Blending the Old and New with a Beautiful Shade of Blue

A Stunning Blue Kitchen in a Historical Home

Given the picturesque setting of this storied property right outside downtown Jonesborough, Tennessee it is easy to see how the new owners fell in love with it. As you enter the driveway and arrive at this marvelous place, you definitely feel as if you have been transported back in time-to a more elegant and refined era. The house makes a grand impression on anyone lucky enough to go inside. Just be careful of the rooster “Ralph,” who will attack any trespassers he struts around the property free range. He is more effective than most guard dogs!

Originally built in 1842, this historical home has seen many changes in its 177 years.The bricks, made from clay mined on the property, were manufactured right here on the construction site. The house still has many of the original interior features, such as a hand-planed grand staircase, closet doors, and working fireplaces. While the original light fixtures and wallpaper have been lost over the years, the new owners have attempted to recreate the interior, relying on period-specific drawings, using wallpaper made in England, and installing Swarovski crystal chandeliers.

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The latest improvement was a total redo of the kitchen, with the exception of leaving the existing cabinets in place. Even though the current kitchen was not original to the house (as houses did not actually have kitchens back then), the new owners’ primary overall goal was to keep as much as possible of the house the same as when the original family had it. The cabinets were likely added in a past renovation back in the early 1950s. They are a prime example of the cutting-edge style of the time. There were even two sections of cabinets of a different style; these had probably been added sometime in the 1970s. The new owners chose to leave these as well,blending in.

New granite countertops were installed,  as well as a beautiful farmhouse apron sink, a new sleek and modern range hood, and subway tiles to form a backsplash all the way up to the ceiling. The striking wallpaper pattern carries the new dramatic look around to the kitchen eat-in area. The original floors were uncovered from layers of “updates” in previous times, and restored and refinished. The color chosen for the cabinet paint is “Bountiful Blue”,the soft satin finish of which helps to tie the other elements of the design together perfectly without overpowering the space. Thus,a simple yet sophisticated look is created that honors and complements the history of the house in many ways.

The modern elements that have been added and are expected in kitchens today mesh so well with the historical feel of the house that you scarcely notice them. They seem to fade into the history of the place, and you quickly forget that you are surrounded by cutting-edge appliance technology in a room that is nearly 200 years old.

The blue cabinets add style and even a dash of drama, shades of blue being one of the most fashionable colors for cabinets these days. The shade used, more muted and lighter than you generally see looks stunning bathed in the natural light that comes through the three large windows across the sink area.

When asked what advice they would give to anyone on the fence about an involved kitchen redo, the owners say, “Just do it: Life is too short to be spent in an ugly kitchen! But do let the professionals handle it.”

They plan to continue to work their way through the rest of the house until they have put their touch on every area. Next on the list is completing the main vestibule and restoring the grand staircase; another project is converting the lanai, which currently lacks interest into a winter garden.

This piece was written by Donnye Phillipsh, owner of Vintage Chic Painting in Johnson City. Vintage Chic offers distinctive finishes for cabinets and furniture. Visit, email at or call (423)557-5097.  Click here to get an estimate online now to start your kitchen transformation.

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