The Problem
The old kitchen was gloomy, illuminated by just one small window, and burdened with overbearing dark wood beams and trim. Plastic laminate made to resemble Delft tile had been grafted onto the cabinetry in a misguided attempt to bring color and pattern into the room. The layout was awkward as well: Two doors opened into the space and a third led outdoors, turning the room into a thoroughfare, so that everyone passing through would bump into the cook. The wife, who loves to cook, had a very clear wish list. "I wanted an island because I needed extra counter space," she recalls, "and two dishwashers because I enjoy entertaining but don't like cleanup, and a professional gas range for flexibility." Brenneman's task was threefold: to expand the footprint as much as possible, to improve the traffic and work flow, and to update the kitchen while honoring its mid-century style. To create enough space for a separate breakfast area, he pushed the rear wall back 81/2 feet — the maximum allowed by zoning. He also angled that wall to follow the property's idiosyncratic lot line. The angle opened up space for a large window with an expansive view of the garden along the newly lengthened side wall. Sliding doors replace the old window and back door. The angle of the wall also echoes that of the gently pitched ceiling, an architectural detail the couple decided to retain. "They wanted to keep the feel of the split-level, and that ceiling was the most concrete link to the original design," Steve explains. This new breakfast area doubles as a gathering spot for drinks with friends. Nearby are a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, a wine cooler, and a bar-size sink in the island. "You can get the milk out of the refrigerator and sit down to breakfast or serve drinks and hors d'oeuvres without getting in the cook's way," Brenneman explains. "This is an excellent layout," says Steve, "You've got a cook's area, a food prep area at the sink, an area for someone at the island, and a hanging-out space where you can chat with the cook."
Ask TOH users about Kitchen

Contribute to This Story Below