two stools at a kitchen island in this open-plan, family-friendly small kitchen
Photo: Monica Buck

Radiant, Opened-Up Kitchen: After

Adding on can be very tempting. But Kevin B. Kelly and Rosanne Lufrano were determined to keep the original footprint of their 1907 house, in Montclair, New Jersey, despite its dark, uninviting kitchen. To get a more free-flowing space where they and their two teenage daughters could easily gather, the couple gutted the kitchen and the adjoining powder room, working with architect William Figdor, interior designer Tracey Stephens, and general contractor Jerry Niebrowski. Walls opened up for improved plumbing, wiring, and insulation invited fresh thinking about the layout, including door and window placement. New energy-efficient windows now channel sunlight in winter and enough cross-ventilation in summer to forgo air-conditioning. A radiant-red range, Rosanne's find, inspired matching base cabinets, balanced by white upper cabinets and open shelves. "Finding tile in just the right shades was a challenge," Rosanne says. That, and wrestling over whether to squeeze in an island. "We thought about creating an eating nook on the far wall," she says. "But all four of us prefer hanging around right at the center of this sunny new space."

After: A new bay window from Marvin brings in more natural light. Other draws include a gather-round island and a mood-enhancing palette.

Pendant fixtures: Hudson Valley Lighting
Paint: 2151-50 Bronzed Beige (walls) and 2151-70 Powder Sand (trim); Benjamin Moore
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