A reader wrote in to ask “1300 sq ft house in South Orange, NJ. Built in 1903. The kitchen is 1960s, is there a way to modernize the kitchen without turning off future buyers in 5-7 years? While paying respects to the home’s original design?”

Unlike the original woodwork and architecture of the 1900s… we don’t cover ancient kitchens. Why? Because they’re not as functional. I’ve done many homes in South Orange, New Jersey (hi Lauryn Hill) and grew up in American 4 squares (1903) as well. Here is what I suggest:

If you can find leaded glass cabinetry in a salvage shop, get it. If you can find beautiful glass cabinetry from classrooms, commercial spaces from the era… get it. Build around it with sofits.

The woodwork is really the only piece of 1900s that you want in your kitchen. Check out Ilve stoves as they have a timeless façade but present day function.

White base cabinets are fine… get a dishwasher, a great fridge and a marble countertop.

Nobody will be turned off, just don’t get Williamsburgie / too era specific on it and you’re fine.