In September 2013, one of my top-notch renovation builders, Tom Miller of Miller & McIntyre, asked me to assist his clients, Cathy and Mike, with a kitchen design for their Reston, Virginia townhome. For years, Cathy and Mike had lived with what I call “a problematic kitchen,” where the existing layout does not function up to today’s kitchen design standards.
Built in the late 1970’s, the client’s townhome reflects the typical architectural style found in Reston. Casement windows and minimal detailing exist throughout the home. The dining room is open to the living area. The staircase upstairs and downstairs is open.
In contrast, the kitchen footprint offered little in the way of contemporary kitchen function. Too many entries into the kitchen eliminated the option of making the smaller wall spaces usable for any meaningful kitchen function. Also, a large 3’x2′ HVAC chase projected into the kitchen; unfortunately, the cost to relocate it would be exorbitant. There was one long wall that offered promise, although it was still too short to house all essential kitchen functions in compliance with NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) guidelines.
After our initial meeting, I left their home thinking, “How am I going to pull this off without doing a standard “pull and replace?”. (In case one doesn’t understand that term, a “pull and replace” refers to “pulling” the old cabinetry/fixtures/appliances out and then “replacing” them with newer models. In short, it is an easy way to improve the appearance of a space but it may not improve its function to the fullest degree. This is not a practice I choose to follow as it does not add as much value in the long run other than aesthetic improvement.)
I was not discouraged though, and I knew the answer would come when I started drawing a new kitchen design plan.
After a few hours drawing on my 2020 CAD, I was finally rewarded. I crafted a space that excited me, and I hoped would excite my clients and Miller & McIntyre just as much. Within a week, I met with everyone again and presented the new kitchen design to them.
They loved it!
Before and After
The picture below shows how one corner of their kitchen looked before we embarked on the kitchen remodel.
As you can see, the original kitchen had no functional space other than “clutter collection. The front door and kitchen entries were very close to one another. When homeowners and guests arrived through the front door, a cluttered kitchen greeted them front and center and there was no “foyer” where one could set down their umbrella or hang a hat.
Here is how the same kitchen corner looks after the redesign:
Can you tell this is the same corner?
Unlike its “ghost”, it is now clean, aesthetically pleasing and, best of all, functional!
How We Did It
First, we made two structural changes:
- We relocated the poorly placed existing kitchen entry five feet leftward, and
- We added a window on the sink wall to allow more light into kitchen.
The first change was essential. This made the “clutter” corner more functional and enabled us to easily install a slide-in electric range on the peninsula for a seamless look.
We also achieved one important goal in the kitchen redesign by equipping one side of the kitchen with a functional workspace,thereby relieving all the pressure to combine them all on one long wall. An added plus is that this setup allows the cook in the kitchen to converse with those seated at the peninsula, making the space not only functional but an inviting place to socialize as well.
Now that we relocated the cooking area, we could improve the opposite kitchen wall by adding a much needed window. This created a visually appealing focal point for the sink. Also, we anchored each end of this long wall with tall functional items (left to right):
- a narrow broom/storage closet and a 36” counter-depth french door refrigerator on one end, and
- a pantry with pullouts and microwave on the other.
What contributed to the finishes?
We chose Benjamin Moore “White Dove” with Brubaker Kitchens Cabinetry from Lancaster Pennsylvania.
The countertops were Soapstone.
We chose a very soft green for the walls, Sherwin Williams “Celery”.
Need an Expert Kitchen Design?
If you have a “problem kitchen” that needs a redesign, call me at (703) 801-6402 or email me at Sandra[at]expertkitchendesigns.com to discuss your situation. I can advise you on ways you can get the kitchen of your dreams! There is always a way to fix a problem kitchen with the right design.
Sandra Brannock designs beautiful, timeless, functional kitchens that reflect your personal style, within your budget. She helps discerning homeowners throughout Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC get the kitchen of their dreams and select the perfect cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and appliances to make their dream kitchen a reality.
Call Sandra today at (703) 801-6402 to schedule a kitchen remodeling consultation. Sandra will help you get the most value out of your kitchen remodeling budget and ensure that all the details of your kitchen renovation proceed smoothly, on time and within budget.