampler and Powell’s as a more detailed version of LaBau’s. aimed more at the realities, challenges and rewards of upgrading an old kitchen.
The New Bungalow Kitchen should not be taken as a practical guide for a bungalow owner faced with renovating or restoring a vintage bungalow kitchen. As a survey of the bungalow-style work of 11 contemporary architects, however. and as a confirmation (if any were needed) that bungalow style is alive and well, it certainly has its place.