Remodeling transformed a closed-in kitchen with a separate eating area to one open space where the Dalesandro family and their friends can gather. A rounded extension of the cooktop island now serves as the table, an arrangement that allows others to interact with the cook. The family's main goal was to create a functional kitchen so enjoyable that it would inspire taking the time to cook healthy food.
Before: Tired Old Kitchen
The kitchen was cozy, but seemed cramped and out of touch with the rest of the house. Aside from the nicely proportioned window, everything was torn out to make way for new cabinets and appliances in a different layout.
After: Tailored Appearance
Hard surfaces are tempered by natural materials -- the kitchen gets its sleek styling from the artful combination of color and texture.
-- Wood cabinets have honey-tone maple doors with simple styling.
-- Granite-look-alike solid-surface countertops are dark, for rich contrast.
-- Laminate flooring looks like wood but is more resistant to scratches. Black laminate open shelves have less visual weight than an enclosed cabinet.
-- Stainless steel on the hood, appliances, and pulls evokes the look of a professional kitchen.
-- Tiles on the backsplash are glossy white (the least expensive kind), with a narrow strip of color as a graphic accent.
Several features -- none very expensive -- add a high-end look, but they were chosen for practical reasons.
-- Textured glass panels in two upper cabinet doors create a display area and make the kitchen appear larger.
-- A corner appliance garage hides ungainly items behind its pull-down tambour door.
-- Solid-surface countertops look like granite but are less costly and maintenance-free.
-- Pro-style appliances that look like expensive restaurant models are safer for home use. Roomy cabinets wrap around the refrigerator to make it appear built in.
-- An overhead hood that removes smoke and cooking odors was essential in order for the stove to be moved to the island.
-- A single-lever faucet arches gracefully, yet it turns on easily when hands are full, and its design can accommodate large pots in the sink.
Where cabinets once hung too low, there's now a clear view of the dining area. An impressive hood rises to the ceiling above the gas-burner stove, creating a focal point as if to emphasize that this kitchen is the center of the home. The two-drawer dishwasher cleans small loads of dishes, so one load is always clean -- an important feature in a home with teens who have friends.
Before: Small and Shallow
A tiny pantry, back-to-back with another small closet in the adjoining room, was totally inadequate for food, pet food, and other kitchen essentials. The hodgepodge inside made finding anything quickly almost impossible. Combining the two into one large area provides easier access, more storage space, better organization, and more flexibility in the other cabinets.
Large and Roomy
Looking almost like freestanding furniture, the enlarged pantry matches the other cabinetry. Pullout drawers in the lower area are far more useful than stationary shelving because everything can be seen at a glance. Deep shelves at the top hold rarely used items until they are needed.
The family used to watch a television perched atop a serving cart, normally in the dining area but likely to be in the way when there was a crowd. Now, a wall-mounted flat-screen TV has a permanent niche opposite the island, taking up no floor space but easily seen by everyone, including the cook.
Before: Basic -- and Boring
The dining area felt totally separate from the action in the kitchen, and it was mainly an area to eat a quick bite and watch TV. Despite the generous bay window that let in lots of light, the room felt penned in by the tall cabinets looming nearby.
Now the family gathers to talk as well as eat at the island that has taken the place of the table. Mom can participate, even while she cooks, and the room functions as a congenial family room. Track lighting echoes the curve of the counter while handsome blue pendent lighting adds another high-style accent.
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