A Vintage Kitchen Gets New Spirit
A closed-off kitchen was opened up in every sense, adding light, energy, and charm
A good remodel often pays homage to the past while functioning very much in the present. When Stacy and David Eisenmann bought their 1920s house in Albany, California, they delighted in its vintage charm, which stopped short of the kitchen—a bare-bones box with tile counters and a window painted shut.
Shown: Fresh colors, an open plan with an integrated eating nook, and distinct areas for storage and prep draw in mom Stacy, Emma, now 10, and Laurel, 7.
To create an airy gathering space that would open to a family room, David and Stacy, an architect, along with fellow architect Sarah Willmer and general contractor Jamie Carlen, bumped out one wall and took down two others, combining the kitchen and a laundry area into one large space.
Shown: Poor flow and dated materials made cooking a chore.
Refrigerator, wine cooler, and a food pantry are lined up in a freestanding unit that separates the kitchen and family room in the open plan. Clean-lined, no-frills cabinet boxes, some without doors, take the place of standard uppers; countertops are volcanic stone; and a sculptural range hood hangs from the rafters. "The kitchen embraces a modern feeling while letting its past show through," says Stacy of the deconstructed space. "And with its soothing colors, it's where everyone wants to hang out."
"Think about an assembly line. For a more efficient work flow, create a series of stations to wash, prep, cook, and plate your meals."
—Stacy Eisenmann, Albany, CA
Enlarged to 245 square feet and opened to the family room, the kitchen now has more prep space and a smarter layout.
1. Replaced a wall with a unit that divides the kitchen and family room. It holds fridge, pantry, and cookbooks on one side, media equipment on the other.
2. Annexed the laundry room to gain a more workable rectangular space and a wide opening to the family room.
3. Bumped out the back wall 3 feet to gain even more square footage.
4. Added a built-in banquette and table for an open eating nook just steps from the cooking and cleanup areas.
5. Built an island that brings together the cooktop, oven, and microwave, plus prep space, minimizing collisions among cooks, sous-chefs, and table-setters.