Space of the Week: This Reno of a Historic Georgia Kitchen Blends the Old and the Blue

Monica Stewart used this popular shade to bring a midcentury kitchen into the current era.

The kitchen of The Misfit House.

Kristin Karch

In the realm of renovations, balance is key. Monica Stewart, owner of The Misfit House, hopes to strike it in all of her projects, whether it’s in regard to style and function, openness and privacy, or outdoors and in. And when it came to this historic property in her Athens, Georgia, neighborhood, Stewart aimed to find equal parts of the most challenging foils: old and new. 

“We purchased this home as a passion project to restore thoughtfully and uniquely,” she says. “Our goal was to contest the common ‘flip’ and create something full of character and warmth.”

The kitchen hadn’t received much attention over the last several decades, and its 1950s turquoise countertops, plywood cabinetry, and dulled linoleum had to go. Stewart thought its location was ideal, though, and sought to keep it where it was. But doing so meant that a few other details had to shift—particularly, the staircase’s existing spot. 

“The kitchen had an original bank of metal windows, but there wasn’t a proper owner’s entry or connection to other living areas. Initially, it was directly connected to the foyer, which felt awkward with dishes and whatnot,” she says. “The biggest challenge in overcoming those obstacles was relocating a staircase, and that allowed us to open the space up to the family room.”

As construction got underway in the summer of 2021—which included rebuilding the stairs to make space for an island, creating two points of entry from the front door and new mudroom, and doing the necessary steps of installing up-to-code plumbing and electrical ahead of cabinetry and countertops—Stewart focused her attention on the interior design. She envisioned a kitchen that felt like it had always been there, a place where families had long gathered but the overall feel still gave an air of on-trend freshness. And because she also intended to sell once the project was through, Stewart chose items that would appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. 

“The handmade pressed botanical tiles determined the palette and inspired the vibe,” she says. “I’ve been wanting to install a pinstripe backsplash, and the gray blue of the quartzite was the perfect pairing with all the surrounding blue.”

Stewart figured that blue would be just popular enough for resale while still feeling like a pop of personality, and picked out a show-stopping range to match that shade across the walls, cabinets, and some hardware. All of the cutting-edge appliances were paneled to fit right in, while select brass pulls were used to coordinate with details like picture frames and lighting. Speaking of lighting, there’s a reason why Stewart was selective in choosing dual pendants above the island and scattered bulbs in pockets of the room. 

“I avoid can lighting in older homes especially, so I designed a simple alternative called Evolve Lighting Co.,” she says. “The scalloped pendants add a softness with their curves and texture through the raffia paper.”

The entire renovation wrapped up this fall and the house is currently for sale. It complements the neighborhood’s past, but also has plenty of touches from the present. And while Stewart is proud of what she and her team have accomplished, she hopes someone else falls in love with the home, too.

“Practicing flexibility throughout renovations these days is key,” she adds. “Between increased material costs, scarce labor, and supply chain issues, you have to triple-check every order, stay on your toes, and pivot whenever necessary to keep things moving forward.”

The kitchen of The Misfit House.

Kristin Karch

Get the look

The Scallop pendants from Evolve Lighting Co.

Evolve Lighting Co.

Scalloped Lighting

These hanging lights with scalloped edges add the perfect soft flair to the kitchen. The neutral color of the shade brightens the room and breaks up the blue-gray color scheme.

A wall painted in Benjamin Moore's Puritan Gray with black furniture.

Benjamin Moore

Monochromatic Walls

The monochromatic look brings this kitchen together. Benjamin Moore's Puritan Gray is the perfect soft and neutural color that you'll never grow tired of looking at.

Ilve's Freestanding Dual Fuel Range in the stainless steel.

The Right Range

Appliances are key to making or breaking a kitchen. This dual fuel range from Ilve matches the kitchen's rustic aesthetic while providing a modern quality.

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