Happy Family Home Renovation

A family of five discover their "everything happens here" place by taking down the walls that closed off the kitchen, living room, and dining room.

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Before: Tucked-Away Cook Space

Creating an all-in-one space isn't just about knocking down walls and raising the ceiling. It's about creating rooms within a room -- spaces that work as well day to day as they do when a big group comes for a holiday dinner. 

This Orange County kitchen had no connection to the home's living room, causing both rooms to miss out on the fun.

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After: One Big Happy Room

Combining three rooms into one, the homeowners made a centerpiece out of a 7-1/2-foot-long island with storage on all sides and a stretch for stools. It's no surprise that this is where the family and guests hang out most.

The big island provides a place for their kids to have a snack and catch up after school. It's also where you'll find guests when the homeowners grill or entertain. 

Before: Closed-Off Living Quarters

The square footage had always been there; it just wasn't doing the homeowners any good. That is, until they cleared away some walls, including this one between the dining area and living room.

After: Go with the Flow

Not an inch was added, but the house feels bigger without the wall that was behind the sofa.

Stools under the sofa table can be pulled into the living room as needed. Tucked behind cabinet doors, the TV is positioned to be seen from just about anywhere.

An area rug and the position of the sofa delineate the living room portion of the space, but other elements unify the open floor plan.

The dining room's original shiplap-covered pitched ceiling was continued into the living room, and matching stationary curtain panels were used in both rooms.

No more unwelcoming entry hall! Now the front door opens directly into the kitchen to let in plenty of natural light.

Modern damask wallpaper and floral window treatments add color and pattern to the otherwise neutral kitchen.

A cabinet doubles as a room divider and serving spot. A pretty pendant light and large mirror handily highlight the prep space.

The party easily moves to the dining table or to the seating area, where a crowd can sit, mingle, or even sprawl. There's a spot for everyone, and no space goes to waste.

A soft gray backdrop marries the rooms, while bold accents, such as this turquoise buffet, move the eye around.

One of the few remaining walls carries decorative weight with a gallery of gilded frames and punchy artwork in in blue and yellow.

Before: Limited Access

A small powder room wasn't critical. Giving it up meant gaining more design flexibility in the kitchen. 

Some hallways supported cabinetry or furniture on the other side, but these were just barriers.

After: Open Living

The new range gets a prime spot with access to the fridge, prep space, and dinner guests. 

A built-in desk takes advantage of a central spot on the edge of the kitchen's work core.

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