A Kitchen Facelift Offers a Fresh, Functional Redo
Reconfiguring their existing space allowed this couple to get a kitchen that worked for them
Shortly after moving into their 1950s North Tustin, California, ranch house in 1998, Jason and Irene Jacobson renovated the kitchen with help from an interior designer. While pleased with the way the new space looked, they found some negatives. Drawers to the left of the range didn't open at all. Ones to the right were so skinny as to be useless, and abutted a tall pantry unit that limited elbow room while cooking. Plus, the bi-level island had a skimpy work surface.
Fast-forward several years: While adding on a master suite, the couple started talking to kitchen and bath designer Dana Jones about their kitchen. Jones suggested relocating the laundry—which sat in a closet in the L-shaped space—to the addition. Moving it created a domino effect, making room for a walk-in pantry and for reconfiguring the area around the range. "We didn't want to redo the room from scratch," says Irene. "Little tweaks made it all work."
The color-drenched blue-green kitchen had red counters—and some awkward cabinets.
New base units open up the range area. A softer yellow-green paint and black granite countertops give the room a sophisticated look. The new island is screened from the dining area by a 42-inch-high cabinet with glass doors. A skylight brightens the space.
The dresserlike drawer unit built in under one of the two windows provides a place for linens and other kitchen miscellany.
The walk-in pantry is partially hidden behind a ribbed-glass door; it has shelves on three sides. The lowest shelf is 18 inches off the ground, preserving room to store big items. Repainting the walls and cabinet built-ins a lighter yellow-green brightened the space.
The framed corkboard above the desk serves as the family's photo and message center; large enough for
a laptop, the desk surface provides an extra spot for checking e-mail.
A simple, curved bracket supports the new desk area, reflecting the room's open, casual sensibility.
Honed black granite countertops replaced bright-red solid surfacing (which the homeowners found that they quickly tired of) for a more sophisticated palette. The existing colorful glass-tile backsplash and gooseneck faucet stayed.
Blown-glass pendant lights showcase the colorful spirit of the first-round remodel, which was subtly streamlined in the redesign.
Cabinets flanking the range were a tight squeeze in the 11-by-14-foot L-shaped kitchen. The washer and dryer were located behind bifold doors, so laundry piled up on the floor in plain sight.
1. Installed a Lazy Susan inside the cabinet to the left of the range, replacing nonoperable drawers from the previous remodel. The turntable is now hidden behind a double-hinged corner cabinet door.
2. Added an Upper Cabinet and Lower Drawers to the right of the range, replacing a super-skinny (useless) cabinet and a full-height pantry unit that made the cooking space cramped. A new section of glass-tile backsplash and a ribbed-glass cabinet door blend with the rest of the kitchen.
3. Moved the Laundry from a closet in the kitchen ell to the addition, and converted the area into a walk-in pantry for food, canister, and cookbook storage.
4. Added a Skylight to bring much-needed natural light into the room.
5. Widened a Doorway to the hall to improve traffic flow into the kitchen.
6. Reconfigured the Island. The base remained, but the countertop was changed to one 36 inches high, comfortable for both working and eating. A 42-inch-high cabinet was placed along one side to screen it from the dining area.