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A Kitchen Designed With the Kids in Mind

Parallel workstations and several thoughtful details make this light and airy space function for the entire household

Built for Six…Kids

Photo by Paul Dyer

Children could be the last consideration when undertaking a redo, but for Deidra Carson, making everything kid-friendly was key. In remodeling the kitchen of her Kentfield, California, home, that meant populating one side of the room with an undercounter beverage fridge stocked with milk boxes and juice drinks, lots of open shelving, and a deep drawer for dinnerware storage right alongside a dishwasher. "That way the kids can load it and unload it too," says this working mother of six.

Shown: Distinct work areas, dual dishwashers, and easy-access storage make a better fit for homeowner Deidra Carson, here with three of her six kids and her partner, Chris Barry.

Before: Limited Access for Little Hands

Photo by Paul Dyer

She made the other side of the kitchen the meal-prep center, with a pro-style range and a large-capacity fridge, as well as a second, larger sink and another dishwasher. White subway tile, marble countertops, and white cabinets give the space a fresh, timeless look.

Shown: The space needed freshening and a more family-oriented layout.

After: Within Reach for the Whole Family

Photo by Paul Dyer

But to mix it up, "we gave the island four legs and a different color so it looks like furniture," says John Varney, who made all the custom cabinetry. "That treatment adds depth and vitality to a white kitchen." Deidra's pride lies in the kid-accessible features, however. "Everything's just easy to get," she says, "and easy to put away."

An island with hand-turned legs, painted cabinets with visible brushstrokes, and substantial trim give the space a classic look.

Faucet: Rohl

Pendants: Restoration Hardware

Cohesive Work Zone

Photo by Paul Dyer

The same cabinets, countertop, and window trim update the bill-paying-and-permission-slip-signing zone.

Stool: Crate & Barrel

Cozy and Versatile

Photo by Paul Dyer

A schoolhouse pendant and fresh paint and fabrics give the breakfast nook a more inviting vibe.

Pendant: Rejuvenation

Wall paint: Benjamin Moore's Vale Mist

Aesthetically Pleasing and Practical

Photo by Paul Dyer

An open shelf runs across the top of the windows to give the sink wall a finished look. The beverage fridge is stocked with kids' drinks.

Knobs and pulls: Restoration Hardware

Hidden Nearby

Photo by Paul Dyer

A narrow pullout puts oils within the cook's reach. The island's four table-style legs are positioned to maximize cabinet storage space.

Built for Teamwork

Photo by Paul Dyer

A dishware drawer is sectioned off with adjustable pegs to make it easy for kids to empty the dishwasher and set the table.

Floor Plan: Before

Floor plan by Ian Warpole

The 265-square-foot cook space felt dated.

Homeowner Tip: "We lowered the sink windows for a better view of the trees and grass. In a busy kitchen, that's good for the eyes and the mind." —Deidra Carson, Kentfield, Calif.

Floor Plan: After

Floor plan by Ian Warpole

Tiny tweaks allowed for a longer island with seating clustered on one side, more landing space near the cooktop, and more natural light where open shelves replaced upper cabinets.

1. Swapped upper cabinets for open shelves, and lowered the windows to bring in more daylight and offer better views.

2. Went kid-friendly along the sink wall with a beverage zone and a dishwasher next to a deep storage drawer for plates.

3. Added a food pantry opposite the desk area to make up for lost cabinet storage.

4. Removed upper cabinets next to the cooktop to showcase a custom wood range-hood cover.

5. Lengthened the island and grouped seating on one side to keep kids and guests out of the cooking fray. Added a larger island sink.