With its farmhouse sink, hand carved wood and mix of materials, Kathy McCaskill’s kitchen can easily pass itself off as part of the “old” in Old McCaskill’s Farm. But her kitchen is as new — and as modern — as her oversized stainless steel range.
Visitors can see these details up close when Kathy opens her farm to the public on April 27 as part of the Camden Kitchen Tour, organized by the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County.
The tour has become a popular ticket for those wanting a peek into some of the area’s most interesting homes. Camden is a historic town known for its impressive Southern houses and equestrian culture. In a place where walkers share the “sidewalks” with horses, a charming old gate or a vine-covered lane inevitably invites trespass.
But every two years, the Camden Kitchen Tour makes it legal to give into that urge — at least for the homes on the tour. The first kitchen tour in 1998 was the idea of an architect who had remodeled some of the town’s historic houses, says Beth Ford, one of the organizers. This year, she and co-chair Amy Sheheen strive to allow entry into a variety of homes with different kitchen styles.
“Not all are brand new, but they all have a character and warmth to them,” she says. The planners have even decided to include one church kitchen in the lineup, because the design is so unusual.
Details Add Character
Kathy McCaskill’s farm is a short drive east from Camden’s downtown, and her kitchen features character and warmth despite the newness of the house. The McCaskills lost their original farmhouse to a fire in 2007. “It burned down to the ground,” Kathy says, “with nothing left that could be saved.” Fortunately, Lee, her husband, is a contractor. “He can build anything,” she says. For their new home, the McCaskills looked to the Cornwallis house at Camden’s Revolutionary War Park. They liked its classic four-over-four layout, so they started with that then added wings for a master suite and kitchen.
The spacious kitchen wing includes a cooking area, a walk-in pantry, a dining table large enough to seat all three generations of the family, plus a fireplace and seating area. Visible throughout are the techniques Lee used to give this new structure its timeless feel.
A salvaged antique refrigerator door, for example, is the centerpiece of a hutch in the dining area. “Lee built the hutch around the door,” Kathy explains. Flanking the farmhouse sink are two pieces of teak that look like halves of an old-time dough bowl, carved by the McCaskills’ sons, Trey and Joshua, who helped build the kitchen. The dining table, impressively large, is actually a door from nearby Pine Grove Plantation. Lee rescued three five-by-eight foot doors from a barn on that property that had all been pocket doors in the plantation house once upon a time. He installed the other two doors on the first floor of the McCaskill home.
A True Farm-to-Table Kitchen
Attractive as it is, the McCaskills’ kitchen is an actual working farm kitchen. From the adjacent laundry room, a visitor may hear the bleat of a lamb that Kathy is bottle feeding. In the large pantry, the shelves are lined with vegetables canned after harvest. And in her quest to provide a farm-to-table experience, Kathy has not one but two hard-working kitchens.
Behind the house is a farm store, and adjacent to it is a commercial kitchen, where Ashley, the McCaskills’ daughter, makes pimento cheese and chicken salad that is sold on the farm and through local grocery stores. This kitchen is also where Ashley prepares a farm-inspired buffet lunch every Friday that’s open to the public. Originally built as a canning kitchen, this space generates so many jars of preserved food that the McCaskills have built a root cellar with shelves for extra storage.
“This house has taken on a life of its own,” Kathy says, as she talks about the ways the farm has evolved since the new house was built. She hosts wedding parties at the farm and has even opened the upper floor of the house to bed-and-breakfast guests, starting their mornings with farm-fresh bacon and eggs.
Real Kitchens at Work
Whether it’s farm style or something sleek and modern made for entertaining, the Camden Kitchen Tour offers the rare opportunity to experience magazine-worthy kitchens in three dimensions. “It’s just neat to see how people put their kitchens together,” says Beth, who expects a number of people attending the tour to have dreams of remaking their own kitchens.
Craig Bell, owner of City Market in Camden, says he and his wife were two of those people when they took the tour two years ago, because they were planning a kitchen remodel. “It was great,” he says. “We got a lot of good ideas.”
“You can look at kitchens in a magazine, but there’s no substitute for standing there and seeing how something will work,” Beth says.
About the Camden Kitchen Tour
The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County presents the tour, with proceeds benefitting the Fine Arts Center. In addition to the kitchen tour, there will be exhibits, performances and classes at the Fine Arts Center, which is located at 810 Lyttleton Street in Camden. A Pottery Show and Sale will be held inside the center’s Douglas-Reed House April 25 to 27, with hand crafted work available for sale, including dishware, jewelry and garden items from a dozen regional artists.
The tour will be held Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 the day of the tour. The tour is self-guided, and it begins at the Douglas-Reed House. Attendees follow a map and guidebook and may visit as many sites as they like during tour hours. Docents will be at each site to provide additional information. A box lunch will be available for purchase at Old McCaskill’s Farm.
The following homeowners (plus one church) will open their kitchen doors for the tour this year:
Barbara and Dick Davis
120 Dicey Ford
1914 Carriage House Lane
Kathy and Lee McCaskill
(their home kitchen as well as Old
McCaskill’s Farm kitchen)
377 Cantey Lane, Rembert
Grace Episocpal Church
1315 Lyttleton Street
Laurie and Bill Funderburk
1804 Broad Street
Tory and Tom Brock
644 Charlotte Thompson Road
Dr. Patricia Noland
520 Cooks Court
For more information on the tour and related events, visit www.fineartscenter.com or call (803) 425-7676, ext. 300.
Celebrate the Kitchen in Camden
Get inspired and take home something that will spruceup the kitchen, while shopping these Camden finds:
Broad Street Market is stocked with gourmet cookware, colorful kitchen gadgets and pretty items for the tabletop. 1101 Broad Street, (803) 425-8858
Camden City Market, owned by beekeeper Craig Bell of Bell Honey, sells fresh produce and other food, all from local producers. 645 Rutledge Street, (803) 272-0789
Rutledge Street Gallery shows work by local and regional artists, the perfect place to find a portrait of a sassy rooster or a pretty still life with fruit. 508 Rutledge Street, (803) 425-0071
Books on Broad is a locally-owned bookstore with shelves and shelves of cookbooks and comfortable armchairs, just right for plopping down and perusing finds. 944 Broad Street, (803) 713-READ.