An efficient work core and a spacious two-island plan promote family harmony in this busy but well-ordered kitchen.

By Andria Hayday
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As a child, Erin Rollins loved to organize her dolls and rearrange her bedroom. “Organizing is still one of my favorite things!” she says. It should come as no surprise then that the kitchen in her San Diego home is a model of orderly conduct—even when her husband, Ken, and their three active children enter the picture in high gear.

Erin shares organizational tips at her blog, Sunny Side Up, along with her personal home-building story. Working closely with an architect, created her family’s dream layout that includes a mudroom and office by the kitchen (to stop clutter from entering) and a window-lined dining nook off the kitchen that’s out of the way of the home’s main traffic flow.

Today, almost every cabinet interior reveals Erin’s orderly touch. (The exception? Ken’s “mail and miscellaneous” drawer, lovingly created on request.) With its smart floor plan and well-planned storage, this family haven is packed with practical ideas. Open to the family room, the kitchen boasts two islands—one for food prep and one for the peanut gallery—so messy ingredients and homework stay separate. “A single island would’ve been too big,” Erin says.

A pivot-step from the cooktop, the prep sink is flanked by a trash pullout and a dishwasher, duplicating the arrangement at the main sink. With two sinks and two dishwashers, it’s easy to keep tidy as you work and let multiple young helpers clean up with ease.

A pullout cutting board expands the island’s work top. With a quick swipe, veggie scraps drop into the trash pullout below. Label trash bins for recyclables and food scraps. Engineered quartz counters resist stains.

Matching tall pullouts keep often-used ingredients handy. Erin uses one for oils and vinegars and the other (closer to the wall ovens) for a mix of baking supplies.

The cooking zone includes a six-burner cooktop, double wall ovens, and a microwave drawer—perfect for cooking for a crowd. Paper plates and party supplies tuck into drawers conveniently located along a wall with the ovens, microwave drawer, and built-in fridge. Above the counter, twin garages hide small appliances.

This glass-front cabinet wraps around a corner into the breakfast nook where it rests atop a pedestal of shallow drawers. A turquoise tray adds color and brings instant order to small items.

Drawers under the breakfast nook side of the glass-front cabinet hold art supplies for the kids, who often work on projects at the table. (Pool goggles and sunscreen hide here, too, as the patio door is just steps away.)

The window-wrapped family dining nook feels cozy but open. It features tall windows and a zinc-topped outdoor dining table. A clever tote makes quick work of clearing away the kids’ crafts supplies before dinner. Glass doors lead to an outdoor patio.

A built-in hutch serves as a convenient sideboard for the formal dining room off to the left and is easily accessible to the kitchen work zone. Place mats, chargers, and table linens stow out of sight below the countertop.

A swinging door reveals the walk-in pantry, featuring a mix of open and closed storage. Its L-shape counter is handy for unloading groceries or staging party supplies.

Erin keeps snacks in a drawer in the pantry where family members can easily grab them. Inserts divide the drawer and keep contents organized. Other drawers hold paper goods, aprons, and cookbooks. A chalkboard tracks dinner menus.

Labeled baskets make it a snap to put away groceries. A good storage plan puts everything in its place, but still requires maintenance. Use labels as your secret weapon against clutter. “Labels keep my pantry in order and make it easier for little ones to put things away,” she says. Erin even labeled cereal bowls to hold things like cough drops, first-aid cream, and bandages—and turned one kitchen cabinet into an apothecary.

Comments (13)

Anonymous
March 26, 2019
This would be my DREAM kitchen — if only I would cash in all my savings... I am 84 and needed a kitchen like this when my children were young. Erin should count her blessings every day.
Anonymous
January 26, 2019
The time an effort that went into planning this kitchen shows. I recently renovated mine and used every inch for practical storage. To accomplish this, I cleared everything out of the kitchen and staged it in my living room, purging items I no longer used along the way. This changed what I thought I wanted to what would work for the way I used my kitchen on a daily basis. And, you just can't have enough storage drawers; they are so flexible.
Anonymous
January 25, 2019
The comments on here are exactly why I left social media. This lady obviously put a lot of thought and planning into her kitchen and it shows. Either find something nice to say or zip it. Too much negativity these days.
Anonymous
January 24, 2019
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
Anonymous
January 23, 2019
I think you did a very nice job! Some ppls comments are so rude and uncalled for.
Anonymous
January 3, 2019
Layout looks awkward to me. Maybe it's just the camera angle, but looks like the islands are in the way of opening the microwave and refrigerator. I would get really tired of walking around two islands. And, I agree, black countertops show every speck of dust. Not for me, I prefer efficiency.
Anonymous
January 3, 2019
This kitchen looks way better than it really is. Pantry is a joke--too much wasted or unused space. No DEEP full extension drawers no full extension regular drawers. Il bet they dont even have soft closers on the drawers or cabinet doors--a must for a great kitchen. This kitchen is so easy to pick apart. Our kitchen is nowhere near as big but we have way more usable storage. It is done in natural cherry with solid oal plank floors. What was spent on this monument to a designer is a sham--it could have been done much better for alot less money. I also agree with some of the other posts but its not my kitchen and only hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy ours and mayb plant a seed in peoples head that are designing a new kitchen. Sandman
Anonymous
January 3, 2019
The microwave being where it is, is an open invitation for children to "nuke" their toys and other things.
Anonymous
December 22, 2018
TOO MUCH WHITE. Microwave should not be below the counter top. People with bad backs would have trouble using the. I use a microwave a lot. I couldn't use this one.
Anonymous
December 21, 2018
Love so many of the ideas here: the grey and white combo on the cabinets, the simple style of the cabinet doors, the dark countertops, the farmhouse sink, a cabinet with glass doors - everything I want for my kitchen! Mine is not big enough for the storage ideas but that is ok with me! Nice job!!
Anonymous
October 27, 2018
Erin What a beautiful kitchen and family space. I appreciate the hours of planning you have put into your kitchen. It is visually beautiful. I know it is very grand and many of us do not have the means to accomplish what you have done but that is what these articles are for...to give inspiration. Very well done. Sandy
Anonymous
October 26, 2018
Must be nice to have thousands of dollars to spend on "storage space" and the unrealistically huge pantry with drawers full of goldfish! Unfortunately, not practical for the "everyday, pay check to paycheck families". Back to Walmart and storage bins for you!
Anonymous
October 26, 2018
shotty craftsmanship on the cabinets