Same Size Kitchen, Fresh Look and Function
A careful, detail-oriented redo pumped up a kitchen's traditional style and
improved its performance
Ask four strong-minded people to collaborate on a kitchen design and you may get open warfare. But call on product and graphic designers Robert and Bonnie Briggs of Lexington, Kentucky, local kitchen designer Laura Dalzell, and carpenter-contractor David Wilds, and you'll get a high-functioning, sophisticated setting for cooking and socializing alike—in less than three months.
Robert and Bonnie assembled their dream team after four years of bumping into each other amid the pickled-oak cabinets and fluorescent lights of their Georgian-style house's 1980s kitchen.
The kitchen had a nice oak floor but an oddly shaped island, a poorly placed fridge, and 1980s finishes.
Robert, who refurbishes antique clocks and light fixtures as a hobby, craved a coffered ceiling that would show off a prized chandelier; Bonnie wanted an island packed with drawers and topped with pale marble. Wilds saw ways to widen a passageway and case it with 18th-century style, and Dalzell worked her magic with off-the-shelf cabinets and accessories, assembling them to create custom-look pieces like the island and a ceiling-height hutch. Today the kitchen's "a pleasure to work in, everything is right where it's supposed to be, and we no longer bump into each other," says Bonnie. "Friends, kids, grandkids—everyone enjoys it."
Shown: Open shelves display favorite pieces and contribute to the kitchen's airy look. The hutch was created from two cabinets, a cherry-stained counter, and footed base trim.
A triple window and deep sill bounce light off the limestone counter and backsplash and help open up the room. The paneled dishwasher sits handily between sink and hutch.
The coffered ceiling, painstakingly mapped and remapped to fit around lights and cabinetry, reflects the owners' love of traditional architectural elements.
Custom display cabinets line the passageway that connects the kitchen to the dining room. On the adjacent wall, cabinets were stacked to the ceiling to create a pantry, with filler strips closing any gaps.
Homeowner Tip: "Keep a scrapbook of things you like. Photos we took at the Winterthur estate in Delaware inspired our glass-front cabinets." —Bonnie Briggs, Lexington, KY
The 294-square-foot kitchen, with its swinging door, single small window, and bulky closet, felt needlessly cramped.
Lots of open shelves and two structural changes—a larger window unit over
the sink and a wider opening to the dining room—made the same-size space feel sunnier and roomier.
1. Turned the closet into a niche for the microwave and refrigerator. Fridge drawers next to the cooktop keep butter and eggs close at hand.
2. Replaced the island with one that fits the style of the house. Drawers facing the cooking and dining areas mean no more hunting for platters and napkins.
3. Swapped out the sink window
for a triple unit set flush with the facade to create a deep, light-inviting sill.
4. Hid a pipe chase behind false cabinet doors to give the oven wall a seamless look.
5. Replaced a swinging door with a more centered passageway lined with back-lit display cabinets.