PROBLEM
The kitchen, like most of the rooms, suffered from misguided — and cheap — attempts at modernization. "It was so depressing," says Patt. When earlier homeowners added bathrooms on the second floor, they simply snaked the plumbing lines above the windows over the kitchen sink and boxed them in behind 18-inch-high soffits. When they needed more cupboards, they stuck them in willy-nilly. A skimpy peninsula bisected the 12-by-20-foot room, and three layers of linoleum covered the floors. Worst of all, virtually every window was blocked. Those over the sink faced a laundry shed; two others were covered over by an exterior lean-to that housed the water heater; yet another had been sealed off after a stove fire. While all this clearly needed fixing, Patt decided she'd rather live with the kitchen's inconvenient location — it connects the house to the backyard — than alter the footprint of the house. "Because this isn't her everyday kitchen, Patt was willing to make certain compromises," explains Steve. SOLUTION
To ready the room for its facelift, Patt gutted it and ripped out the shed, the lean-to, and the windows, which she restored and reinstalled. The demolition resulted in a brighter space, but it also revealed that the Douglas-fir floor — which ran in three different directions beneath the linoleum — couldn't be salvaged. Patt chose a high-pressure wood-look laminate to replace it: "I wanted a floor I wouldn't have to worry about with renters or my kids."
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