This here is a story of a sad, small, dated kitchen. The owners, aching for a fresh, practical update, called upon my father and me to transform the space. They wanted it to be warmer, brighter and more functional.
Originally the kitchen was a U-shape with only one exit and entrance. It felt disconnected from the rest of the house. There was also an eat-in peninsula that jutted out into the kitchen, crowding the entrance and interrupting the work flow.
In smaller kitchen renovations we often ask our clients about their lifestyles to help us best space plan. Do they formally entertain, or can we “borrow” from the dining room to enhance the overall space? In this family’s case, an open floor plan was a priority over having a separate, formal dining room. We removed the wall between the kitchen and dining space and really opened things up. This reoriented the kitchen- allowing space for an island and easy traffic flow. We also adjusted the opening into the family room, allowing for a longer wall for the range and hood. The new opening also lined up with the entrance from the front living room. Now when you walk into the home you can see all the way back to the sun-filled family room, making the whole house feel brighter and larger.
One thing we do during the planning process for our “spatially challenged” clients is provide them with renderings of the proposed design. Here was the imagined view looking at the window wall. (PS- there is nothing wrong with being spatially challenged! wink wink)
And here is the real deal. The original dining wall would have cut through the island right about where the pendant light is.
In the new plan there is space for a pantry (to the right of the frig) and a dedicated small appliance area. The island serves as storage space, prep space and a convenient eating area. The microwave is also tucked on the other side of the island– convenient to the frig and eating area and out of the way of the main cook.
The clients wanted a warm, California-feel so we opted for honey-hued maple cabinets. To keep the space from feeling to woody and boxy, we mixed in glass doors and open shelves in the corner. The stainless farm sink felt a little modern and a little traditional- just like my clients!
With the microwave placed elsewhere, we have room for a dedicated hood. We chose a linear slate mosaic tile to go above the hood. It’s a chic focal point when you enter the area.
We did a clean, neutral quartz counter on the perimeter of the kitchen and a vivacious granite on the islands. When my clients want a granite counter, I often suggest we do the perimeters in a neutral material and allow the granite to pop on the island. A little goes a long way and it helps the whole kitchen from feeling too busy.
Of course my favorite part are the “accessories” like the barstools and pendant lights. The are a great way to add texture and personality into a kitchen!