auburndale kitchen floor plan before remodel
Illustration: Ian Warpole
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The First Plans

Soon after, the Sharmas met with architect Harriet Christina ('Chris') Chu, who incorporated their revised kitchen concept into her drawings for the house. But something wasn't working. Seeing the cooktop in the center island made everyone realize it would require either an awkward downdraft or a hulking overhead vent hood hanging from the low 7-foot 6-inch ceiling. Raveen would scarcely be visible as he displayed his culinary chops. And, given his affinity for stir-frying and for wrangling brimming pots and pans, the idea of having dinner guests—or his children—seated around the burners suddenly seemed kind of dangerous. Worse, having the cooktop on the island also ate up valuable food-prep space.

Despite all the square footage they were gaining, the Sharmas' kitchen plan wasn't using the space as efficiently as they had hoped it would. So after a lot of sleepless nights, they decided they should call on a kitchen designer to work on refining the plan, allowing Chu to focus her talents on the rest of the project. "There are so many aspects to a major renovation like this one," says Raveen. "We found that when it comes to the kitchen, it's good to hire a specialist who is up on all the latest high-tech appliances and cabinetry options. Architects work on a more conceptual level, but kitchen designers understand how a kitchen is actually used."

Shown: Architect Chris Chu's initial plan for the 15½-by-18-foot kitchen allowed for everything the Sharmas thought they wanted: an island cooktop, double ovens, and a generous homework station for the kids.
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