Old-Fashioned Farmhouse Flavor Remains

Her new bigger and brighter kitchen keeps its old-fashioned farmhouse flavor.

By Kay Sweitzer, Elverson, Pennsylvania

After Photo

After Photo

We feel fortunate to live on the 60-acre farm that's been in my husband Ken's family for more than 120 years. But when we moved in after we got married in 1989, the 100-year-old stone farmhouse proved that it needed plenty of loving care.

Over the years, with the help of family and friends, we've gutted the interior, replastered the walls, refurbished the plumbing and electrical systems and put in a bath on the second floor.

Then, about 2 years ago, we turned our attention to the kitchen. The 12-foot by 14-foot room not only needed lightening up, it had also become too small to accommodate our family of five. We have three children—Katie, Mandy and Jake.

Before Photo

The only solution was to build an addition off the back of the house. We turned the old kitchen into the master bedroom, and the former mudroom became a full bath and laundry. The addition, showcasing a large recycled picture window, housed the new kitchen and dining area.

View Photo

A Brand-New View

Thanks to that picture window, plus the recessed lighting we put in the ceiling and a pretty arched window over the sink, the entire room gets lots of light—and we've acquired a wonderful view of our "back 40!"

When I come home—I'm a substitute teacher—I can work in the kitchen while gazing out at the pond and meadows. I love to watch Jake fish off the dock or Katie and Mandy ride their ponies. Ken, who's an electrician, likes to look for deer as they come out of the woods at dusk.

In keeping with the historic nature of our home (we received Century Farm recognition last year), we used 100-year-old hand-hewn beams from the barn for the ceiling. A pine tree on our property provided most of the knotty pine wood for the cabinets. My brother-in-law helped design and build the cabinetry in the kitchen, bath and master bedroom.

Kay and Ken, with children Mandy, Katie and Jake

Our old cabinets, which my brother-in-law also made, didn't go to waste either. Because we like to barbecue so much during the summer, we moved those cabinets to the garage and set them up where they're within easy reach. It's almost like having a second kitchen!