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A Happy Dose of Nostalgia

Architect Suzanne Allen-Guerra infuses century-old charm into a present-day kitchen



Roger Wade

With the hope of bringing southern charm into her new home, the owner of this Breckenridge dwelling first sat down with architect Suzanne Allen-Guerra of Allen-Guerra Design Build to share stories from her childhood in eastern Tennessee. This charming kitchen, inspired by a “cozy, comfortable” cabin owned by her husband’s family as well as another belonging to a close friend, is just one of the home’s many spaces that puts her love for vintage items on display.

Many of the elements in the room are deliberately old in feel: The simple countertops were created by Vermont Soapstone, which has been in business since 1850; exposed timbers were reclaimed from an old, dismantled mill in Wisconsin; and the kitchen floor was constructed with wide-plank pine boards that have a rustic flair. “We used old-fashioned nails and hammered them in by hand so they were exposed, just like it used to be done,” Allen-Guerra says. The architect also worked closely with custom woodworker Genesis Innovations to create cabinetry that was similar to those the homeowner remembered from her friend’s cabin.

By incorporating these thoughtful details to evoke such fond memories, the design team hit a home run. “When her friend came out for a visit and stepped into the kitchen, she burst into tears,” Allen-Guerra says.

Style Tips

Opt for a farmhouse sink, like the one from Rohl pictured here, instead of standard stainless steel. They’re durable, and the look is quintessential country.

Replace a few solid doors on your upper cabinets with seeded glass doors. Filled with pinhead-sized bubbles, seeded glass dates back to colonial times.

Add a rustic statement piece with an oversized, iron range hood, and commission a blacksmith to design and fabricate it to fit your space.

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