Shortly after moving into their 1950s North Tustin, California, ranch house in 1998, Jason and Irene Jacobson renovated the kitchen with help from an interior designer. While pleased with the way the new space looked, they found some negatives. Drawers to the left of the range didn't open at all. Ones to the right were so skinny as to be useless, and abutted a tall pantry unit that limited elbow room while cooking. Plus, the bi-level island had a skimpy work surface.
Fast-forward several years: While adding on a master suite, the couple started talking to kitchen and bath designer Dana Jones about their kitchen. Jones suggested relocating the laundry—which sat in a closet in the L-shaped space—to the addition. Moving it created a domino effect, making room for a walk-in pantry and for reconfiguring the area around the range. "We didn't want to redo the room from scratch," says Irene. "Little tweaks made it all work."