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Three Rooms Become One: After

Photo by Alex Hayden

Open up three spaces arranged like a barbell and suddenly you've got breathing room. For 10 years, Michael and Susan Assadi, serious cooks, parents of two young children, and owners of a 1924 house in Seattle, fought a skinny little kitchen that had a breakfast room stuck at one end and a dismal den at the other. The kitchen had an electric cooktop with a downdraft vent embedded in a traffic-slowing peninsula, and not enough storage or prep space.

Finally, Michael, an engineer, tapped his computer-assisted design skills to help solve the problem, deleting walls at either end and a door to the basement in the middle. Working with cabinet designer Lisa Wilson and her design-build firm Builder Showroom, the couple gutted all three rooms, added insulation, pipes, wiring, and ductwork, and reorganized the layout so that two could cook at once. The den became a dining and homework spot, and the breakfast room an airy walk-in pantry. “The island gives us extra prep space,” says Michael, “and when guests arrive we simply wheel it to one side.” Boom—room for everyone.

Shown: Opened up at each end, the kitchen has a cleanup zone on one side, prep and cooking space on the other, and an island floating at the middle.

Island: Crate & Barrel

Pendant lights: Restoration Hardware

Paint: 2028-30 Tequila Lime (walls); benjaminmoore.com

Sink: julien.ca

Refrigerator and dishwasher: kitchenaid.com

Three Odd Spaces: Before

Photo by Alex Hayden

It was a challenge for two people to cook and keep an eye on the kids.

It's a Reach

Photo by Alex Hayden

A library-ladder rail runs between two rows of upper cabinets. Twin wall ovens and a pro-style cooktop with a pot filler and a stainless-steel-tile backsplash make meal prep a breeze.

Cooktop: Wolf

Wall ovens: GE

Range hood: Vent-a-Hood

Tile: Eden Mosaic

Library ladder and rail: putnamrollingladder.com

On the Surface

Photo by Alex Hayden

A countertop beneath open shelves in the pantry, near the door, catches keys and cell phones. The library ladder slides along a rail anchored just under the top cabinets on 2×4s masked with trim pieces.

Spacious Nosh Nook

Photo by Alex Hayden

Banquette seating and built-in storage maximize space in the eating nook.

Homeowner Tip: “To keep our galley kitchen from looking like a bowling alley, we ran beadboard across the ceiling, perpendicular to the floorboards, to help the room feel wider.” — Michael Assadi, Seattle

Cabinets: Canyon Creek Cabinet Company

Butcher-block table top: johnboos.com

Banquette fabric: maxwellfabrics.com

Flat screen: sony.com

Paintings: threebirdshome.com

Beautiful from Top to Bottom

Photo by Alex Hayden

New red-oak floorboards blend in with existing flooring. The ceiling was finished with beadboard running in the opposite direction to help visually widen the long, narrow space.

Pantry, Plus Party Bar

Photo by Alex Hayden

The former breakfast room became a spacious walk-in pantry with a hutch-like built-in. During parties it becomes a bar.

Knobs and pulls: Schaube and Company

Compact Mudroom

Photo by Alex Hayden

The mini mudroom has hooks, drawers, and baskets to catch bags and outerwear just inside the heavily trafficked back door.

Coat hooks: restorationhardware.com

Gleaming Ceramic Tile Accent

Photo by Alex Hayden

Bright white subway tile sets off the light-filled cleanup zone.

Sink: Julien. Faucet: Grohe. Paint (walls): Benjamin Moore's Tequila Lime

Microwave Niche

Photo by Alex Hayden

A niche for the microwave gives it a built-in look. The custom appliance garage has its own outlets and a stainless-steel roll-down door.

Microwave: whirlpool.com

Flip-Down Island Countertop

Photo by Alex Hayden

The island's solid-plank countertop mimics butcher block. It has a side that flips down to ease traffic flow when not in use.

Barbell Shape: Floor Plan Before

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

The kitchen was small and trapped between rooms.

Easy Flow: Floor Plan After

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

A 360-square-foot open plan holds the new kitchen, eating nook, pantry, even a mini mudroom.

1. Removed a wall to open the space and allow the eating nook to move to the former den.

2. Eliminated the peninsula, making way for a small island.

3. Tucked a mudroom built-in behind the back door.

4. Rejiggered this area, relocating access to the basement and removing a partition wall next to the old fridge.

5. Added prep space (and a gas line) to serve the relocated cooktop.

6. Took out a wall and cased opening to the breakfast room to create a wide-open pantry.