The Victorian Kitchen | Episode 2: From the Window to the Wall

(triumphant music) – Breaking news story today from a home in rural Kentucky. The Farmhouse Vernacular Investigation Squad have a.

(triumphant music) – Breaking news story today
from a home in rural Kentucky. The Farmhouse Vernacular
Investigation Squad have a new case on their hands in the form of a turn of the century original kitchen. It appears that the kitchen
in this 1905 folk-Victorian house has been savagely destroyed by several previously renovations. Initial reports say there
are missing walls, floors, windows and even a pantry, all gone. The FVIS have opened an
initial investigation to try to understand what exactly the original kitchen looked like. Can they reconstruct the historic layout from what is left behind and is there even anything worth saving? We know go to Paige who
is live at the scene with more details. (triumphant music) Hello and welcome to the
Victorian Kitchen, episode two. I am standing in the current
state of our kitchen, which I admit looks pretty darn rough. Unfortunately some of
this has to come off too so we can fix things like insulation and water damage and electrical. But before we take this down
there is so much information in this bead board. I want to walk you through
some of the evidence that I see left on these walls, some of the secrets that maybe this house is going to tell us. Investigate everything, gather
as much information as I can and then generate a 3D model
of what this kitchen might have looked like in 1905. I’m pretty sure I don’t
actually want a 1905 kitchen because I would really like a dishwasher and I don’t wanna cook on a wood stove and it would be really nice
to refrigerate my soft drinks, but we are also going to a
lot of trouble in this house to sympathetically renovate. Which basically means, that we are trying to preserve the history of the house as much as we can. By having an idea of what
the original layout was by understanding how it
flowed and how it worked in the house, I can then make very deliberate
choices to bring it up to modern standards without compromising the
historical integrity. (upbeat music) There are two areas of this kitchen that have suffered major structural loss. The first one is this pantry. In terms of the amount
of historical information in one spot, this area of the kitchen
is an absolute gold mine. You can see the outline
on one wall of a shelf. A pantry should be used for
storage and so it should have a lot of shelves. So only having one shelf
doesn’t really make sense, but there are holes in the
floor that would indicate that at some point this
pantry was converted into a bathroom. I suspect that the one shelf
dates from this conversion. What’s also interesting
is that it’s very clear that the pantry was put in after this room was already under construction. The tongue and groove
bead board on the wall shows a section from
behind the pantry wall that is unpainted. That means that this
entire room was probably almost finished, all of the
tongue and groove was put up and then the pantry was
added on top of that. We can also see the outline
of the pantry on the floor and this is especially
important because we can see where the original door was. (chime) The door actually was on
the side of the pantry, probably opening toward the window. And I have to say, this
is a terrible location for the door. At this point in history,
the industrial revolution is really taking over in
the cities and with that there’s a huge emphasis on efficiency. A lot of the domestic reference
books from this time period also talk about creating that
same efficiency in the home. I suspect though because we’re
out here in rural Kentucky, these new-fangled, fancy
ideas hadn’t quite made it to this house yet. Even though it seems totally inefficient, I definitely wanna recreate
this pantry in this size in the model just so that
I can get a sense of how the room would’ve functioned
just to see if maybe I’m missing something
and if there’s any way that we can restore the
pantry to it’s full size. (upbeat music) The second area of this
kitchen that has suffered major structural damage is
on the other side of the room with the common wall. This wall is shared between the
kitchen and the dining room. There are a couple reasons
that I suspected this wall had been taken out, even
before we started doing demo. When we actually got into
demo you could very clearly see the outline of where
the original wall was. (upbeat music) Something that’s interesting
is that this chimney is obviously in the center of the house. The fireplace part of it would’ve been on the dining room side
but on the kitchen side, you would’ve needed access to vent your stove. There’s also quite a lot of
discoloration on the ceiling that looks like it
could’ve been from smoke and it’s really concentrated
right around this area. So the stove was most
likely against this wall. When building this
house they had a choice, obviously the chimney is
going to be in the middle, but you could decide
to put the common wall on either side of the chimney. In this case, they put the
common wall on the kitchen side. This makes the two rooms about equal size. On the left side of the
chimney we see something else that’s absolutely fascinating. You can see where the wall started because the tongue and groove isn’t painted behind the studs and the wall would’ve been. But on the other side you
see that same sort of pattern on the plaster, meaning there was a wall
on the plaster side too. That leaves a gap of about
18 inches in between it. I definitely think there
was a closet on this side of the chimney, which brings the closet
total in this house, when it was original built up to four, which is kind of unheard of
at this point in history. If I know there was a
closet on the left side of the chimney, that would mean there was
probably a door on the right side of the chimney. Whoever did this renovation
did a real number on the support studs up in the ceiling, but if you’ll notice there’s one missing. I think that’s probably because
that one was over the middle of the door. So the doorway would be quite
possibly all the way against the wall between the dining
room and the kitchen. The kitchen was also on
the side of the house where a side porch was. I can’t see any evidence
of an original entry door in the dining room so I
suspect it must have been in the kitchen and we can
actually see the outline of some trim around what I
suspect is the original door. (upbeat music) At this point in history, built-in cabinets weren’t really a thing. These kitchens were what
is known as unfitted, which means everything in them was a freestanding piece of furniture. Because of that a lot of the
windows in old-house kitchens are actually lowered, they’re like any other
window on the first floor because there weren’t any
cabinets or countertops that you had to accommodate. But what’s interesting is
that in this particular house, I’m fairly certain that
the window over the sink is the original proportion. Again, you can see the
outline of original trim around this window and
that’s what makes me think it is original. As far as I can tell this
house was not originally built with plumbing, so that
means that this kitchen would have used a dry sink. This would be maybe a piece of furniture with a zinc-lined sink in the middle of it that drained into a bucket, then you could take the bucket out into the field and toss it. My gut feeling is that the sink
sat in front of this window because it’s higher up. I think that is everything that
I can glean from the kitchen in it’s current state, so now I am going to take
some measurements of the room and then we can get to
actually making the 3D model. (upbeat music) Now that I have my measurements, I’m going to use a home-design software to turn this into an actual model. The software that I’m using
is called Live Home 3D, it doesn’t have the most customizability in terms of decorations and
finishes but it’s pretty cheap and it’s very easy to use. (playful music) And here is the finished,
unfurnished kitchen. Obviously the pantry sticks
out quite a bit into the room, so it’ll be interesting to
see how much room there is after we put furniture in it. Now we’ll start adding back
some of these unfitted pieces that would make it the kitchen. From the paint outline on the
wall to the right of the sink, I suspect there was some
sort of tall pie safe or cabinet in that location,
probably to store dishes. Next is the sink. As I mentioned, a dry
sink would’ve been used, which would’ve been more
or less like a dresser. Shockingly this program
doesn’t have a dry sink so I’m just using a
dresser and mounting a sink to the top of it. And the almighty stove. Stoves of this period were
large, iron, very dirty and coal or wood burning. They would most often also
be black and free standing, away from the wall, venting
out into the chimney. I’m approximating the
size and dimensions here and just coloring a modern stove black. Next, because there were no
counters to actually work on, the kitchen probably would’ve
had a dedicated worktable. This would be something similar or smaller to the harvest table
that I recently acquired. It would probably be
somewhere either near the sink or near the stove. From what I’ve read only
the largest kitchens at this point in time would’ve been eat-in or had a table to eat at. A lot of the eating would’ve been reserved for the dining room so the kitchen was purely a workspace. But the man who built
this house was a farmer. I’m going to assume that
if he came in from working the farm on lunch he would be dusty, he would be dirty and the
lady of the house may not have wanted that in her nice dining room. So I’m going to say that
she would’ve put a table in the kitchen for him
to eat at for lunch. There’s this nice, blank
spot right on the outside of the pantry. It’s too good of a spot to leave empty, so I’m going to assume they
had some kind of dresser or chest used for
storage in that location. Add a few more details and
here is our finished model. (upbeat music) After this experiment I feel like I have a much better
understanding of how this kitchen would have been set up, how this kitchen would have been used and maybe some of the frustrations that they had using it in 1905. I am a historical purist at heart though, so I’m going to do my
best to figure out how to preserve this original
layout while still making it a modern, functional kitchen. To see what I come up with, you will just have to
subscribe for episode three. Like this video if you enjoyed it, thank you so much for watching and I will see you next time, bye.

