Before and After Makeover: Inviting Kitchen

Kitchen Makeover in Stages
See how one North Carolina family turned their crowded, dark kitchen into an open gathering space for the entire family.

Wide-Open Spaces

When these homeowners started their kitchen remodel, the plan was to open the space by knocking down the wall between the kitchen and breakfast nook and adding more light. But during the renovation they caught a glimpse of the roof joists and decided to leave them exposed.

The result: A 16-foot open beam ceiling that is now the kitchen's most distinctive feature.

Close Quarters

Before, the kitchen was nicknamed the "one-butt kitchen" because you couldn't fit two people in it at the same time. The plan was to remove the wall between the kitchen and breakfast nook, add a window and an island, and put in overhead lighting.

Green Team

The homeowners are both attorneys who work on environmental issues, and they wanted to go green -- choosing sustainable surfaces and efficient fixtures for their project. A large window over the sink and skylights maximizes natural light throughout the space. A prefinished floor keeps fumes out of the house. The island is topped with reclaimed elm wood found online.

Expanded Layout

When they removed the wall between the kitchen and breakfast nook, it opened the space allowing not one -- but four butts -- in the kitchen at one time.

Tip: Removing walls is a budget-savvy design decision. It changes the space without changing the home's footprint.

Common Threads

To unite the kitchen, nook, and den, the couple repeated key elements in all three rooms: oak flooring, pendant light fixtures, and white woodwork.

Gathering Spot

Before, the stairs were the catch-all for the kitchen, breakfast nook, and den. Adding storage underneath created a place to put all the items that used to pile up on the stairs.

Command Central

The remodeled  area underneath the stairs includes the family's message center, a tucked-away recycling center, and a butler's pantry.

Divide and Conquer

The butler's pantry closet is perfect for storing rarely used serving pieces. The smaller nook near the base of the stairs houses the recycling center. Here, roll-out bins keep the recyclables separated and hidden.

Natural Glow

For the pantry, they replaced the traditional door with a frosted glass door to obscure items but allow natural light to flow into the hallway. The pocket door conserves space because they did not have to allow swing room for a traditional hinged door.

New Views

Part of making the kitchen more open required taking space from the attached sunroom. Previously the refrigerator was located where there is now an entrance to the sunroom. While the new arrangement cut into the sunroom's square footage, adding French doors allowed them to bring more natural light into the kitchen.

Not prepared to complete an entire kitchen remodel? Do it in stages, like this kitchen. See how to create a plan and carry it out over time.

Bonus: A Kitchen Makeover in Stages

Watch how these homeowners transformed their kitchen on a budget -- and in two phases.

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