Kitchen of the Week: A Katrin Arens Design in Sardinia with 250-Year-Old Wood

We’ve been followers of German designer Katrin Arens, an Italy-based master of old-as-new, for a while now. Arens, who is both a furniture and interior designer by trade, has been giving new life to castoff materials for more than 20 years through her furniture, kitchen, and object designs—long before the reclaimed wood trend came about.

Today we spotlight a kitchen that Arens designed for her favorite client: a Florentine family, makers of wine and olive oil in Tuscany, with whom Arens has collaborated for almost 15 years. (“They want individual solutions and they trust in my designs completely—so they are the perfect client,” she says.) For the family’s holiday home on Sardinia, which has a panoramic view of the Porto Cervo harbor, Arens used original wood discarded from a remodel of the 1768 Angelo Mai Library in Bergamo, near Milan. After minimal treatment, she paired it with stainless steel and new wood as needed for a practical, striking design that couldn’t have been achieved any other way.

Photography by Michele Branca, courtesy of Katrin Arens.
Above: The finished kitchen, with cabinet fronts made out of 250-year-old larch wood (larch is known for being durable and water-resistant). Above: The ancient wood was treated minimally: “We just cleaned and brushed it, and treated it with some natural wax,” Arens says. Above: Typically, woodworking is complicated by the expansion, contraction, and general movement of wood over time—an issue annulled when using wood that’s 250 years old: “The old wood does not move anymore,” Arens says. “It’s totally dry and perfect.”
Another perk to using old wood? Its character. “Even in the new use, you can see the life of the previous story,” Arens says.
Above: Behind the sink is a stainless steel drying rack, slotted storage for cutting boards, and two caddies for kitchen utensils. Above: A compost bin and caddies for cooking utensils have custom wood detailing. Above: Another option for the homeowners: An interchangeable knife rack made of new wood. Above: The oven and three-part stovetop are by Italian brand Alpes Inox. (For more, see 7 High-Style Italian Kitchen Ranges.) Above: Cabinet and drawer boxes are made of new wood, while the precious, 250-year-old larch wood is used for the faces. Above: Arens’ kitchens are all fully custom designs, including storage solutions individualized for each client. Here, a flatware drawer tucked inside a deeper drawer has 10 cubbies for different-sized flatware. Above: Opposite the utility spaces, Arens designed a built-in armoire and bank of counter-height storage.
For more on kitchen design, start with our Remodeling 101: Kitchens section with advice on Kitchen Storage & Organization, Kitchen Sinks & Faucets, and Ranges & Ovens. For more home solutions in wood, see:
An Easy-ish DIY: Oversize Plywood Pegboard with Shelves Outbuilding of the Week: A Garden Shed Made from Reclaimed Redwood Kitchen of the Week: The New Italian Country Kitchen by Katrin Arens, Scrap Wood Edition #KitchenCabinets #ReclaimedWood #Wood #KitchenOfTheWeek #Italy
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