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Supersizing the Island for a Spacious Kitchen Redo

A modest expansion primes an already remodeled cook space for three-generation get-togethers

Ample Kitchen Island Room: After

Photo by Keller + Keller

"If only we could squeeze in one more chair." It's a common kitchen refrain, and it certainly rang true for Marilyn and Brian Thompson. The empty nesters first updated their 1880 house, in Chatham, Massachusetts, about eight years ago. But when their posse of grandchildren swelled to seven, they longed for more elbowroom in everyone's favorite gathering spot, so they went back to the same architect, John Kuhn, and interior designer, Tina Lalonde. Kuhn designed a discreet bumpout that managed to comply with local historic guidelines while allowing for a larger island, more storage, and a kids' area. Lalonde, who had used a salvaged cupboard door as inspiration for the cabinets the first time around, loaded up the island with period details. Marilyn, a decorative painter, finished the cabinets, using a brush to get a vintage look, and gave the painted floor an updated pattern. A wider opening allows her to keep an eye on activities in adjacent spaces, but usually you'll find everyone at the island, she says, adding, "All we needed was a little more room."

Shown: Homeowner Marilyn Thompson at the new, 7½-foot island. The existing cabinets and appliances stayed, while the room gained storage, seating, and a more open feel.

Architect: Kuhn Riddle Architects, Amherst, MA; 413-259-1630

General contractor: Alain Mollard, Greenfield, MA

Cabinets and island: Mascaros Woodcraft Company, Chicopee, MA; 413-594-4212

Interior designer: Elisha Beaman House, Amherst, MA; 413-253-3854

Paint: OC-44 Misty Air (walls), HC-115 Georgian Green (cabinets and wainscot), and HC-113 Louisburg Green (beadboard, backsplash, and children's stools); Benjamin Moore

Nice But Small: Before

The kitchen was beautifully renovated, but the family had outgrown it.

Grown-In Kitchen Look

Photo by Keller + Keller

Existing cabinets in differing depths and hutch-style shelves lend an assembled-over-time look. A pull-down faucet updates the sink area.

Countertops: The Stone Cobblers, Worcester, MA

Pendant: Rejuvenation

Faucet: Moen

Marble Range Backsplash

Photo by Keller + Keller

The existing range's marble backsplash is flanked by tongue-and-groove beadboard. The microwave sits flush inside a custom niche.

Range: Viking

Vent fan: Broan

Microwave: GE

Character-Laden Trim

Photo by Keller + Keller

Detailed trim, including an old-fashioned shelf-height adjuster, warms up built-ins framing the sink.

Knobs and pulls: Siro Designs

Practical Period Cabinet Details

Photo by Keller + Keller

Glass-front uppers and an ornate screen door on the pantry add period detail while allowing the cook to quickly scan shelves.

"Leather"-Finished Granite Countertop

Photo by Keller + Keller

New cabinets and green-tinged granite with a smudge-proof "leathered" finish blend seamlessly with the existing kitchen. Glass fronts allow light to travel and also reinforce the period look.

Refrigerator: KitchenAid

Built-In Cutting Board

Photo by Keller + Keller

A built-in cutting board serves the busy breakfast station.

Fun Kids' Snack Bar

Photo by Keller + Keller

Marilyn created the lattice floor pattern as well as the shell detail on the kids' snack bar.

Windows: Pella

Children's stools: The Land of Nod

Nearby Deck

Photo by Keller + Keller

The kitchen extension borrowed space from an existing deck. French doors and sidelights enhance the sense of spaciousness.

Custom, Distressed Storage Hutch

Photo by Keller + Keller

The existing hutch was jury-rigged from salvaged shelf units and marble with a custom base, then given a distressed paint finish.

Floor Plan Before: Short on Family Space

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

The 200-square-foot kitchen lacked space for big family gatherings.

Floor Plan After: Well-Sacrificed Deck

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

A 7-foot bumpout claimed deck space and increased the footprint to 304 square feet.

1. Widened the cased opening to include a cutout above the counter for a bigger sight line to the dining room and beyond.

2. Moved the fridge to a new prep area with its own sink.

3. Bumped out the exterior wall 7 feet, annexing space from the deck, which was rebuilt.

4. Gave the old 5-foot 3-inch island to a friend in favor of one rotated and enlarged to 7 feet 6 inches, with two fridge drawers.

5. Added a kid-height countertop with three stools under new windows.

6. Reinstalled the French doors and windows in the new exterior wall, which connects to the rebuilt deck.