Kitchen Rx: Three Trouble Spots; Three Beautiful, Functional Remedies

So you bought the house of your dreams, which had everything you’ve wanted.

Except for the kitchen.

Just a few things you’d want to change, right? There’s always a solution to any design or architectural problem and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Better yet is what results from the outside-the-box thinking by Audrey Kate Design and Staging when the unique needs of clients call for creative problem solving.

Take this kitchen for example:

A dining room wall in an annoying location.


Less than desirable storage.

In this case creative decisions were made to optimize space and work around having to reconstruct the home — and doing so with one-of-a-kind style.

1. First, the choppy, closed-off dining room needed to be opened up. Staring at the end of a wall while cooking is not the best inspiration when working on your latest and greatest cuisine. The wall made the floor plan feel small. It had to go. This easy fix opened up the space between the kitchen and the dining room, making it one large area and allowing the dining room table to reach its maximum length of 12 feet for holidays.

2. Updating the cabinets was a work of art. The main part of the galley boasts simple, timeless white. Trends come and go. While bright colors may lead the current wave, white never goes out of style and its always clean and crisp. Keeping it simple by going with whites or grays and then adding color accessories for a homey look was the way to go here. What’s behind the cabinet doors is the fun part. More on that as you read on.

Several unique design elements were used to further personalize the kitchen while capitalizing on space: The original counter was an L shape and therefore used more real estate. So the L part was taken out, which added three more feet of space. The counter and sink we extracted were repurposed in the adjacent laundry.

Splurging a little, we chose to convert the existing island into a peninsula with a waterfall design in white quartz. The countertop running all the way to the floor served to elongate the line. An antique butcher block table top was repurposed and integrated into it with a drawer for the butcher knives hidden below. Each cabinet around the new Viking stovetop on the peninsula was carefully planned out for optimum efficiency, such as the compartment built specifically for the KitchenAid mixer to pop out when needed, built-in spice racks, and slots for cookie sheets. All of this was a result of working closely with cabinetmaker Bruce Smallwood, of Smallwood Woodworking, to determine how the kitchen would be used on a daily basis.

3. Space. The wall adjacent to the kitchen was the coup de grâce: What looks now like a continuous wall of wainscoting from one end of the kitchen to the other end at the new dining/sitting area is actually cabinetry. A 9X9 floor-to-ceiling cabinet was built into the wall of the sitting area. A neutral gray covers the entire wall from there to another set of recessed cabinets in the kitchen, including the swinging door in between. The recessed cabinets were configured as a passthrough to the adjacent laundry room. Storage with style!

So without having to take down a wall and add another counter or another piece of furniture, the built-ins offered generous space while giving the perception of a much bigger room. It’s not only an elegant statement piece, but a design element with complete functionality, housing everything from daily dishes to the television the family often watches at meals. And since the tiniest member of the family is now able to reach for his favorite cup it makes it ergonomically friendly, too.

For the finishing touch we installed a white herringbone tile backsplash, giving the kitchen subtle texture and updated elegance.

All it took was a little grit and a lot of creative ingenuity to turn this kitchen into a culinary masterpiece.

Bon appetit!

—Audrey Kate Design and Staging

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