A cottage can feel charming—or just cramped. When Michelle and Paul Hobbs bought their compact 1904 house, the 165-square-foot kitchen had minimal storage and four doorways, and was generally past its prime. "The layout wasn't efficient, there was very little counter space, and the laminate cabinets were cracking," says Michelle. Five years later, the couple was finally ready to tackle a redo, with contractor Steven Offenhartz. To create a spacious look, they opened up the kitchen to the rarely used dining room, removing the shared wall and gutting the old cook space.
Shown: Now open to the dining area, the new cook space has a breakfast bar, where Michelle Hobbs and her sons, Ethan, 10, and Davis, 7, grab casual meals.