The Cravins–Douglas home has a traditional farmhouse exterior, but more up-to-date design elements inside. When asked to renovate the kitchen & pantry, Whritner Builders again worked to achieve a perfect balance of these elements: the traditional and the modern, the urban and the country, high-design and livability. Tom Hut of Hut-Sachs Architecture, a friend of the family, came up with a sketch for the place and Whritner improvised an implementation.
Whritner began by gutting everything. The first matter of business was structural: the floor listed over 8 inches in one direction. John and Dirck removed the old floor and got everything on a level playing field. They used reclaimed barn wood siding for the new floor, which lends the room a handsome rustic ease. For the island, at the center of the kitchen, they attained a similar barn siding, but this time with old red paint beat into the wood from countless Catskill seasons. "We've used 'wide-plank' siding in countless renovations. It's one of our most popular materials," John says.
The old farmhouse-beams which constitute the bones of the house were left exposed and Whritner even added a few beams as faux fronts (also salvaged from old barns) to give the room a proper sense of balance. Beautiful soapstone countertops and top-of-the-line appliances complete the quintessential urban-country kitchen. Custom cabinets were built by Tom Engels and installed by Whritner.
The kitchen is obviously the center of this home – it welcomes family and visitors alike with its easy charm. The table seats eight. The ceilings are high and one entire wall is paned glass. The kitchen feels at once airy and cozy, and light pours in through the windows at dinner time. "The kitchen was designed to access the courtyard that sits just outside," John says. And, indeed, the myriad of glass and large doors provide a permeable gateway between the outside and indoors.