House Tour Part 5: The Kitchen

THE KITCHEN FOR THIS 1826 HOUSE was originally located in a separate, 2-story wing. That wing, as I mentioned in Part 4 of our House Tour,  was gutted in 1975 by non-preservation-minded owners. These same owners turned the dining room into a kitchen. When we came along in 2002, we restored the dining room to its former glory.  And where did we locate the kitchen? Why, behind the door at the end of the long entrance hall. Would you like to see the room?

There were two good reasons for placing the kitchen in this room.   First, it is completely private; and next, a  “secret” passage  behind the room leads, rather conveniently,  to the dining room. This passageway would allow the footman who attends us during meals to travel quietly between kitchen and dining room.

That footman exists only in my dreams.

Oh, to have a footman.

Pictured above  is the view when you first enter the kitchen. The windows are framed in mahogany. Set between the two windows is a dresser. The dresser holds my serving platters.

The wallpaper is more bedroom-like than kitchen-like.  It was hung in the 1990s by a previous owner who used the space for — guess what —  a bedroom.  Because the paper was in fine shape, I did not bother to remove it.

If you turn to the left, you will find the room is kitted-out for cooking.  True, the facility is not high-end. But it is definitely functional.

After cooking in tiny New York City kitchens for 30 years, functionality is all that I require.

As you can see, I store my over-sized stockpots and Dutch ovens above the bank of cabinets. And for ease of cleaning, I keep the counter tops free of clutter.

I do not have a proper work-island. But I do have a wooden “work station,” obtained (for a song)  from a store that sells unfinished furniture.  On the station’s top is the marble slab I use for all of my bread- and pastry-making projects. To the left is the large wooden cutting board I use for vegetables. (I use plastic, easy-to-sanitize boards for dealing with meat, poultry and fish.)

Attached to the station are lots of hooks and nails. These permit my measuring cups, saucepans, sieves, and other essentials to be kept within easy reach.

Also within easy reach are the glass measuring cups. They are suspended from the towel rack on the work-station. (I learned from a rather unpleasant experience to never “nest” glass measures — they can stick together.)

To the right of the work-station, and also within easy grasp, are the baking items I use daily.

Please note that I label my canisters.  This way, my make-believe sous chef won’t accidentally fill the all-purpose flour bin with granulated sugar.

On the east wall of the room is a long, unbroken counter. This sits atop a bank of large cabinets and drawers.

Personally, I don’t think a kitchen can have too many drawers.  I prefer them to cabinets for keeping odds and ends organized — and out of sight.

For instance, a deep drawer houses my baking sheets and cooling racks.

Another drawer holds the rings I use for English Muffin-making. It also holds a grand assortment of biscuit cutters, funnels, and my few cake pans. I use plastic tubs to keep the smaller items corralled within the drawer.

Another drawer is devoted exclusively to muffin tins. And so on and so forth.

Well, as I said, you can never have too many drawers.

Above the counter is a bank of cabinets. The doors on these are from the 19th century. They were salvaged from cabinetry that a previous owner dismantled — but mercifully saved — from another room in the house.

Suspended beneath the cabinets are  fluorescent light fixtures. Some years, these  provide “sunlight” for potted herbs.

During other winters, the lights keep my African violets in a constant state of bloom. Earlier, I mentioned a passageway behind the kitchen.   This leads to a 19th century pantry on the left,  and a mud-room (and back door to the garden) on the right. But if you continue straight ahead, through the white door, you will stumble into the dining room.

And by the way, that non-public passageway is a great convenience during dinner parties. While guests are busy enjoying cocktails in the parlor, I’m able to set the table, light the fire, and fill the soup bowls without being detected.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour.

Please forgive me for exposing my drawers.

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Garlic Soup
Purple Poulet (chicken in red wine)


  1. badger gardener says:

    So this is where all that magic happens! A full pantry must be awesome and I love the secret route to the dining room.

    Hooks and nails on the work station, that is genius. I have a store bought one too and am going to look at it right now and see where I can add some functionality. Thanks for the tour!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing an importants part of your world! What a fun tour 😉

  3. George Allen says:

    Quite nice. I hate clutter – knick knacks and unnecessary but cutsy items – but seem to keep living with too much of it. Love that your kitchen is arranged with so much open counter space and lots of storage space to separate out the different kids of utinsels.

