Kitchen Update {Implementing Authentic Farmhouse Design}

Kitchen Update {Implementing Authentic Farmhouse Design}featured

When we bought the farm nearly 4 years ago the first thing we did was gut the tiny 50s/80s kitchen. We naively jumped into a complete DIY kitchen makeover, thinking we could have it done in 6 weeks or so…

The Old Kitchen Before


We really wanted a bright kitchen that felt original to the farmhouse. I studied kitchens from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, since our farmhouse was built in 1893. The biggest challenge was seamlessly incorporating modern conveniences like a dishwasher, microwave, and refrigerator into my period appropriate kitchen design. Of course, we would need to incorporate a stove, some prep space and a small kitchen table too. The old kitchen did not really have room for any of those things as you can see from the above Before shots. Oddly, there was also a full bath right off the kitchen. So, we decided to do a “room swap.”

The Old Bedroom Before


The plan was for the 9×14 kitchen and full bath to become a cozy master suite. The 12×12 bedroom off the living room with its tiny closet tucked under the stairs would now become our kitchen and pantry. Simple right? I can assure you this was quite an undertaking for our family…


If you haven’t been following Bryarton Farm on Instagram, it’s the best way to see more of the DIY kitchen transformation. From making windows to go above the sink using the tops of antique carriage doors, to making our own wood countertops from large slabs of hickory; it’s all there. You can join our Instagram tribe by clicking {Here}. Then you will get a daily dose of our journey! (I only post monthly on the blog.) In fact, these square shaped photos have all been pics I snagged off my Instagram feed to give you an idea of the intense process this room underwent. Before we could move the kitchen, we also had to repair tons of termite damage we encountered during the project.


This isn’t the final kitchen reveal. We are still doing major work on the the stair and pantry side of the kitchen, the antique stove has not yet been converted to propane, and the vent above the stove hasn’t been installed, but we are getting so close. I just had to at least share what it’s like to have a functioning kitchen sink and dishwasher after all these years.

The After


Today I am just showing you the sink area. It turned out better than all my sketches and plans. The only way to make a space feel authentically old was to use old pieces in the design. Implementing tons of salvaged antique pieces like the 1910 pendant light, the 1920s three drawer base cabinet, and 1928 cast iron sink. You can read about how we restored the farm sink and picked a vintage style faucet by clicking {Here}.


When I stand in front of my authentic farm sink, I feel a sense of  gratitude for the opportunity to bring purpose back to a piece that in some small way made America great. I am washing dishes and giving my baby a bath the way many mothers in this farmhouse have over the last 125 years.


It hasn’t been easy, but like anything worthwhile this kitchen sink has been well worth the wait. Stay tuned for the full kitchen reveal coming in the next few months. We are currently in the process of hand making a stair railing for the kitchen stairs where a wall once was. Carefully matching every detail of the existing balusters upstairs while adding new functionality is a challenging part of this restoration.

Stairs Before

Stairs Now

Choosing to restore our farmhouse rather than renovate it, means we can’t just follow whatever home trend is currently popular. We have to be faithful to the Folk Victorian architectural style of our home, and honor the farming family who built it, all while still making everything function for our modern family. You might think that it would be confining to be limited to what is historically accurate, but it really makes it more interesting. Restrictions fuel creativity.

Once we complete the kitchen and master suite, we plan to go back and create a more detailed account of our DIY projects in videos for our YouTube channel. We just don’t have the time or energy to do that right now. Thank you to all the wonderfully sweet folks who are cheering us on and supporting our efforts to save this 1872 farmstead. You keep us going when we feel like this is a lost cause…

If you are enjoying following our continuing story and want to see more, please Subscribe! You can also see additional pictures of our little fixer upper farm on the prairie, by following us on InstagramYouTubeFacebook, & Pinterest. Help support our “forgotten farm restoration project” by visiting our Etsy Shop!

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