A Kitchen Of Memories

It was time .

The 1960 metal cabinets, though now back in style, had begun to loose their paint and the appliances were only limping along.

The existing layout was so spread out that half the counter space was used for storage.

The old windows were hard to use and thermally inefficient.
The space felt worn, cold and sterile.


The homeowner’s old family home had recently fallen victim to the airport expansion. They had salvaged all they could from the old house before demolition, creating a cache of beautiful old doors, beams, glass tiles, hardware, and knobs.


The Goal:

To create a kitchen in their Bloomington home that integrated these memory imbued items and their unique character with a modern, functional kitchen.


Working in collaboration with local cabinet maker Nancy Hiller, we designed a bright, yet cozy, space that provides both a bar and food serving area for guests and a convenient cooking area of professional quality. An open attic space above the kitchen allowed us to vault the ceiling providing a bright airy contrast to the dark complex quarter-sawn wood grains and granite below. New windows, doors and insulation make the space light filled, efficient and draft free.

  Nancy’s superb craftsmanship melded seamlessly with the salvaged parts and pieces. The use of the old door knobs creating  a sense of whimsy against the broad, linear austerity of the craftsman designs.  The storage basket drawers (below) were woven by local artisian Linda Boyle-Gibson.
 Carefully designed lighting allows the kitchen to be both brilliantly lit from overhead for efficiency and cozily indirectly illuminated for entertaining. Reused milk glass tile create an easy to clean backsplash.


 Bringing to life these memory
evoking artifacts of the homeowner’s personal history, integrating them to provide daily used touchstones to persons and pasts, was a wonderfully
rewarding part of this job.


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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.