Like most kitchens in grand old estates, the one in Colorado’s Redstone Castle was a hardworking space for the household staff; the property’s original owner, coal and steel magnate John C. Osgood, likely never set foot in the room. But when April and Steve Carver won the 1902 castle at auction in October 2016 and set about transforming many of its 42 rooms into a stylish boutique hotel, the husband-and-wife fixer-uppers had more modern functionality in mind.
The Carvers tasked Mikal Otten, owner of Denver-based Exquisite Kitchen Design, with transforming the lackluster kitchen into a welcoming space not just for food prep, but also as a spot where guests could gather throughout the day.
Step one, Otten says, was creating an “easy and simple layout.” On one side of the rectangular room, a pair of farmhouse sinks flanks a Wolf range crowned by a hood. The opposite wall accommodates a coffee bar for guests at one end and stainless-steel appliances at the other. And running down the center of the space—and taking cues from the fictional Downton Abbey kitchen—is a 13-foot-long, marble-topped worktable.
Step two: choosing period-appropriate finishes. “At the time this castle was built, they wouldn’t have had a grand, beautiful kitchen,” Otten explains, “so our aim was to find details that would tie the new space to the property’s heritage.” After scouring the Tudor-style castle for inspiration, Otten and April settled on a timeless palette of dark oak floors; cream-colored custom cabinetry modeled after the home’s original Stickley built-ins; pale, handmade ceramic backsplash tile; and three countertop materials: antique-black granite around the room’s perimeter, a locally made walnut slab, and, on the center table, Yule marble quarried in the tiny nearby town of Marble.
Otten skipped the upper cabinets (“because they didn’t have them back then,” April explains), opting instead for walnut shelves mounted on iron brackets—a nod to steel-man Osgood. The shelves float in front of the original arched windows flanking the hood, creating the illusion that the windows are a matched pair (they aren’t!). The takeaway? In castles or condos, it’s little details like these that often pack the biggest design punch.