Kitchen Remodeling: Improving Function & Form

Cramped quarters were seriously hindering this home-cooking enthusiast's kitchen time. With a reworked layout and savvy remodeling, the kitchen is now a chef's dream.

An aging, awkward space and a stove that had only two functional burners put a damper on this homeowner's cooking passion. As she began to plan her kitchen remodel, function was paramount, but she wanted to create a gracious gathering spot true to the home's 1930s roots.

Fixing the floor plan came first: The partition between the kitchen and breakfast nook was demolished, a closet was absorbed into the kitchen footprint, and the appliances were shuffled for better flow. All the fixes left room for a beverage center to be tucked into one corner.

The homeowner's beloved French marble-top butcher's table stands in for an island. Although kitchen designer Kathy Walder noted that having a table between the stove and the sink wasn't ideal, the homeowner was willing to make the tradeoff. Plus, the table served as an inspiration point for the new kitchen's black-and-white color palette, which is enhanced by subtly layered textures and finishes.

Walder says every kitchen needs a mix of finishes -- light, dark, matte, shiny -- to keep it interesting. That mixing-and-matching principle shows through loud and sophisticatedly clear in the kitchen's design. White cabinets balanced by dark countertops ring the perimeter of the kitchen, while the corner beverage center showcases the reverse palette. Wire-mesh inserts on the black upper cabinets provide textural interest. White countertops mimic the tabletop and contrast the black cabinetry.

A marble-tile backsplash in a basket-weave pattern accents the kitchen's classic style with understated texture. A utensil bar keeps must-have kitchen tools at the ready next to the stove. Vintage-inspired hardware on the cabinets blends with the kitchen's style but also stands out against the white cabinets, like jewelry against a white dress.

Each wall of the revamped kitchen serves a specific function: One contains the cooktop, another the sink, and the third wall serves as a baking center. The counter space in the baking center is bathed in natural light and conveniently located next to the kitchen's double ovens. Light from the windows also illuminates the pot rack filled with gleaming pots and pans. For interior light, an antique glass pendant over the table keeps the room open while adding a dash of period flavor.

The original kitchen was combined with the breakfast room and a closet to create a more cook- and guest-friendly design. Now the room's functions are well-defined on each wall, and a central dining table keeps guests close to the cook.

More for You

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See what a little remodeling creativity can do. Check out the results of these before-and-after kitchens that pack tremendous style, gracious amenities, and much-needed function into hardworking spaces.

Check out these before-and-after kitchen remodels.


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