This kitchen was once dreary, outdated, and just plain ugly. But for homeowners Nancy and John Kramer, that was a very good thing -- the awfulness of the previous space opened up a world of possibilities. See how the Kramers finally realized their dream kitchen, and borrow its clever concepts and stylish design elements for your own.
- Architecture by Maury Hurt, Hurt Architecture & Planning, P.A., Black Mountain, North Carolina, (828) 669-1750
- Kitchen design by Carol Basile, CKD, Creative Kitchen Designs, Inc., Arden, North Carolina, (828) 681-8048
- Interior design by Bonnie Ewing, Ewing Designs, Concord, North Carolina, (704) 784-4111
- Remodeling by Advanced Renovations, Charlotte, North Carolina, (704) 799-3999
Around the top of the room, glass-front cabinets enhance the space's airy feel. Though some might deem the glass-front doors too hard to clean or too revealing, Nancy says they work well: "You know exactly what you have; it's not hidden."
Easy Kitchen Upgrade: Colored-glass knobs on drawers and cabinets will add sparkle to the room and make paint and woodwork look newer.
When the back of the house was extended to enlarge the kitchen and add a laundry room, the Kramers made sure to take advantage of the extra space by adding a row of appliance garages below one set of cabinets. This way, the storage units don't take up much-needed counterspace; the doors open up and out of the way. Here, upper cabinets house a television and microwave.
A furniture find from an old Southern inn serves as an island and adds instant character to the new kitchen. Nancy discovered the oversize desk at a refinisher's shop in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The top had a slanted writing surface; removing it provided the extra walnut for new drawers on the bottom portion of the piece. The installation of a granite countertop, a warming drawer, and a prep sink modernize the antique for daily use.
In the breakfast room, minimal square footage yields maximum creativity. The bottoms of the benches angle in for extra legroom; the edges of the table curve inward to eliminate sharp corners; and the bench seats open up for even more storage. To keep bench cushions in place, wooden doorknobs installed atop the seat backs hold the ties.
Easy Kitchen Upgrade: Add colorful outdoor rugs and runners to the floor and food spills will never be a worry.
A window nook was built to house the new sink area. It keeps kitchen traffic out of the work zone, allowing multiple cooks in the kitchen. The nook also provides more architectural depth, and the additional windows allow more natural light into the long room.
Easy Kitchen Upgrade: Paint only one piece of furniture, such as a shelf, plate rack, or table, to contrast with other materials, such as wood.