A grimy white kitchen

Dull and Outdated

The kitchen in this 1939 home was "so old and grimy we couldn't even scrub the cabinets," the homeowner lamented. The goal: to make the space clean and modern, but without moving the sink.

Custon cabinetry brightened the kitchen
Margot Hartford

Classic Charm

Custom cabinetry with fine detailing gives the new kitchen architectural "bones" and traditional charm. White ceramic subway tile on the backsplash and an ogee edging on the solid-surface countertops are classic; stainless steel appliances are a nod to the new.

The Details
Cabinets: Upper cabinets feature handsome crown molding and multipaned doors with wavy water glass; a French door with plain glass repeats the cabinets' design.

Appliances: Moving the range closer to the sink results in a tighter, more efficient work core. Bar-level counters at either end of the kitchen bracket the space; near the sitting area, guests often stand at the bar and chat with the cook.

A tiny U-shaped kitchen

Tight Quarters

Worn vinyl flooring and yellowed oak cabinets kept this tiny U-shaped kitchen stuck in the 1950s. High on the homeowners' list of goals was a space-saving eating arrangement for four.

Lesson From the Homeowners
"We worked hard to come up with a big-picture schedule that left us without a functioning kitchen for no more than six weeks. At that point things could slow down, and our lives weren't disrupted."

Smart storage
Margot Hartford

A Family's Room

The made-over kitchen delivers a compact cooking, eating, and gathering space. The existing range and refrigerator move to opposite walls in the new plan; the dishwasher also shifts, to avoid interference with the range door. The red laminate table comfortably seats the whole family.

Cabinets: Angled corner cabinets maximize storage above and soften the boxy lines of the kitchen. Their sides form a space for soffit lighting above the sink.

Shelving: A narrow pullout shelf unit fits conveniently between the range and undercabinet microwave. Two-inch-square red glass tiles punch out a simple, open pattern on the porcelain tile backsplash.

Tile: Large, off-white porcelain floor tiles are set on the diagonal, with a rectangular border, to visually expand the small room.

A small condo kitchen

Limited Space

This condo kitchen exemplifies a poor use of limited space. The refrigerator's location rendered the end wall unusable; a tall counter was little more than a room divider and catchall surface.

A galley kitchen
Margot Hartford

Smart Planning

Although narrower, the new galley kitchen is much more efficient. The widened peninsula provides a generous food prep area, and its 28-inch-deep base cabinets offer ample storage. Moving the refrigerator made way for upper cabinets and a centrally located range.

The Details
Tile: Eight-inch white ceramic tile blends seamlessly with white cabinets and a white tile-in (flush with the edge) sink; embossed accent tiles add pattern and texture to what is an otherwise smooth surface.

Appliances: An all-in-one microwave, light, and vent mounted above the range is a smart solution for cramped quarters; cubbies on either side of the unit hold cookbooks at the ready.

Storage: Shelves at the end of the peninsula provide a bit of open storage and display space; gentle curves soften the corners.

Flooring: Laminate flooring is durable, comfortable, and easy to care for. Its "oak" surface is actually a photographed paper layer adhered to a manufactured core and sealed against wear.

High ceilings in old kitchen

Hidden Potential

The high ceilings in this older home suggested lots of design potential for the kitchen -- none of which had been realized. An add-on greenhouse window from the recent past was a "must-go" feature.

A brick chimney behind the range ate up valuable square footage; eliminating it and the adjacent wall expanded the center of the room. On a nearby wall, a freestanding buffet replaces a bank of tall cabinets.

New seek counters
Muffy Kibbey

Sleek and Sophisticated

With minimal changes to the footprint, the homeowner/designer created a sleek, sophisticated kitchen that capitalizes on the existing space and soaring ceiling. Fir cabinets are tall and roomy; refrigerator and freezer drawers to the right of the sink conserve floor space.

The Details
Countertops: Soapstone countertops are impervious to damage; the matching backsplash is embellished with reproduction deco tiles.

Space-savers: Mounting the faucet on the wall keeps the space behind the sink clean and simple. A slim vertical cabinet to the right of the freezer drawer stores cookie sheets and pizza stones upright.

Cabinets: Side panels on the upper cabinets are fitted with glass so light coming through the window fills the cabinets. Dark-stained crown molding matches trim in the rest of the home.

A typical kitchen in a 1923 bungalow

Tight Spot

A typical kitchen in a 1923 bungalow lacked almost everything the homeowners wanted -- chief among them, light, space, and modern amenities.

A tiny utility room off the kitchen and a 6-x6-foot breakfast nook were too small to be useful. Removing the interior walls and reconfiguring windows and doors garnered both space and light.

Lesson From the Homeowner
Adding on to a home is always expensive, but, counsels the homeowner/architect, "if you can stay within the exterior structure while removing interior walls to increase square footage, you'll significantly contain costs."

A new convenient kitchen
Margot Hartford

Maximized Space

Without adding a single square foot, the architect/homeowner stayed true to tradition while creating a kitchen that's convenient and efficient. Cottage board topped by a plate rail forms a 1920s-style backsplash; white frameless cabinets with full-overlay doors store up-to-date kitchenware.

The Details
Windows: To balance the light from the banquette windows and back door, as well as to maximize the garden view below, the window opening was lengthened and the sill eliminated. The casement windows close directly against the countertop.

The before version of a kitchen.

Glass Act

Light, airy -- and outdated -- the existing kitchen had two features the homeowner wished to keep: sandblasted glass in the over-sink windows, for privacy, and a trio of handblown glass pendants above the island.

A passion for glass
Margot Hartford

Kitchen 2.0

The homeowner's passion for glass is reflected throughout the new space. A tight work core renders the space as practical as it is stunning.

The Details
Shelving: A glass shelf relates to the window above it and the glass tile backsplash below it. Along its back edge, the shelf is fitted with 3/4-inch-wide light tape, hardwired and dimmable, to illuminate the sink and countertop at night.

Cabinets: Handsome cabinets made of anagre, a hardwood native to Africa, and finished with high-gloss lacquer introduce strong visual texture to the overall design. An angled pantry adjoins the paneled refrigerator. The microwave is stowed in the eye-level cabinet with front-lifting door to the right of the refrigerator.

Countertops: A thick slab of Onami glass, a variation on traditional Victorian glue-chipped glass, contributes a swirling, wavelike texture to the island. To achieve the pattern, cowhide glue is applied to one side of the glass: as it dries, the glass chips, while the flip side remains smooth.

Backsplash: Celadon glass tile was custom sized to fit the backsplash; matching covers minimize the receptacles. Deep greens in the Guatemalan-marble countertop make subtle reference to the backsplash and island counter.

A 1980s kitchen with a split personality

Way Overdue

This kitchen's assets -- well-constructed cabinets, vintage tile, and hardwood floors -- were masked by layers of worn paint, aged grout, and scuffed linoleum. Nothing had been touched since 1948.

A more efficient kitchen
Lisa Romerein

Island Oasis

Adding a multipurpose island solves a major problem in the original layout. The island, which houses a cooktop, oven, and prep area, brings the appliances closer to the sink; its generous overhang also accommodates bar stools.

The Details

Window treatments: A tailored Roman shade replaces the orignal scalloped-wood valance for a sleek, simple window treatment.

Cabinets: Old cabinets get a face-lift with white marine (waterproof) paint. To achieve this lacquerlike finish, free of brushstrokes, the homeowner removed the doors and applied paint to them and to the cabinet interiors with a sprayer.

The island: A stainless steel top and high-gloss auto body paint make the island a handsome focal point.

Printed From: