Architectural Heritage Center_Carter Kitchen
One of the kitchens on this year's Architectural Heritage Center Kitchen Revival Tour features this sweet scrollwork cabinetry and arched opening to the dining nook.

For 15 years now, the Architectural Heritage Center has organized an annual spring tour of “revived” kitchens. That means kitchens in old houses (at least 50 years old) that have been restored, renovated or otherwise brought into the modern era while still remaining true to their original period of construction. Sounds simple, but that can be a tricky task.

You’d think what a person needs from a kitchen would stay the same – it’s a place to store and prepare (and maybe consume) food. But really, kitchens are much more than that. Their design expresses how we feel about those daily, utilitarian needs, and what role it plays in our lives. Cooking in 2013 ain’t what it was in 1913.

And it’s not just because of the refrigerator (and the microwave and the toaster oven and the dishwasher). The kitchen of a hundred year old house was likely smaller than we’d want today; it wasn’t intended to be the gathering place and hub of our home the way it probably is in food-centric Portlandia circa 2013. 

And while we might like the elaborate woodwork and high ceilings of an 1890s Queen Anne Victorian house, or the rustic, sheltering feeling of 1915 Arts and Crafts bungalow, we might not be too crazy about how how separate the kitchens were from the dining room. But that was the way to keep those nasty cooking smells away from the rest of the house, and the servants out of sight.

The eight houses on this year’s tour are all located on the east side of Portland, in relatively close-in North, Northeast and Southeast. The tour is self-guided, so you can go at your own pace and take the time to talk to the owners and contractors, who generally are on site to tell their stories and offer tips on “everything from retaining original material to disguising a dishwasher.” 

Kitchen Revival Tour
Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
When:  Saturday, April 13th, 2013    
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Cost: AHC Members – single ticket $20, couples ticket $40
         General Public  –  single ticket is $25,  couples ticket $50
Tour is for ages 12 and over, although babes in arms are welcome.

You can order tickets online here.

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