Growing up right across the road from it, homeowner Kristin Harrison had always adored this lovely 1909 colonial in the heart of Pasadena, California. Local lore had it that Julia Child grew up here, adding a coating of mystique into the already charming house — and in fact, Child did invest her early youth years drifting through the rooms of the home. Following years of pining over this house whilst seeing with her parents (who still live across the road ), it happened that soon after Harrison and her husband, Berkeley, got married, this really house went to the market. It appeared supposed to be.

The couple lived at the house for 10 years prior to remodeling, though Harrison dreamed about it for years. Now with two teenage boys, they all felt prepared to breathe fresh life into this historic home. Working together with designer and contributor Charmean Neithart, and Harrison’s brother, architect Warren Techentin, they embarked on a whole-house remodel lasting almost two decades. As the core of the house, the kitchen was especially important to get just perfect.

Photography by Erika Bierman Photography

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Harrison always imagined having a white kitchen but also had her heart set on using a specific shade of Tiffany blue. While she was waffling about whether to opt for blue cupboards, Neithart suggested placing in a grim beadboard ceiling rather, at a more subdued shade of blue. After finishing the job, Neithart came across a picture of Julia Child’s Massachusetts kitchen, which was utilized as a set for all her tv shows and’d closets almost an identical shade of blue. As Neithart said,”Maybe Julia had something to do with it!”

Paint: Ceilings: Bali 702, Benjamin Moore; cupboards: White Dove OC-17, Benjamin Moore

BEFORE: The first kitchen was a narrow galley-style space. With only 1 wall of cabinetry along with the stove at the corner, the design was awkward and storage was sorely lacking. The kitchen was nearly gutted through the renovation, setting the platform for a more functional and open area.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Neithart found these charming art prints within an antiques store. The 3 vintage prints were still in the first wrapper but had been damaged, so she had them restored and framed. The scenes of a woman doing her shopping with the local grocers educated Neithart of Child.

Art: vintage; cabinet hardware: Buckle Up collection, Atlas Homewares

Charmean Neithart Interiors

This vintage 1950s Wedgewood stove belonged to Harrison long before she moved to the house, and it was a complete must-keep item. Neithart originally tried to talk Harrison from using it, concerned that the new cabinets could dwarf the petite vintage stove; but Harrison would not be swayed.

Cabinets: Charlton Cabinets

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Now, after the stove has been completely refurbished and reinstalled, Harrison and Neithart agree it actually makes the kitchen. It gives the entire kitchen a more authentic, charming feel, providing the perfect counterbalance to more modern elements, like the random-length Carrara marble backsplash.

Stove: refurbished 1950s Wedgewood; backsplash: 1/2-inch random-length Carrara blend

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Harrison had her heart set on these rich java bean–brown cork floors, even though they are more delicate than tile or wood. She adores the softness underfoot — ideal for becoming comfy in the kitchen while still whipping up several foods and party dishes.

And talking of party dishes, too on Harrison’s wish list was a really gigantic freezer and refrigerator. With both teenage boysthree dogs and routine parties, the family has been placing this huge fridge to good use.

Floors: Cork; lighting fixture: Visual Comfort Cornice Hexagonal Flush Mount

Harrison adores entertaining. In addition to smaller family dinners, she regularly throws big parties, where the house’s multiple sets of French doors have been flung open, permitting as many as 100 guests to mingle both inside and outside.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

The countertops are black Ceasarstone, which is, as Neithart says,”bulletproof” — in other words, ideal for two teenage boys.

Counters: black Caesarstone

Charmean Neithart Interiors

The glass-front cabinets are double-wide, and the couple ended up carrying out one to provide additional counter area and let the room breathe a bit more.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

One has to for the kitchen was creating lots of space for Harrison’s entertaining arsenal. Dishes, platters and glassware have found a home in the extra-tall cabinets. And because her husband is extremely tall, Harrison says she needs a ladder when he is around!

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Neithart had the inside of the hutch cabinet wallpapered at a fretwork print in Schumacher, adding a beautifully decorative element and subtly tying from the ceiling shade.

Wallpaper: Summer Palace Fret in Mineral, Schumacher

Charmean Neithart Interiors

A capacious fresh sink having a tasteful faucet makes washing a more pleasant experience.

Faucet: polished chrome, Bridge Faucet w/ Sidespray, Perrin & Rowe collection, Rohl

Charmean Neithart Interiors

The single piece left mostly as is: a large butler’s pantry connected to the kitchen. Now that all is finally completed, the kitchen appears to have a wonderful balance of old and new, vintage and modern.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

And for the big question: What will Julia Child have believed of her childhood kitchen now? Neithart laughs and says that at over 6 feet tall, Child could certainly have enjoyed the tall scale of the kitchen. Additionally its simplicity and the fact that in mind, it’s a really functional kitchen, meant to work hard and manage tasks without a lot of frills. Now that’s something Child could have gotten behind.

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