43 thoughts on “The Victorian Kitchen | Episode 2: From the Window to the Wall”

  1. What do you think? Could you work in a kitchen like that? What would you want to change? I for one am 200% smitten with the whole thing. But I'm pretty sure future me won't have anything to do with a wood burning stove. 😀

  2. Great detective work! When we redid the kitchen in our 1863 Paris apartment I tried to capture a period feel, albeit updated. I have the same low window challenge!

  3. I live in a historical district in Indianapolis on the Eastside. In a previous comment the aim is for the 1920’s. The multitude of doors in one room. A neighbor of mine has a one of a kind home. Their kitchen had five doors. They figured out a solution.

  4. Very cool! I love your 3D model. If only the actual renovation was that quick. ? Best of luck with your project and I'm excited to see how it turns out. ?

  5. You made the 3D so simple I struggled using one in the beginning . I love the mystery work you did to find out how the kitchen was used. We need more of your channels to watch. Just amazing.I can’t wait to see what you come up with .

  6. So many questions!
    Wouldn't it be more logical to mount the pantry door on the other wall for maximum pantry usage?
    Are you going to reinstate the pantry window?
    Are you going to reuse the beadboard?
    Can you use the chimney for your modernday fumehood?

  7. I absolutely love what you are doing and am so enjoying your adventure. I also own a 1907 home . One of the most fascinating discoveries I made in my home. It was built with a vacuum system throughout the house and a cast-iron vacuum dated 1907 in the basement. Good luck and I am looking forward to the next post!!

  8. So cool! I love your sense of humor! My parents have the old oak ice chest that my great-great-grandparents had in their farmhouse kitchen in the early 1900s. That wall against the pantry would be perfect for it. I can't wait for the next episode.