    Well done.

  4. OMG your drawers are so organized. You would die if you saw mine. But I agree that you can never have too many drawers. I also love hooks and hangers for keeping things close by that I use often. Your kitchen is so gorgeous. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  5. TONI KITCHEN says:

    Kevin, I really like this site and all your home pics. Mostly I enjoy all your tips and ideas.
    thank you for keeping it coming.
    Toni Kitchen
    Tailoring by Toni

  6. Fantastic kitchen, Kevin. Had to zoom in to the wallpaper–it is the same as the wallpaper my sister and I hung in her dining room in the early 1990s. Hers is still hanging, too, even though she has changed nearly all the other paper we hung (we did her whole house as practice, then did it as a business for several years.)

  7. Love it! Such deep history in homes over “yonder” on the east coast. Looking out the window in one of your shots, I noticed all the lush, beautiful GREEN. Out here in the California Central Valley, it was over 100 degrees last week! Poor little plants are so stressed. Your home and yard are gorgeous. I love reading your postings. Thank you for caring about and promoting the beauty in our world. :>)

  8. Love the tour! I would have left the wallpaper too as the green looks great with the wooden cabinets. Even though it might be from the 90’s it is a repro from an older time. I have shown my baking cupboard and my spice cabinet on my blog. You have inspired me to post more. Many people don’t understand that being organized and simplified in your kitchen makes it so much easier to get a lot of cooking done. I love the mix you have of old and new. I think you have probably inspired many people to organize their kitchens! All you need now are some pegboards with outlines of your pots and you could be like Julia!

  9. to die for……….

  10. I just found you a couple of weeks back and feel I’ve found a kindred spirit. Would you mind telling me about your counter tops?

  11. Enjoyed the tour a lot…keep these coming….

  12. WOW….thanks for the tour!!! gonna steal/borrow some of the drawer ideas…why didn’t i think of that??

  13. I agree with you on having a functional kitchen. I also think drawers are great and I was very fortunate that the lower cabinets and the pantry cabinet in my kitchen all came with pull out shelves. Wow, what a difference that makes. No dragging everything out trying to find that pan you need stored at the back. Everything is right where you can see it. Love it and I love the tour of your kitchen. It’s really beautiful.

  14. Lovely and practical, too. Love the gorgeous wood.

  15. Thanks for the wonderful tour. I wish I had that much space. I love your home. Old things have such a wonderful history.

  16. Gay Ayyagari says:

    Ahhh…at last we can see your great functional kitchen. Wish I had all that drawer space. Our newer home has cabinets almost as high as the ceilings but not enough big drawers. Thanks for opening your home to us. And I look forward to your recipes always!

  17. Mary Bacilieri says:

    Hi Kevin,

    I have a cooking question. I have been making pot roast covered w/ veggies and then sauce and then topping them w/ mashes potatoes and then baking them off. They turn out marvelous when prepped fresh. When I freeze the prepped dish and then bake I find the potatoes thinned out and a bit runny… Is it possible to freeze mashed potatoes so they keep their consistency or should I scrap this idea all together?

    Thank you for any advise on freezing mashed potatoes!


  18. Cary Bradley says:

    I’ve been waiting for this room, and am not disappointed :)!!! Kevin, this is gorgeous and so beautifully clutter free. Congratulations. Job well done. Thanks again so much for sharing! Stay warm. 🙂

  19. What a beautiful kitchen. We have all wooden cabinets & green counter tops as well, although not as large as yours! I do have a footman….he’s called my husband! LOL

  20. Beauty and practicality all in one. Lovely, and thank you for sharing your space!

  21. Your kitchen is amaZing! What a great use for drawers! One of the tasks on my list is to clean out my kitchen, and I can already envision ways I’m going to rearrange it based on how yours is set up. Thanks so much for sharing.

  22. Love it! Functional and perfect for the busiest room in the house ;o)

  23. Mary Ann Salsman says:

    Kevin, can you recommend a gas range? I have researched, but still can’t make a decision. What do you think is important when choosing a new gas range? By-the-way, it be a 30″ wide either free-standing or slide in. Help!

