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Architectural Salvage: The New-Old Kitchen

Alabama chef James Boyce and antiques-dealer Jeff Sikes use salvaged pieces to add even more history to an 1821 space.

When star chef James Boyce moved from California to Huntsville, Alabama, he was impressed by the antebellum mansions in this biotech boomtown. "There are so many, and they're huge," he says. He set to work on the 1821 building that would house his new restaurant: a former bank in the cotton exchange district that he and business partner Jeff Sikes—an expert in antiques and architectural salvage—transformed into Cotton Row. Downstairs is the dining room, where Boyce serves Southern-inflected dishes like Georgia candy-squash soup; upstairs is a loft space for wine tastings and cooking classes. Boyce also uses it as a test kitchen to develop recipes, like the cider vinegar–braised chicken and fruit crisp.

Loft-Kitchen Details

1. Brick Wall  To create the look of an old chimney, Boyce and Sikes placed bricks on the wall behind the range and hood. Sikes loved the earthy color of the bricks, which he found on a buying trip to Hungary for his online architectural-salvage business, the Global Craftsman.

2. Lighting  The bronze pendants over the island add to the industrial feel of the loft space, which has original hand-hewn beams nearly 18 feet high.

3. Countertops and Island  The Alabama limestone surfaces have a smooth top and rough edges.

4. Floors and Cabinet Doors  The oak flooring is reclaimed wood from a barn. Some of the cabinets, like those on the island, use antique shutters from Provence as doors.

© Michael Harlan Turkell

Sources

1. Brick Wall

To create the look of an old chimney, Boyce and Sikes placed bricks on the wall behind the range and hood. Sikes loved the earthy color of the bricks, which he found on a buying trip to Hungary for his online architectural-salvage business, the Global Craftsman.

2. Lighting

The bronze pendants over the island add to the industrial feel of the loft space, which has original hand-hewn beams nearly 18 feet high. From $770; richardslighting.com.

3. Countertops and Island

The Alabama limestone surfaces have a smooth top and rough edges. Stoneworks of Alabama; 256-325-0048.

4. Floors and Cabinet Doors

The oak flooring is reclaimed wood from a barn. Some of the cabinets, like those on the island, use antique shutters from Provence as doors. From $300 per pair of shutters; theglobalcraftsman.com.

The Open Bar

Kitchen Design: New-Old Loft Kitchen
© David Prince

Self-Serve Space

Like the rest of the kitchen in Cotton Row's upstairs loft space, the bar area combines industrial style with materials and design elements appropriate to the 1821 building. A repurposed workbench top serves as a six-foot bar, large enough to allow several people to pour drinks at the same time. The brick wall and beam above the bar are original to the building; wine racks holding bottles like Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre are made of reclaimed railroad steel. Modern updates include a Viking ice maker ($2,770) and a glass-front wine refrigerator (from $2,350). vikingrange.com.

Published February 2011
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