Our Gorgeous Historic House Kitchen Renovation: Behind the Scenes!

historic kitchen renovation after

Do you want to know more about our historic house kitchen renovation journey? Here’s the inside scoop!

In the heart of downtown Summerville, SC, stands a not-so-hidden gem—one of only three remaining Charleston single-style homes in town! Although it needed some TLC, we quickly fell in love with its historic charm. And wouldn’t you know… we became the new owners of a 2,200 sq. ft. landmark house! We joyfully took on this labor of love, starting with the kitchen!

Our Historic House Kitchen Renovation Journey at the Coburn Hutchinson House

First Thing’s First

Michelle spent months digging up a complete history of the house’s lineage that revealed titles from the 1800s, including the name of the plantation the house sits on and its original owner. Finally, a rarity in its own right, the home was given a fitting moniker based on all that researched information and officially named the Coburn Hutchinson House on its 160th birthday!

coburn hutchinson house exterior

So the Renovation Journey Begins

Now, we embark on our historic house kitchen renovation journey. We began by updating the 11’x19′ kitchen while remaining respectful of its historic roots and original features. This home has the most gorgeous heart pine hardwood floors, even in the kitchen and bathrooms! That said, there was no original tile present in any form. So, we decided to add a backsplash to the kitchen for practical reasons and a bit of reflectivity in the tiles’ finish.

historic house kitchen renovation after photo

Picking the Perfect Tile

For the backsplash, we chose a beautiful glazed white subway tile from the Maritime collection at Garden State Tile with an irregular edge and glossy finish for a handcrafted look. When installed with minimal grout lines, this zellige-style tile collection looks historically accurate to the period of the house.

The versatility of this style is like that of a veritable chameleon, making it feel right at home in both classic and contemporary applications. As a result, our kitchen now has a much brighter, lighter, and airy feel. An aesthetic we love bringing to our kitchen interior design projects.

white tile detail at coburn hutchinson house kitchen


You can read more about the tile in our exclusive interview with Garden State Tile! There, we go even more in-depth about our historic house kitchen renovation.

Preserving Historic Kitchen Finishes

It was essential to maintain its original footprint to the best of our ability. To give this renovation the respect it deserved, we took significant consideration in selecting finishes for the kitchen. In doing so, we encountered a design dilemma with the existing windows.

Previous owners installed the kitchen’s windows at the same lower height as all the other windows in the home. We maintained an unobstructed view for two of the three windows, with the strategic placement of the breakfast area and a built-in window seat.

detail photo of coburn hutchinson house countertops


However, the location of the sink partially obstructed the third window but became a quirky feature we decided to run with as it had its own story.

The kitchen had wood countertops, most likely installed around the 1950s. We kept the countertops but lightly sanded them to remove a thick lacquer application that detracted from their organic charm. The process was painstakingly detailed to ensure we did not remove the natural patina built up over the years… and they coordinate so well with the 160-year-old floors.

An Unexpected Discovery

Renovations are often full of unwanted surprises. Luckily, we discovered an interesting fact when it came time to prep the kitchen for painting. As it turns out, upon sanding and preparing the ceiling for paint, we discovered that the beadboard on the ceiling in the kitchen came from the piazza, evident by the tell-tale present water stains.

Back in the 1920s, when previous owners added plumbing to the home, they enclosed the upper-level porch while building the kitchen. So, the contractors borrowed the ceiling from the former piazza to use in the kitchen! They wasted nothing back then!

long view of the kitchen featuring michelle and charlie.


If you want to learn more about our renovation process throughout the rest of the house, view our Historic Renovation Page! You’ll learn more about the house’s history and see lots of before and after photos!

We’re Happy to Help With Your Historic House Kitchen Renovation!

Ultimately, with this historic house kitchen renovation project, our goal is to honor the past. By blending the design palette of 1859 and today, we are creating a space that spans the generations, pays tribute to how far we have come, and demonstrates how we can move forward. We are honored to be its guardians, restoring the home to full splendor and preparing it for a vibrant future.

We pride ourselves on being a forward-thinking interior design firm. We love creating spaces that move us into the future while retaining classic elements. We would love to help you with your kitchen renovation project! Contact us today to schedule a consultation.