  24. Mary Ann – I can tell you that my 30-inch General Electric “Spectra” gas range is still working after 10 years of heavy use. However, you should probably read Consumer Report’s reviews of gas ranges (or other appliances) before making your purchase.

  25. Bonjour Kevin,

    Superbe! Thank you so much for opening your home to your readers, it is beautiful.

    Love the wood floors and how you’ve managed to keep the kitchen uncluttered.
    Great idea using the small plastic tubs in the drawer to keep everything organized. I’m going to “borrow” that idea.
    Very creative use of space on your work-island.
    I love everything you’ve done with your house, you are so talented.

    Toujours merci.

  26. I enjoyed the Tour!!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  27. Kevin, you know I admire everything you do, and your kitchen is no accept ion. We remodeled our kitchen ourselves in 2010 using iKea cabinets and I made sure to design in plenty of drawers. We have 29 of them!! I use every single one of them and am so glad that we have them.

  28. Aimee Tate says:

    can you tell me what you refinished your window trim and doors with? they look great in the photos. Thanks! 🙂

  29. Dawn Chike says:

    I look forward to your e-mail full of gardenng and cooking tips each week, the tour of your beautiful home is a bonus! Thanks for sharing. I do have one question though…. when do you find time to sleep?

  30. I love your kitchen. You gave me lots of good ideas for storage. Boy do I need more drawers 🙂 You have a beautiful home.

  31. Mary Frances says:

    Footman? Methinks you are watching too much Downton Abbey! Next thing you’ll want a butler like Carson to serve your afternoon English tea…….

  32. Martha Robinson says:

    Your newsletter is something I look forward to and savor. Thank you, thank you. And you should have a footman. And anything else your dear heart desires.

  33. Charlotte says:

    I love how you are now living and am so jealous. Thanks for sharing

  34. Loved being a ‘voyeur’ on your kitchen tour. Something about your sharing is so candid and real it keeps me engaged. Thank you.

  35. Great kitchen. I love your work station and the fact that you use the space above your cabinets. So many people just use that space for decor items.

    I’m still trying to find ways to extend storage in my old kitchen so I can declutter my counters. In the meantime, I’ve grown accustomed to sharing space with my utensils in keepers since my drawers are way too shallow.

    Your wood floors are gorgeous!

  36. This is so clearly a cook’s kitchen–smart, well-lit, well-used, and everything in arm’s reach.

    I find that guests often congregate in my kitchen; do you have any seating for those friends who really relax by watching you work? 😉


  38. thanks for sharing your kitchen!! now, on to the treats!!!
    ^)^ linda

  39. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    I have wondered many times how homeowners with huge kitchens cope with the basics. It takes too many steps to move between the 3 important features – stove, sink and fridge. My kitchen is about the same size as yours with almost the same amount of counter space. I work quickly and efficiently there, with deft and purposeful movements, creating a meal quickly and with economy of motion. While I love to cook, I also love to read and garden (and daydream), so I don’t want to give up too much time with meal prep.

    My brother lives in rural western France in an 1850’s 4 story granite chateau. His kitchen feels a mile wide, with many paces between the stove and fridge, almost no counterspace, and an alcove sink in the next room! I never appreciated my kitchen so much as after I visited him and had to cook “in his shoes”. I should not complain, alas, because I stayed there for free and it was a magnificent house all around.

    I covet your drawer storage systems. And thank goodness those precious cabinet doors were not thrown away when originally removed! With each room you show us, Kevin, we get to know you better. Thanks for the intimate glimpse.

  40. Bonjour, Oriane – Those little tubs and baskets are invaluable. I bought them at a “dollar”-type store.

    Aimee Tate – The black walnut doors and the mahogany trim on the windows are from the 19th century. I did not refinish them. Lemon oil brings out their natural luster.

    Dawn Chike – How do I manage it all? Well, late to bed and early to rise!

    Paul – No seating in the kitchen. If anyone dares to open the door while I’m cooking, I put them to work!

    Beverly – Sounds like your brother gets plenty of exercise in his kitchen. But the idea of having an old chateau in rural western France makes me swoon.

  41. Okay, the idea of hanging baking and cooking tools from your workstation is just the inspiration I needed to revamp my kitchen space!
    I really dislike having cluttered countertops, but it seems unavoidable. Now I see that all I lack is drawers!!! Hehe! [you are excused for exposing yours. :D]
    I do enjoy a nice work station that I can cart around though, something that can go flush against a wall when it’s not being used.

