Brand-New Kitchen Design, Same Footprint
A few floor-plan tweaks and all-new finishes give a faded kitchen a fresh look and more function
Sometimes, living with a dysfunctional, dated space for years allows you to really envision the look and utility you want. When Butch and Bonnie Filippi got ready to overhaul the eat-in kitchen in their 1918 house in Westwood, New Jersey, they yearned for a more period-appropriate style along with more storage and prep space—not to mention a 36-inch range and 42-inch fridge. But they liked the room's proportions and saw no reason to make it bigger.
Shown: Everything's new but looks old again, from the cabinets' recessed panels and reeded-glass inserts to the black and white hexagon floor tile, vintage-green wall tile, and schoolhouse lights. Wall tile: Waterworks
After three years of pondering ways to squeeze more style and function into the existing footprint, they called on Holly Rickert from local design-build firm Ulrich Inc. to wring maximum benefit out of minimum rebuilding. Casting about, Rickert saw a way to cut into the back of a closet in an adjacent room and annex 6 square feet. "That allowed us to have our fridge," says Bonnie.
Shown: The original kitchen lacked function as well as period charm.
Rickert helped the couple infuse the room with period detail and boost its efficiency, swapping out windows, reinstalling an original corner cabinet, and "tempering old with new," as she puts it, by blending vintage-look cabinets, tile, and lighting with sleek stainless-steel appliances. Says Butch, "We love our range—we use the built-in griddle for breakfast, lunch, and dinner." Bonnie adds, "Now it's a pleasure to cook. And I can't tell you how many people tell us the new kitchen looks like it has always been there."
Shown: A handy new prep space has a tray cabinet to the left of a wine cooler, a glossy tile backsplash, and a pro-style stainless-steel countertop.
The hex-tile floor unites the cooking area and a nook where Bonnie and Butch Filippi—and Trixie—like to gather.
The original corner cabinet, removed during the construction phase, went back to its old spot with a fresh coat of paint and new satin-nickel pulls.
A custom pattern of porcelain hexagon tile, bordered with black slate, gives the kitchen a more vintage look.
"Consider using a colored grout if you choose black and white tile for a period touch—it's easier to keep clean."
—Butch Filippi, Westwood, N.J.
The 188-square-foot kitchen was big enough for a table but lacked prep and storage space.
Annexing a portion of the living room closet meant being able to squeeze in a large fridge, a longer run of countertop, and extra cabinets.
1. Relocated the fridge to create space for extra cabinets and spots for the microwave and wine cooler.
2. Annexed 6 square feet from a closet to make room for the 42-inch fridge.
3. Moved the range to the left to create more usable prep space, and added a range hood.