A Family-Friendly Kitchen That's Eco-friendly, Too
Removing a wall created better traffic flow, while green materials enabled an earth-friendly makeover
The original footprint was retained in this 1927 Portland, Oregon, bungalow kitchen, but the layout was transformed to accommodate a couple with two children and an interest in earth-friendly design.
Easy to install and maintain, recycled-aluminum tile covers counters that surround the basin and extend to meet butcher block flanking the range. Relocating a back door (formerly positioned in the path from sink to stove) allowed for better placement of the sink, range, and fridge, which are now positioned along two walls in an efficient, L-shaped layout.
The driveway runs along the kitchen's rear exterior wall, leaving no room for an addition. To make better use of the existing space, a wall was removed between the kitchen's work areas and a dim adjoining dining nook. This let in more light from the nook's two windows, which were reused in the renovation and trimmed out to match the windows over the sink.
The fir floors were saved and restored as well. The cabinet doors are made of sustainably harvested red alder finished with a natural plant-oil-based stain to resemble cherry.
Architectural glass block forms a translucent backsplash above the new range, providing a quick-to-wipe-down surface and an unusual vantage point on the home's new back door. The silhouettes of approaching friends and family members are visible through the glass.
100-percent recycled-aluminum tiles by Eleek cover the countertops. Finished with a nontoxic powdercoat, they resist stains and fingerprints and are non-reactive. A durable latex sealant fills the fine spaces between the tiles.
The farmhouse sink, also made from 100-percent-recycled aluminum by Eleek, is wide and deep, measuring 36 by 18 by 9 inches. The sink's offset drain created more usable space in the undersink cabinetry, while the gooseneck faucet from Delta makes filling tall pots, buckets, and flower vases easier. The homeowners chose not to expose the sink's classic apron front, preferring to let the kitchen's cabinetry take center stage.
The original sink cabinet provided little usable prep or cleanup space. Dated appliances and cabinets—and a chaotic traffic pattern—left much to be desired.
Too many doorways and light-blocking interior walls made for a confusing traffic pattern as well as a severe shortage of sunlight, counterspace, and storage.
The new range takes its logical place along the back wall (where the back door had been) in an improved L-shaped floor plan. A pocket door now opens onto the hall leading to the new rear entry. A double-door food pantry right inside the new door minimizes steps when unloading groceries. The cabinets' interior boxes are wheatboard, an agricultural by-product made with nonformaldehyde glue that doesn't result in off-gassing.