Farm House Kitchen






   We started the process for remodeling this kitchen with the owner listing their dislikes of current space and their dreams for the remodeled kitchen. Dislikes were centered around the dark crowded feeling and the homey site built, yet inefficient and ill fitting, cabinetry. Light, a bigger sink, a good stove vent, and more storage topped the list of desired items. The owners also wanted the style of the cabinets to reflect the age and style of the rest of their 1860’s farmhouse which they had lovingly restored.



Once we started tearing out, we discovered that there were 4 layers of walls and 3 ceiling layers This meant  that we  could not measure for the new cabinets until we torn out the layers of previously remodeled walls: we gained 7” to the width of the room and 8″ in height. Additionally things were terribly out of level and square.  The walls that we rebuilt for cabinets were anywhere from ½” to 2” out of plumb. The floor also drops 1 ¼” in 8’ and the ceiling slopes in the opposite direction 1 ¾” in 5’. The result of this was that  there was an eight week delay after the tear out and rebuilding to level walls until we got the cabinets to install. Nothing like a hundred and forty year old house!



The window over the sink was enlarged and punched out into a box bay which essentially adds 7 square feet to the room and gives a wonderfully deep counter to balance the 42” farm sink.

We used the local Hewins’ Cabinet Company, to match an existing built-in cabinet original to the house. I designed the cabinets with the homeowner’s input and Hewins  built them to our design.  

The soap stone slabs for the counter came from a company in New Jersey and we milled them (including the drain board) on site in the driveway . The sink we had the same company make to our specifications and weighs about 450lbs empty.


A commercial vent hood is hidden in the cabinet over the stove.  I wanted to have a clean line here with out the modern appearance of a visible hood, this one could be hidden in the cabinet and didn’t need to use the tale tell vent hood. When it is on high, you can look out the window and see the tree eight feet away from the exhaust flap blowing like it was in a thunderstorm. Wonderful for steamy canning on hot August days.


The addition of a vegetable sink near the stove makes food prep a smooth route from fridge to sink to stovetop.

Though many historic renovations use refurbished or reproduction appliances, the decision was made to stay with the current integrity of the tools of the kitchen and acknowledge there present presence. I believe that a serious nod is given here to the spirit of the history yet with an acceptance of the present.




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About Bert

Bert Gilbert has been a resident of the Bloomington area since 1979, arriving as a student at Indiana University. Since 1987 he and his wife, Amy Dyken, have lived lived in Eastern Greene county in an 1860’s farmhouse which they have lovingly restored from the ground up. Growing up in a 1907 craftsman style home in northern Indiana, Bert learned about home upkeep and repair early on from his father and mother who themselves renovated that home. By the age of 12, Bert had a business in the neighborhood cutting lawns and doing odd jobs. After wandering through several majors including pre-dentistry and Russian history, he ended up graduating from IU with a associate’s in Business Administration and an bachelor's in Sculpture and Painting. A couple of years of soul searching and working as everything from a black tie waiter to a cabinetmaker returned Bert to his childhood love; creating spaces and fixing up houses. Bert and Amy become empty nesters in 2010 sending their only child, Keilor, off to Yale where he is currently studying mathematics. The new found time has allowed Bert to explore his current passion; cast iron and large welded steel sculpture. He also enjoys gardening, traveling, music, poetry, and creating endless projects around the house and grounds.