A Kitchen With Lots More Function—and Charm
One less window, a wider passageway—and pro help—saved this sunny gathering spot from well-intentioned neglect
If you are a procrastinator, or maybe just married to one, this may sound familiar. Six years ago, when his wife-to-be, Katie, moved in, Craig Webster tore out the base cabinets and icky linoleum floor in the kitchen of his tiny bungalow, in San Pedro, California. He had every intention of finishing the job—someday—so after putting down a strip-oak floor, he threw together a "temporary" plywood counter atop 2×4s and promptly got busy with the rest of his life. Four years went by. "Fortunately," says Craig, "I do most of the cooking."
Shown: Katie and Craig Webster with baby Dylan. The wider opening to the dining room is finished with period-style brackets. The rooms are united by a striking blue and white palette.
Designer: Dana Jones, The Kitchen Consultant, Long Beach, CA; kitchenadvice.com
General contractor: E-Dan Construction, Orange, CA; 714-636-1988
Stools: Pottery Barn
Pendant lights: (island) Rejuvenation; and (sink) Hudson Valley Lighting
Time ran out when the couple realized they were about to add a third person to the party. In rushed kitchen designer Dana Jones, followed by general contractor Dan Wentz, to push the half-baked space to fully done—before baby Dylan arrived. Jones's genius plan: Close off a window overlooking the neighbor's drive, rearrange the perimeter to form an L for cooking and cleanup, add an island, and put in new windows that bring focus to the backyard. "In eight weeks," says a surprised-sounding Craig, "the job was done." Next work in progress? Dylan's room—which will be finished soon, Craig swears.
Shown: Torn-out base cabinets robbed the kitchen of needed storage.
Small appliances, stored close at hand on the range wall, disappear behind the appliance cubby's folding doors.
The 197-square-foot space had a jury-rigged sink and not much storage.
Pro tip: "Give mid-priced cabinets a high-end look by enriching them with 4-inch crown molding." —Dana Jones, kitchen designer, Long Beach, Calif.
Sealing up the side window opened up space for a smarter layout, and a wider opening to the dining room made the same footprint feel larger.
1. Moving the sink and getting rid of its old window allowed maximum storage and prep space to flank the relocated range.
2. A space-enhancing 5-foot opening replaced the swinging door.
3. The sink moved to the back wall, below three new windows that overlook the backyard.
4. The narrow island fits the room's proportions while providing prep, storage, and socializing space.
5. The fridge's tucked-away spot helps maintain a clean sight line between the dining room and the kitchen.