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Limited Room

Photo by Laura Moss

When quarters are tight, layout is critical. Consider this hardworking kitchen, configured by designer Heidi Piron for serious cooks Liza and Peter Tulloch. Owners of a 70-year-old Colonial Revival in Summit, New Jersey, they had two kids, one dog, and lots of ideas when they asked Piron to improve the workings of their 110-square-foot kitchen. She did so without changing its footprint, and left the sink under the window so Liza could keep an eye on the kids.

She also converted an out-of-the-way broom closet into a message center that doubles as a storage-packed serving area. To make the room seem larger, she suggested glass subway tile and other light-reflecting finishes, like pale granite and red-oak flooring. The cabinets fit together precisely, with a pullout for spices and oils, squeezed in near the range, "in a frameless cabinet, which offers a bit more space inside than one with an inset door," Piron notes. Says Liza, "As the space was quite limited, every inch was thoughtfully maximized."

Pictured: In a space that is all right angles, rounded shelves soften the cabinets' crisp lines.

Before

Three walls were interrupted by doors, one of which opened smack in between the range and peninsula. “My first goal was to move it because it was causing traffic jams in the cooking area,” says Piron.

Snack Bar

Photo by Laura Moss

The snack bar forms an L and doubles as prep space. The microwave contains an exhaust fan that vents through the upper cabinet to the outside.

Range and microwave: Viking

Countertop with an Outlet

Photo by Laura Moss

White Roman granite, finished with an ogee edge, tops counters and the snack-bar peninsula, which has an apron designed to hold an outlet for small appliances.

Countertops: Atlas Marble & Granite

Message Center

Photo by Laura Moss

The message center has a charging station, with an outlet strip hidden under the upper cabinet. Setting the backsplash tile on end gave the area its own identity while tying it to the rest of the kitchen.

Tile: Waterworks.

Mugs: Marimekko.

Pro advice: "To keep the backsplash from looking cluttered, opt for one or two outlet strips under upper cabinets."

—Heidi Piron, kitchen designer, Summit, NJ

A Custom Lazy Susan

Photo by Laura Moss

A custom lazy susan turns dead corner space into accessible storage for bowls, pots, and utensils. The switch plate on the wall coordinates with the stainless-steel appliances and chrome pulls.

Cabinets: Prevo Cabinetry.

Knobs and pulls: Top Knobs.

Open Shelves

Photo by Laura Moss

Open shelves keep glassware within easy reach. Their rounded shape and two-piece molding—crown over inverted base—add a formal, finished note.

Tumblers: Marimekko.

Finish carpentry: R&D Installation.

Kitchen Floor Plan: Before the Renovation

Illustration by Ian Worpole

Three walls were interrupted by doors, one of which opened smack in between the range and peninsula. "My first goal was to move it because it was causing traffic jams in the cooking area," says Piron.

With the three doorways eating up valuable wall space, the 110-square-foot kitchen felt busy and cramped.

Kitchen Floor Plan: After the Renovation

Illustration by Ian Worpole

Moving one doorway and converting a broom closet to a message center—serving area allow for more storage and prep space and smoother traffic flow in the same-size kitchen.

The changes:

1. Kept the sink and dishwasher where they were.

2. Added pantry cabinets and drawers for dishes and flatware within reach of the dishwasher.

3. Turned the broom closet into a message center and serving area stocked with upper cabinets and deep drawers.

4. Moved the door that opens to the garage to create a better spot for the new pro-style range, plus prep and storage space.

5. Replaced the peninsula with one that is narrower and integrated with the rest of the countertops.

6. Gave up a cabinet to provide space for a larger fridge situated closer to prep and cooking space.