Victorian Kitchens & Baths

by Franklin Schmidt, Esther Schmidt

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vk_bRomance is in and Victorian design and architecture are as popular now as they were when Victorian was the contemporary style more than a hundred years ago. Often, people who buy a Victorian home have expertise in antiques of the era and can furnish a period living room or bedroom, but they are stymied when it comes to the kitchen and the bathroom. Victorian Kitchens and Baths solves this common dilemma by looking at the individual design, decor and architectural elements that make a room Victorian, offering a myriad of purist as well as interpretive ideas that can be used and adapted to fit many homes and tastes.

From the Inside Flap
Foreword Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter 1: Historic Victorian Setting the Stage Historic Purity in Twenty-First-Century Life A Victoriana Kitchen Diary Preston Street Kitchen Appliances: Evolution after the Revolution Bathrooms: A Short History City & Country Kitchens Chapter 2: What Makes It Victorian Borrowing from Other Design Traditions Funny, It Doesn’t Look Victorian Making It the Victorian Way Let Me Count the Ways Molding, Trim & Wainscoting Millwork Windows: The Eyes into a Victorian World Stained & Leaded Glass Tile for Style Ceramic Tile in the Nineteenth-Century Kitchen & Bath Let There Be Light Lighting for Victorian Kitchens & Baths Pantries The Evolution & Revival of the Victorian Pantry Chapter 3: Borrowing Decor from the Parlor Period Kitchen Re-Do To Remodel or Reinvent: Restoring a Period Kitchen Color & Pattern How to Design a Kitchen that Looks Historic, Not Dated Art, Antiques & Collectibles Chapter 4: Contemporary Victorian The New Victorian Start New, Think Old: Kitchens & Baths with Soul Flights of Fancy Kitchen Conservatory My Honey of a Kitchen My Fabulous Kitchen & Bath Resources

About the Author
Franklin and Esther Schmidt are a photography, styling, and writing team who have photographed and written about hundreds of homes. Their articles and features have appeared in a variety of magazines including Architectural Digest, Old House Interiors, Antiques & Fine Art, Country Home and Country Living. As field editors for Victorian Homes, Washington, DC, correspondents for Art & Antiques, and antiques columnists for Country Accents, they have focused their work on interior design as it relates to architecture and lifestyle. Franklin and Esther are also the authors and photographers of Cabin Kitchens & Baths. They live in Virginia.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Romance is in-again-which is probably why Victorian design and architecture are as popular now as they were from the middle of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century, when Victorian was the contemporary style. The essence of Victorian design lies in its warm woods, opulence, colors and patterns. But beyond the look, our continuing draw to it is based on ties to family histories and memories of past generations. Houses with turrets, gingerbread and multiple porches are being bought or built by people with a passion for preservation, an eye for romantic high style and a love of the pieces of the past we can make our own. It’s a contagious enthusiasm that doesn’t dissipate. Those who buy or build Victorian often have expertise in antiques of the era and can knowledgeably furnish a period living room or bedroom, but when it comes to doing the kitchen or bathroom, they are stymied. There are also those who are not necessarily aficionados of Victorian high style, but are drawn to certain elements that they would like to translate into their more contemporary homes, particularly in their kitchens and bathrooms. Mid-nineteenth and early twentieth-century kitchens were almost solely utilitarian workrooms, the denizen of the servants and not of the family. Today’s kitchen has evolved into a household social center where work, leisure and entertainment combine to create an environment that needs to be attractive as well as functional. Islands, eating nooks, window treatments, artwork and investment in the most attractive and up-to-date appliances (or the most effective way of disguising them) can make the kitchen the greatest financial investment in a house.


Victorian Homes Magazine
August 2005

“Victorian Kitchens & Baths – a new book by husband and wife team, Franklin and Esther Schmidt … takes readers on a pictorial journey of “Victorian self rediscovery.” Recently released by Gibbs Smith, the book is a veritable “who’s who” of 19th century architecture. Sprinkled with informative essays throughout, and written by a host of authorities on the subject, contributing authors include Erika Kotite, editor of Victorian Homes magazine, Bruce Bradbury of Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers; Dan Mattausch, an internationally recognized 19th-century lighting expert; and Brent Hull, an expert on historic millwork. “… the Schmidts have created a volume worthy of any renovator’s library. Stimulating essays answer questions the Victorian neophyte might ask about the accuracy of mixing one style with another, while exquisite photos inspire the seasoned veteran. Readers are not only led to the river of great debate that surrounds turn-of-the-century authenticity, Victorian Kitchens & Baths encourages them to drink, long and deep.”

The Journal News (Westerchester County, NY)
July 7, 2005 Thursday
Hidden treasures available at Great Finds

“Imagine a setting where a collection of Victoriana would feel right at home. That can become a reality, with the help of “Victorian Kitchens & Baths.” The new book, written and photographed by Franklin and Esther Schmidt, offers tips on combining the historical allure of Victorian design with today’s lifestyles. The book covers the basics, from choosing wood and lighting to tiles and colors… Anyone contemplating a decorating project with a Victorian flavor will want to consult this book.”

Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
July 2, 2005 Saturday
INSIDE OUT; Home pages; Pg. 13
Jane Leyens

“Kitchens and baths — usually the first rooms to be remodeled — always pose a challenge when it comes to integrating motifs and finishes found in the rest of the house.
“Especially in Victorian houses … seeking the charm of the old means choosing between reproducing the original look or having the rooms integrated into the decor…
“Esther and Franklin Schmidt’s book addresses just that topic: how to adapt Victorian ideals to rooms that not only are purely functional, but also ones that can accommodate modern conveniences…
“Whether one is remodeling a Victorian house or simply wants to use period elements in a more modern home, this book covers all the bases … They introduce a fresh perspective on a style rooted in another century.”

Kirkus Reports
June 10, 2005

“The Schmidts’ photographs are as sharp as newly honed carving knives, and the research that went into discovering these rooms must certainly have been formidable…the Schmidts give copious information on how to go about recreating Victorian kitchens and baths, while a host of contributing writers explain all the travails and satisfactions of creating their own contemporary versions.”

Homestyle Books
Club Review

“Whether you want to decorate completely in the Victorian style or you simply want to add a touch of this classic style to your kitchen and bath, you’re sure to find your inspiration here.”