A Busted Open, Brightened Up Kitchen
Taking down walls cleared the way for a free-flowing space fit for two cooks, two kids, plus party guests
Open up three spaces arranged like a barbell and suddenly you've got breathing room. For 10 years, Michael and Susan Assadi, serious cooks, parents of two young children, and owners of a 1924 house in Seattle, fought a skinny little kitchen that had a breakfast room stuck at one end and a dismal den at the other. The kitchen had an electric cooktop with a downdraft vent embedded in a traffic-slowing peninsula, and not enough storage or prep space.
Finally, Michael, an engineer, tapped his computer-assisted design skills to help solve the problem, deleting walls at either end and a door to the basement in the middle. Working with cabinet designer Lisa Wilson and her design-build firm Builder Showroom, the couple gutted all three rooms, added insulation, pipes, wiring, and ductwork, and reorganized the layout so that two could cook at once. The den became a dining and homework spot, and the breakfast room an airy walk-in pantry. “The island gives us extra prep space,” says Michael, “and when guests arrive we simply wheel it to one side.” Boom—room for everyone.
Shown: Opened up at each end, the kitchen has a cleanup zone on one side, prep and cooking space on the other, and an island floating at the middle.
It was a challenge for two people to cook and keep an eye on the kids.
A countertop beneath open shelves in the pantry, near the door, catches keys and cell phones. The library ladder slides along a rail anchored just under the top cabinets on 2×4s masked with trim pieces.
Banquette seating and built-in storage maximize space in the eating nook.
Homeowner Tip: “To keep our galley kitchen from looking like a bowling alley, we ran beadboard across the ceiling, perpendicular to the floorboards, to help the room feel wider.” — Michael Assadi, Seattle
New red-oak floorboards blend in with existing flooring. The ceiling was finished with beadboard running in the opposite direction to help visually widen the long, narrow space.
The island's solid-plank countertop mimics butcher block. It has a side that flips down to ease traffic flow when not in use.
The kitchen was small and trapped between rooms.
A 360-square-foot open plan holds the new kitchen, eating nook, pantry, even a mini mudroom.
1. Removed a wall to open the space and allow the eating nook to move to the former den.
2. Eliminated the peninsula, making way for a small island.
3. Tucked a mudroom built-in behind the back door.
4. Rejiggered this area, relocating access to the basement and removing a partition wall next to the old fridge.
5. Added prep space (and a gas line) to serve the relocated cooktop.
6. Took out a wall and cased opening to the breakfast room to create a wide-open pantry.