A Kitchen With the Same Size but Sunnier Spirit
Traditional cabinets, contemporary finishes, more daylight, and a smart new layout add up to a fresh look and much more function
It can pay to take your time. Ten long years passed before Kristin Sharpe and her husband, Mike, finally did something about their kitchen's bumpy tile countertops, crammed cabinets, and lack of gathering space. But as they pondered every possibility, from demolishing a wall in their Southern California ranch house to building an addition, they also refined their vision. The result: a same-footprint redo, put in place by general contractor Michael Dubin. "We did a lot of research and testing," says Kristin. To create a more spacious feel, they enlarged a pass-through to the family room, where their twins, now 9, hang out; added a skylight; and restricted the palette to vanilla and chocolate—right down to the walnut floor. Light-reflecting glass tile and pendants as delicate as soap bubbles brighten the space. "With the bigger pass-through, I can watch the kids while cooking," says Kristin, "and finally we can all gather in the kitchen for dinner." The wait, in other words, was worth it.
Cocoa-colored glass tiles melt into the quartz countertops for a seamless look.
Kitchen After: Opened up with a skylight and an enlarged pass-through, the same-size kitchen packs in style, storage, and dining space.
The old space had faded tile counters, vinyl floors, ceiling-lowering soffits, and no place to eat.
The oak and white-quartz hutch, designed by homeowners Kristin and Mike with a niche for the TV, reverses the color scheme of the white cabinets and brown countertops on the sink and range walls. Wired-glass fronts add a subtle texture to the hutch.
TOH Homeowner Tip: "To make our ranch house feel bigger and less chopped up, we stuck to a single palette throughout." —Kristin Sharpe, Southern California
At 209 square feet, the kitchen lacked prep space, storage, and a family dining area.
The footprint and the appliance locations stayed the same, but storage and style were amped up by tearing out soffits and installing tall cabinets and other built-ins.
1. Added a banquette with deep drawers for linens, baking supplies, and small appliances, and a table for meals.
2. Removed soffits to make way for ceiling-height cabinets.
3. Opened up the room with a skylight and new casement windows.
4. Built in an oak hutch that holds office supplies, display shelves, and a TV.
5. Doubled the size of the pass-through over the stove to channel light and provide a sight line from the cooking area to the family room.