Dream Kitchen 2006: Kitchen Living

The Traditional category winner of our Dream Kitchens competition fits a modern lifestyle.

“We live in our kitchen,” says Lenore Davies, architect and owner of our winning Traditional kitchen. “The rest of the house could almost fall down — we entertain, hang out and everyone is comfortable in this space.”

When Lenore and her husband, Marc, bought their Montgomery County home almost four years ago, they had two boys and another on the way, so the house’s traditional build was almost a perfect fit. “There were a lot of bedrooms, but it didn’t have a real living space,” says Lenore. “We wanted it to expand out to the landscape in the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright and not just stop at the wall.”

Fast-forward two years, one baby, many family meetings and a whirlwind of decisions later, and the Davies were finally ready to get their hands dirty. “It was good to live here for a while first, because it gave us time to figure out what we needed,” says Lenore. They decided to renovate the den and kitchen and add on more living space plus some much-needed storage.

Pripstein + Davies Architects, the Wyncote-based company Lenore co-owns with her mother, was careful to preserve the authenticity of the 1901 house. “We wanted to maintain the feeling of the house but make it viable for contemporary living,” says Lenore. They also needed a contractor who could work with a 100-year-old home — and their vision for it. They formed a relationship with Tom Leinhauser, owner of Leinhauser Custom Carpentry in Spring City. From there everything fell into place: They hired a structural engineer from Alta Design Associates in Fort Washington, ordered cabinets from Custom Woodworking in Honey Brook and had an air-conditioning system installed by Stanley W. Cooper in Willow Grove.

While the renovation needed to fit within the house’s traditional framework, appliances were fair game. The Davies loaded up at Gerhard’s Appliances in Glenside. Because the family loves to cook, “We had to have a big island in front of the fridge to serve as a prep area where everyone can help out,” says Lenore. They even installed a microwave below the counter for the kids (now 3, 7 and 9).

Lenore’s favorite appliance is her fridge, a traditional GE model. “I switched the hands of the doors so I could get them to open opposite one another, like French doors,” she says. Her husband loves the way the space is open and versatile. The kids have their own cubbies and a computer and desk in the kitchen so they can do their homework while Mom and Dad cook. What used to be a butler’s pantry is now a kitchen where this family can really live. The whole process took a little more than a year to complete, but the results were well worth the wait, says Lenore. “It isn’t a cook-and-carry kitchen anymore.”

Owners: Lenore and Marc Davies
Architect/Designer: Pripstein + Davies Architects, Wyncote
Contractor: Leinhauser Custom Carpentry, Spring City
Structural Engineer: Alta Design Associates, Fort Washington
Cabinetmaker: Custom Woodworking, Honey Brook
Air-conditioning: Stanley W. Cooper, Willow Grove