homeowners going over plans with kitchen designer at island
Photo: Allison Dinner

An Ideal Design Reimagined

Raveen and Allison Sharma thought they had the vision for their kitchen remodel down pat. As part of a complete overhaul of their 1940s Colonial Revival—the subject of This Old House TV's fall 2010 project, in Auburndale, Massachusetts—they would triple the size of its quaint but cramped galley kitchen by tearing down a wall and executing a land grab of an adjacent dining room. A stainless farmhouse sink would face the large windows at the back of the house. The Sharmas could gaze out over the meandering Charles River, which runs alongside their backyard, as they washed their dishes each night.

A talented home chef, Raveen imagined himself holding court behind a majestic island outfitted with a pro cooktop. He'd stir up steaming-hot pots of chicken curry to the oohs and aahs of delighted dinner guests. He, Allison and their two children, ages 7 and 9, would also enjoy barbecue year-round, thanks to a built-in cooktop grill, and feast on roast chicken and rosemary potatoes prepared in stacked double ovens. All these culinary gems were part of a recurring dream of Raveen's. "Most people have pictures of kids on their desks; I have pictures of kitchens," he says. "People think I'm crazy, but they're things Allison and I always wanted." Or at least thought they wanted.

In the end, not one of these features made it into the Sharmas' idealized kitchen design—not the center-island cooktop or its grill attachment. "Too hard to clean," Raveen says. No double ovens or river-view sink, either. And it's not because the Sharmas ran over budget (though they did that, too). Rather, after walking through their daily routines, seeing the appliances they thought they wanted, and, most notably, working with a professional kitchen designer, they realized the show kitchen they coveted wasn't really right for them. "We had so much space, we thought we could do whatever we wanted," says Raveen. "But there's a lot more to it."

Shown: At her downtown Boston showroom, kitchen designer Donna Venegas reviews cabinetry options with Raveen and Allison Sharma.
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