  9. I love that you want to keep to the original spirit of the house without sacrificing modern conveniences like plumbing, electric, gas/electric stoves, central heating and a dishwasher.

    We’re going to try to do the same for our 1928 Tudor Revival. I want a modern efficient kitchen with lots of clever storage (we’re working with a very small space) but go with a classic shaker style cabinet, subway tile, etc.

  10. Love this, Paige! I read in another comment that someone had and old ice chest that had been passed down. Would one have been used in this farmhouse? I bet it would have! Maybe on that pantry wall.bThank you for taking me along on the journey. I enjoy all of your posts. Oh, one more thing. I know you love your sink. But, if it was me I would try to find a regular old sink, not a corner one. Would work so much better. Don't sell the one you have – it could probably be used somewhere else. Perhaps there was a summer kitchen?

  11. You're so patient, I don't think I could go without a kitchen that long. But then again, I do have 3 young children. ? Can't wait to see what you come up with! What kind of lighting will you be using?

  12. I watch your Garland video, the first video I found of yours, you crack me up, very informative and entertaining!!!! Loved it ♥️

  13. ALL THOSE LAYERS!!! I recently helped my friend many days renovating her home before she moved in. There were many layers and add ins just like this ( really positive it was horrible conditions to work on?) but it didn't turn out awesome.
    I know yours is going to be nothing less than a masterpiece- can not wait to see how you bring it to life! Great video ?

  14. Thanks for sharing with us. Your vlog is so interesting an informative. For me it would be easy to live a lifestyle in the early 1900's due to the fact I grew up in Victorian/Farm-style type houses. I've always loved Victorian architecture etc. The idea of storing dishes in a hutch or China cabinet is wonderful as well as a pantry. The only issue for me would be I have adjusted to having some cabinetry but even then you can still have shelving that's functional and appealing. I'm excited to see what you have envisioned and taking us with you on your journey. Have a great weekend.

  15. I love how you want to try your best to keep the original layout. If you like it and can work in it .. then go for it. If it were me . I would not build out the pantry. I would put a beautiful wall unit pantry. My sister had a old turn of the century farm house . And she had a similar wall and window in the corner. But in hers there was a wall cabinet pantry going from ceiling to floor. She also had a built in bakers shelf/ cabinet. The ones that had a place to put your flour in a shifter and you would do all your dough or baking using it. Mix of modern counter top cabinet with vintage pieces of cabinets and future it what I would go for.
    But I can’t wait to see what you do.

  16. Doesn't the city hold design plans of your home? Or, maybe you could atleast find the builders name and see if then you can find other homes he's built to find another comparable to yours.

  17. What a nice size kitchen and pantry! I would love to keep the chimney exposed and leave that wall open to the other room but I understand your reasoning! All the original beadboard is so awesome. I love your house and your appreciation for it ♡ we're lucky to live in a 1910 farmhouse with an original butlers pantry style kitchen and no one painted the cabinets ! So happy for that!

  18. This was really fun and entertaining! Thanks for all you put into your content.
    I definitely can appreciate you wanting to be sensitive to the era of the house, but I would have a hard time not having more counter space, although I do tend to clutter up the space I have, so maybe it would be better for me not to have it! Lol I incorporated a freestanding Hoosier cabinet from the 1920s in my kitchen with a flour sifter in it and I love it. I store all my baking ingredients and pans in it.

  19. I too was thinking about the ice chest. Also remember any woodstove woukd have been at minimal 18 inches from the wall, making a kitchen table very snug in this room. I would suspect the ice box was in the pantry, and the large shelf marking was a solid shelf for cast iron ware. Could also be there was no actual door on the pantry. Often the case.

  20. I am beyond excited to follow this wonderful renovation. This is my favorite time period for so many reasons and the victorian home is one of them.

  21. Love your channel! I grew up in the second oldest building in our town. It was a train station. When older or ruined homes were to be demolished the town would move any decent rooms to the train depot. They would just tack them onto the existing structure. When my parents bought it and remodeled, it was the most interesting process. Each room had a story that was different from the others.

  22. I'm sitting here on pins and needles waiting for the next episode to unfold! I agree that I want some modern appliances in the kitchen. I couldn't do without a dishwasher either! Although I have two wood burning kitchen stoves in storage (one blue & white, one green and cream), I don't think I'd want to learn to use them unless it was a dire necessity.

  23. I am so interested in your videos. my aunt had house of the same era in south central key. it burned about 15 years ago. was a l floor plan, with 3 unconnected porches. no insulation. beds were 7 to 8 feet tall. I can remember an uncle being laid out in the back parlor with a black veil draped over the open casket.

  24. Oh, how facinating! I would love to be a mouse in your kitchen (or whole house) watching a you peel back the layers!
    New subscriber and so excited!

  25. Love it old homes and there walls tell awesome stories…. and I love a wood burning cook stove there so pretty I want one. Love your ideas cant wait to see

  26. I am ecstatic. I am so tired of the Modern farm house. All white, new things made to look old. I am excited to see modern restoration instead.

  27. Are you SURE the window immediately next to the pantry is original? It looks a lot like it used to be a door.

    This kitchen is going to look amazing once all the beadboard is repaired and painted.

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