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Kitchen Gets a Fresh Slant for an Open Cook Space

Shifting the peninsula extends the reach of a 1950s kitchen, and thoughtful finishes amplify its charm

After: Period-Conscious Style

Photo by Casey Dunn

Fool around with an heirloom and you risk losing what makes it so pleasingly familiar. So when Jared and Grace Pyka bought her grandmother's ranch house, in Georgetown, Texas, they aimed to save its period grasscloth wall covering and some furniture. But the kitchen was awkward and outmoded. "The layout was really inconvenient," says Grace. "To put groceries in the pantry, you had to squeeze next to the water heater, and if you turned around you'd knock over cans."

Shown: The peninsula moved, making room for more storage and prep space. Ceiling-height painted cabinets, an apron sink, and salvaged floorboards give the room a fresh yet period-conscious style.

Before: New Windows, Outdated Room

Photo by Casey Dunn

After a facade-lift yielded new windows, architect J. Bryant Boyd worked to open up and make better use of the space. He added new plumbing and wiring, a wider opening to the dining room, and pantry cabinets for all those cans, then flipped the peninsula and angled it so that it now serves both the kitchen and the dining room. Tongue-and-groove paneling gives the walls a vintage flavor, while pale-blue flat-panel cabinets with sleek hardware reinforce the updated-traditional look. "We were sad to see my grandmother's cabinets go," says Grace—but not forever. Her mom, a new grandmother herself, scooped up the doors and made them into an heirloom chest.

Shown: A wall of new windows had put the rest of the dated space to shame.

Light and Spacious

Photo by Casey Dunn

The angled peninsula and display cabinet enhance the sense of spaciousness.

Sink: Barclay

Faucet: Moen

Refrigerator: Maytag

Dishwasher: KitchenAid

Pendant light: Minka-Lavery

Barstools: Garden Ridge

Light-Filled Prep Space

Photo by Casey Dunn

The small replacement window on the west-facing wall made way for extra storage and prep space while curbing the late-afternoon Texas sun.

Window: Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors

Hidden Water Heater

Photo by Casey Dunn

Faux cabinet doors hide a dedicated area for the water heater, formerly jammed into a closet shared with the pantry. There's even room for a new water softener as well.

Slide-Out Spice Storage

Photo by Casey Dunn

Spices slide out next to the new gas range. Salvaged oak floorboards blend seamlessly with the original flooring in the dining room.

Range and microwave: Whirlpool

Flooring: Kingdom Hardwood Floors

Consistent, Stylish Paneling

Photo by Casey Dunn

The appliance garage is lined with the same tongue-and-groove paneling used on the adjacent wall.

Cabinets: K&M Cabinets

Cabinet paint: Sherwin-Williams

Countertops: Silestone

TV in, (or out of), Sight

Photo by Casey Dunn

The TV is situated for easy viewing from the breakfast bar and disappears behind flipper doors during parties. The cabinet box below it was designed to hold a larger fridge, which is still in the works.

Flat-screen TV: LG

Floor Plan Before: Awkward and Cramped

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

Meal prep was confined to a cramped area framed by the stubby peninsula and the awkward utility-pantry closet.

Homeowner Tip: "Our two-tier peninsula is great during parties. We set out drinks and appetizers on the raised breakfast bar and use the counter to line up plates and platters for the main course." —Grace Pyka, Georgetown, Texas

Floor Plan After: Angled Function

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

Moving the peninsula, reworking the closet and cabinets, eliminating a doorway, and shrinking a side window made the layout fully functional.

1. Replaced the sink with a larger one centered under the windows.

2. Removed the original peninsula and installed a smaller window, to fit in more upper and lower cabinets.

3. Rebuilt the wall to create a wide opening to the dining room.

4. Swapped spots for the fridge and the range to create a cooking zone with ample prep space.

5. Angled the peninsula and corner display cabinet to make them focal points from the dining room and back entrance.

6. Reframed the utility closet and moved its door away from the cooking area, allowing for the new peninsula. The new pantry wall eliminated a door and gave 3 feet to an adjacent bedroom for a walk-in closet.