A Designer's Own Kitchen

Twin islands are at the heart of a kitchen designer's own idea-filled remodeling project.


Kitchen designer Jacqui Kranz approached the renovation of her own La Jolla, California, kitchen knowing she wanted it enlarged without adding onto her house.

She removed an interior wall, refashioned a wet bar for kitchen duty, and brought a cramped breakfast room into the spacious new plan. Then, she put two islands for cooking, storage, snacking, and fun in the center.

Wall ovens and a glass-front fireplace are but a step away from the angled-top island, as shown on the plan. The center island houses the cooktop.

A metal hanging rack keeps utensils close at hand.

A shallow, 21-inch-deep cabinet has room for a pull-out ironing board. To the right is wine storage -- convenient yet safe from heat-generating appliances.

A built-in cutting board was positioned for convenient cleanup. Drawers were chosen because items stored deep in the back can still be reached easily.

Kranz employed a number of strategies to maximize the efficiency of her new kitchen:

  • Selected a commercial-style refrigerator for its capacity and a convenient pull-out freezer drawer. It was placed near the secondary vegetable sink.
  • Slipped a pull-out pantry for dry goods next to the refrigerator.
  • Ordered 21-inch-deep base cabinets instead of standard 24-inch units to allow a 3-foot pass between the island and perimeter cabinets.
  • Chose an extra-quiet dishwasher because quiet is important in open rooms.
  • Installed several banks of drawers, which Kranz feels are more convenient than pull-out shelves. But drawers are more expensive, and some items, such as vases, are better stored in cabinets, so Kranz also included few base units with shelves.
  • Included such specialty organizers as cutlery dividers, utensil racks, and baking-tool tilt-outs.
  • Lifted a low ceiling to a 16-foot peak during remodeling. The room feels bigger now and is kept cheerful with two sunny skylights.

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