By Joan Ivan
The Architectural Heritage Center recently presented its spring showcase of the talent, skill, and creativity of local craftspeople, designers, and homeowners who wish to preserve original character and charm while making the most popular room in a home meet 21st century needs.
In the case of homeowners Mark Klemmer and Dean Alby, they doubled as their own craftsmen and designers for their ultimate DIY showplace. Their 1913 bungalow at 221 NE Stanton Street was the sole Eliot home chosen for the self-guided tour of renewed kitchens held Saturday, April 13, 2013.
This DIY homeowner/contractor/designer project has been a work- in- progress since 2005, proving that Mark and Dean’s skills, ingenuity, patience and determination put their work in the same league as the other sites in the Irvington, Laurelhurst, Beaumont, and Richmond neighborhoods.
Notable materials utilized in the Stanton Street gem included salvaged cabinetry, reused old-growth planks, original doors and casements, plus original double-hung windows and a working doorbell.
According to the Architectural Heritage Center’s guide booklet, Kitchen Revival Tour XV…
“This is a classic kitchen revival. If there was a remote chance of re-using original material, or if they found a piece of ‘original’ from somewhere else, these guys put it to use. The footprint for the kitchen, with added eating nook, is from the 1920’s: The lower cabinets and exact replicas of the original uppers; The original dumbwaiter shaft was transformed into storage space for a mixer and a hiding place for the microwave: The ironing board cabinet now houses spices, and the original door found a new home upstairs. Push button light switches replicate the originals. Mark, with his exceptional eye and high level of craftsmanship, and Dean, the landscaper/designer, have made every effort to respect the historic details of this lovely home, and it shows. Every detail has been examined for how it works within the whole space. This is a fine renovation that will live on as a showplace for many years to come!”
For the hundreds of visitors, some of whom were considering taking on a kitchen renovation project themselves, Mark and Dean were on hand to provide tips and real-life experiences on everything from retaining original material to disguising a dishwasher.
These Eliot homeowners showed proudly that a kitchen revival goes a long way from stainless steel and granite.