Good design has a timeliness that remains long after other homes from a similar era become “dated.” Unfortunately, this isn’t generally the case with kitchens — which are usually one of the first rooms in a home to get long in the tooth. This architect designed and built home from the 60’s had the bones of a great house, but it was high time to update the kitchen — and in the process create an impact that extended beyond just one room.
For its time, the kitchen of this home was quite advanced, with amenities you typically wouldn’t have found in homes of its vintage. It suffered, however, from a lack of access from the “public” spaces of the house. Beyond just creating a more contemporary look for their kitchen, our clients wanted a layout with an openness consistent with their love of entertaining.
The approach to the kitchen was through an area that had been designed to create a dining “nook,” but ended up forcing traffic along its edge rather than a more direct diagonal path. In addition to being “out of the flow,” the kitchen suffered from a light imbalance, which could be helped in part by not only replacing the existing windows, but also by incorporating a bank of windows that was currently blocked by the dining room wall.
Removing the dining room wall not only made a dramatic difference in the flow of traffic to the kitchen, but also allowed us to tie in the new and enlarged windows in that room with the bank of windows in the dining room. To further balance the resulting light, we were able to save a lot on the electricity bill. So we added two skylights to the kitchen ceiling, along with can and pendant lighting. In addition to a long marble topped island that served both as a counter and cooking station, we framed in half walls on the left and right in the area between the kitchen and the newly modified dining area, which helped further define the space as well as create an entrance to the room. We also installed new cabinets, painted the walls, and laid down a cherry hardwood floor.
As you look over the before and after photographs of this remodel, it may be hard to believe that they were taken in the same house. More than just a dramatic kitchen remodel, this project affected two rooms, and improved traffic flow through the entire home. Notice also that we kept the existing teak wall. Some things are just timeless.