It was just a couple of months ago that Ruth & David Wright came to me with a historic Victorian home they had just purchased in Jacksonville, FL. The home, built in the early 1900's was originally owned and built for a wealthy land owner in what is now the historic district of downtown Jacksonville. To say that I was excited is an understatement. Historical homes hold a special place in my heart as it is one of the main reasons I became an Interior Architect. To think of what that home has seen in its time and imagine the lives of those who inhabited it, makes me delirious with day dreams and fills my head with imagination. This home in particular was so well preserved already that it was easy for me to see the history around every corner. From it's large, heavy wooden doors to its paneled walls and 8" thick trim, you knew the family who built the home had to have been quite wealthy. Just how wealthy though I found out upon entering the master bath. It was quite uncommon for families in the early 1900's to have one shower head in their bathroom, let alone two! Yet there they were, two shower heads installed in a normal size shower for the prestigious family to use. I couldn't quite believe my eyes. In fact, I seemed to find architectural surprises around every corner and by the time I had finished wandering and taking measurments I couldn't help thinking, "boy I really wish these walls could talk."
The Wrights, turned out to be one of the best clients I have ever had the pleasure to work with. They loved the character the house had and wanted to preserve some of that by keeping all of the original trim and details if possible. With a baby on the way, the clients decided it would be best to renovate the house in stages so that they could utilize certain areas of the house while others were being renovated. With a general design direction, the first room to be completed was the kitchen. So, after many hours deliberating how to get a functional and practical kitchen while not tearing down any walls and working within the existing structural barriers, I finally had a plan that would work.
Demo has started and while we have hit some unexpected bumps including hidden beams and columns, adding new structural beams, and shortening the pantry to ensure stability and structural support around the chimney, we are finally going full speed ahead. Drywall will be going up soon followed by new cabinets, paint, lights and all those things that make the space sing. We can't wait to see this kitchen finished!