A Kitchen That's a Lot Lighter and Totally Open
Reworking a haphazard addition gave this DIY-savvy couple room to create one connected space for cooking and gathering
Many an older home has been the victim of an ill-conceived expansion. For Sara Puretz and Steven Barkyoumb of Burlington, Vermont, it was two low-ceilinged bedrooms that had been tacked onto the back of their Victorian-era house and that led to a makeshift, windowless kitchen marooned between a half bath and the mudroom. For three years, the couple lived with the unused bedrooms and cramped cooking quarters while they planned their ideal meal-prep space. Their goal: one expansive family-room kitchen that would mesh stylistically with the house's period look.
Shown: The classic black-and-white design is simple enough to work with the traditional detail of the 1901 house.
"I wanted a place where I could watch the kids play while I cooked," says Sara. All they had to do was gut and redo the dysfunctional first-floor rooms. Steven tackled the construction himself; Sara sourced the materials, finding replicas of high-end pulls at Lowe's, a discounted designer faucet online, and stock cabinets that Steven finished with crown molding.
Shown: Construction lasted four long years; here, the space is partially open and the remains of a partition wall await demolition.
Their one big-ticket buy: soapstone counters with an integrated sink. Worth the $8,000 splurge? "Definitely—they're my favorite part," Sara says happily.
Open shelving reinforces opened-up feeling of the space.
One of the unused bedrooms provided a space for the couple's two sons to play under supervision during meal prep.
The kitchen was tucked between a half bath with a washer and dryer and the mudroom, and connected to two unused bedrooms.
The two-bedroom addition was gutted for the new family room, and the kitchen, bath, and mudroom spaces were jiggered.
1. Enlarged the kitchen, relocating the half bath but keeping the existing window. Only the stove wall stayed intact.
2. Turned two bedrooms into one open family space, with a vaulted ceiling and new double-hungs to replace narrow awning windows.
3. Moved the bath, stacked the washer and dryer, and made a mudroom alcove. The side entry now opens into the family room.
4. Added a gas fireplace on a thermostat to heat the expansive new space.