    I’ll definitely take inspiration from your kitchen into mine own! All I need to do right now is give the old cabinets a nice coat or two of white paint…

  42. love your write-up Kevin!!! It is so fun to read – you keep me smiling! Your ideas are inspiring! Have a contest to win a chance to be your sous-chef :))

  43. Cary Bradley says:

    I say Dee Dee wins the prize. Sous chef for Kevin, hooray! 🙂

  44. how warm the whole thing looks, i bet your guests really enjoy eating with you. thanks Ayla

  45. Sweet kitchen!

  46. Thanks Cary!

  47. Great great great. I love you!

  48. It’s a wonderful kitchen, Kevin, and I envy all the space. I have to say, though, that the first view of it was quite different than I had expected and a bit disappointing. Just because I was expecting to see more vintage cabinetry, or perhaps an old Hoosier cupboard, given the age of the house. But I know reproductions like that can be pricey. I do love the old cupboard doors and the pantry. I think the idea of a pantry is so sensible. Not to mention a mud-room. I have neither in my small ranch. ( Who tho’t small ranches were a good design, anyway!) I’m glad that you have a kitchen that works for you (let’s hear it for your drawers!) and good space for all your culinary endeavors. Plus, I like the wallpaper, too.

  49. Kevin,

    Just found you today via Pinterest and a wonderful article on caring for Boston Ferns. On this sunny NC Sunday morning I have thoroughly enjoyed walking through time and seeing the tour of your beautiful historic NY home. You have done a beautiful job! I will look forward to reading through the rest of your blog. Thank you for sharing!

  50. Debbie – Welcome. Have fun as you tour this crazy site!

  51. Love your kitchen! It just begs for a party there too. I can see us having tea and talking about growing herbs, making great pastries or laughing at new jokes.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog, Kevin. You make the day brighter just by being here.

    Have a great time in the sun!

  52. OMG! I wish I had half of your kitchen Kevin. I have a double-wide Mobile Home and the kitchen is small but functional, if only I had more counter space. I love to cook and bake, which sometimes turns into a major challenge.

  53. After 35 years in a large farmhouse here in west-central NJ, raising sheep, chickens, occasional Hereford steer, and 6 kids (human kind) and their horses, my husband and I are moving to a small Victorian home and empty back yard in the nearest village – Clinton. I will miss the lovely farm, but greatly enjoy being able to walk to the bakery, the library, the NY bus, etc., and most of all, carte blanch to design my own new kitchen and garden space for the first time in my life. A Garden For The House is my BEST resource – PERFECT!! Thank you so much, Kevin, keep it coming. My buddie Jeanmarie and I couldn’t make this open house, but will be there in August.

  54. Helpful information. Fortunate me I found your site by accident,
    and I am shocked why this coincidence didn’t came about earlier!

    I bookmarked it.

  55. Fairly component of content material. I recently stumbled upon your web site as well as in accession funds to mention i join truth liked bank account your current blog site articles. In any case I’m going to be opt-in for your enhance and even My partner and i results you will get the ways to access regularly quickly.

  56. Dear Kevin,

    I discovered your site recently. My daughter moved to the mainland and I wanted to encourage her to grow bulbs. I found photos of your bulbs on the window sills, and that was enough to pull me in.

    Thank you for sharing so much about the things that are dear to your heart: gardening, cooking, baking, dreaming … I love all of these too. But best of all, thank you for having such an open heart, joie-de-vivre, and a great sense of humor.



  57. I love what you did with your kitchen, Kevin. Those old cabinet doors are just beautiful. Thank goodness the previous owners saved them. I agree that you can never have too many drawers in a kitchen or any room where you want to store away things out of site.


  1. […] Kevin has some great recipes, gardening tips and fabulous photos and ladies, you will love him, he cleans house, yes thats right, he offers tips on how he cleans his 187 year old home that was built in 1826 that has been renovated and is beautiful, ( if you have time You must take the tour)  I would love to bake and cook in his kitchen or walk in his gardens. I spend a lot of time on his site and have signed up to receive all his updates.       186 Year Old Home Of Kevin Lee Jacobs             Renovated Kitchen […]

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