It all began with the appliances.West Seattle resident Dana Von Veh was watching Rachael Ray when she spied a retro powder-blue refrigerator on the show’s set. Some online digging told her the fridge was a reproduction of a classic style by Colorado-based Big Chill, a company known for making appliances that look vintage, but pack plenty of modern features. After spying a minty green fridge, stove, vent hood, dishwasher, and even a microwave, Von Veh dialed the design team at Seattle’s Neil Kelly Company. A little appliance envy had sparked her desire to update the kitchen in her midcentury home without losing the original 1950s charm. Those appliances, she says, “bring back a lot of nice memories; not that our kitchen growing up ever looked this good.”
The design-build team at Neil Kelly took Von Veh’s main design requests to heart: Integrate the retro appliances, showcase the sweeping Puget Sound views from the home’s back wall of windows, and preserve the kitchen’s galley-style layout, with its simple cabinet slab doors and original glass block backsplash.
Designers first widened the kitchen to give the galley shape a more open feel. The south wall with the glass block remained virtually unchanged (the birch cabinets received a fresh coat of paint and shiny new hardware), while the left side was revamped with matching custom cabinets to accommodate the new appliances and house all of Von Veh’s cookware. A spacious peninsula added an extra sink for party prep.
As for highlighting the views, the team constructed a built-in dining nook with buttery, fade- and spill-resistant marine-grade leather banquette seating in the home’s back corner nearest to the kitchen. The marble-topped stunner in the center of the nook? That’s an Eero Saarinen tulip table that Von Veh unexpectedly snagged off of Craigslist. “I was looking for a table and saw this one, not knowing it was the real deal,” she says. “I’m just happy it fits the space. I can sit here surrounded by windows, have my coffee; and when it’s nice I’m like a cat in the sun.”
Published: October 2013