From the beginning of the kitchen design, we envisioned a kitchen island, a place to sit and drink coffee in the morning or a glass of wine while cooking at night. We initially considered the Stenstorp from Ikea, but it was both slightly too big and too much Ikea for the space. I then thought about building one myself. There’s a long, wide beam in the basement that we believe dates back to when the building was initially renovated from two single-family twins to a six-unit apartment house in 1913. I’ve had my eye on this beam, thinking I could cut it and fasten the pieces together to create a table top, but before I could finalize my plans, the perfect piece appeared.
It’s no small secret that I love Instagram. I’m a very visual person, so taking pictures throughout the day and seeing other people’s images is my favorite form of social media. I never really thought of it as a place to shop, though, but I’m starting to think that it might be the perfect way to connect with small businesses. When I was scrolling my feed the other day, I spied a wooden workbench posted by Scout Salvage, a gem of a store in Old City. They had just gotten it in, and it seemed like it would make the perfect kitchen island. I called to ask about the measurements and the price, and after work, Nik stopped in to see it in person. It really was perfect.
Betsy, the owner of Scout Salvage, is fantastic. Not only did she insist on replacing the bottom of the drawer, which was badly warped, but she also delivered it to us. Before it arrived, I was a little worried that it would be too much wood in the room and thought about maybe painting the legs to offset that, but once it was in the space, this was out of the question. We don’t need to do anything to this piece.
We know that it came from a farm in Lancaster, and it’s clear that it was a very utilitarian piece. The joints are simple, and it’s all about the function. Even the drawer knob was hewn from a piece of bark.
There are gouges and grooves along the surface. Whomever used it was not shy about cutting directly on the surface, and the patina of age is nothing you could fabricate. The surface has been oiled, but not sealed, and we have no intention of doing so.
I love the contrast of materials in the room; the sleek cabinets and glass, the polished marble, and the refined wood counters against the rough aged wood.
After a few days of treating the kitchen with kid gloves, we’ve finally started living in it. We put our things in the drawers, we’ve made dinner and drank coffee. And the other night, after mentioning to a dozen people that they should really stop by and see the kitchen, we accidentally had a small party on our hands. The island was delivered just as the evening began, and we put it right to work. A few whiskeys in, the room was finally just a beautiful space that we could fully inhabit.
It was the best feeling in the world to fill this space that we love with the people (and canine) that we love.