Tour My Kitchen with Zac Freeman and Paige Ponder

This Chicago family transformed their historic home's chilly kitchen into a warm, functional space

Tour My Kitchen with Zac Freeman and Paige Ponder

Tour My Kitchen with Zac Freeman and Paige Ponder

Zac Freeman and Paige Ponder's old kitchen was a catchall space, where they cooked, worked and played. Or at least tried to. "It was really awkward," says Paige. "Our house was built in 1898, and the previous owners remodeled the kitchen once or twice."

Despite those attempts to make the space more functional, the kitchen remained less than ideal. "We'd open a cabinet door and feel a whoosh of cold air. The room was always freezing because it was so poorly insulated," Paige says.

"Plus, the fridge opened into a hallway-type space, and there were two ovens under the peninsula, making it difficult to sit around," says husband Zac.

After living with the kitchen for more than a year, the couple decided to give it their own overhaul. First thing on their list? "Warmth!" they say with a laugh.

"And more light and counter space, better flow, a place to sit around the peninsula, and room for our boys—Max, 6; Sebastian, 4; and Calvin, 15 months—to play, eat and do their homework."

Because Zac and Paige wanted to work with their home's old bones, they turned to a local design firm to put together a kitchen that not only complemented their historic home, but also met their modern-day needs.

"We saw ourselves as stewards of the house and wanted to honor its history with the remodel," Paige says.

After 8 months of work that involved expanding the room's square footage, Zac and Paige now have a kitchen that fits their family—and their house—perfectly.

"There's plenty of space for everyone. It's open, and there's so much natural light," says Paige. "I have a view into the back and front yards. When we cook, anything we need is just a few steps away. And the kitchen finally matches the feel of the rest of the house."

A feel that is—at last—just like home.

Photo Gallery of Zac Freeman and Paige Ponder's Kitchen»

Zac Freeman's Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf»