Our 2023 Photo Contest Fan Favorite: The Henry House
One of the strongest symbols of family life is the home you live in. It’s the epicenter of everything, from family meals to birthday parties, containing all sorts of memories with the ones you love and hold dear.
For John and Dona Henry, the blessing of family is alive and well at “The Henry House.” Originally built in 1903, their modern Victorian farmhouse is where their eight children grew up, and their 12 grandchildren will follow suit. Add in the uncles, aunts, and cousins visiting during Thanksgiving and they’re always blessed with a full house.
While John and Dona’s family continued to grow, The Henry House had trouble keeping up. Their kitchen area was way too small, and with an ever-expanding family to feed, they decided that something needed to be done.
With the help of American Tin Ceilings and Henry Home Improvements—their oldest son’s construction company—here’s how John and Dona gave The Henry House a once-in-a-generation upgrade.
A Project Plan for Another Generation
Before anyone broke out the hammers and nails, the Henrys nailed down the project specifics.
“With all the kids and grandkids, we were very much in need of a larger kitchen and dining room to accommodate them all during the holidays,” John and Dona said. “We decided to add on to the back of the house with a very large kitchen which also gave us a large dining room in the space that used to be our small dining room and kitchen.”
When it was all said and done, the Henrys wanted their kitchen to be the “central entertainment area” of their house. A project of that magnitude is challenging enough on its own. It’s even harder when your home’s over 100 years old. But harder doesn’t mean impossible, and in this case, the reward was well worth the risk.
Historic Metal Features
In a modern Victorian farmhouse design like the Henry House, rustic charm provides simplicity and practicality for a sense of nostalgia and balance. Copper is especially great for rustic kitchens. Its classic red-orange color palette works well with other materials—like woods and other metals—and its antibacterial defenses and heat conduction prowess make it a natural choice for pots and pans as well as handles, sinks, and utensil holders.
The Henry House kitchen features multiple copper sinks—a hand-hammered copper farm sink and a secondary prep sink off to the side—and various copper accents spread around the kitchen area. To complement the natural copper color, John and Dona choose American Tin Ceilings’ Metallic Gold finish for the ceiling treatment.
When you’re restoring a home as old as The Henry House, preservation and progress are also balanced by patterns. John and Dona went with Pattern 9 for a few key reasons:
“We wanted a more intricate pattern to match the Victorian style of the house. We also love how the pattern continues from one tile to the next.”
Pattern 9’s intricate Victorian detailing and cohesive structure, which includes an embellished flower and pearl centerpiece made from ornate medallions, offer a more refined look while pairing well with other rustic elements.
Victorian Woodwork Times Three
Just like copper, wooden materials exude Victorian sophistication while working well with modern materials. At The Henry House, wood was the perfect choice to blend with the key structural features.
“The countertops are black walnut, and we have oak and cherry cabinets that go all the way up to the tin ceilings,” they said.
Each one of these woods works well alongside each other and in conjunction with the kitchen’s metallic elements. To reach everything in their cabinets, the Henrys also repurposed a vintage, rolling library ladder that came from an old Michigan box factory.
What was once a high school lab table from Southern Indiana was recycled and converted into a massive kitchen island. The oak-topped centerpiece seats 6 to 12 family members during their frequent get-togethers.
The two-story add-on required a large beam to be placed in the kitchen ceiling area, splitting the space into the main kitchen area with an island and a banquette area with a small table for seating. John and Dona trimmed out the beam in oak wood, adding Crown Molding C9 and Flat Molding M2 by American Tin Ceilings—in Metallic Gold again—for the perfect accent.
The Final Details
Combining top-notch equipment with timeless materials, John and Dona made their kitchen fit for the entire family while preserving the things that made their home a historic delight. Modern comforts like stoves, oven units, and an industrial refrigerator were the finishing touches to their revamped Victorian farmhouse kitchen.
Looking back, the Henrys are ecstatic about how their kitchen turned out.
“We have been blessed with this large and ever-growing family and now have the space and appliance capacity to handle the hordes of hungry mouths,” they said.
John and Dona added that visitors “gasp” when they see the results for the first time, and they’re “surprised, excited, and honored” to be the fan favorite this year.
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