clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

A Cramped Kitchen Opens Up to Make Room for the Whole Family

Bumping out provided more light and flow, plus room to gather. Lots of white paint and warm wood gave the space vintage style

Out with the Old

Photo by Andrea Rugg

There's an art to opening up an old house. Sure, those small hallways and rooms can feel like back alleys and dead ends, but get carried away during demolition and you may sacrifice charm along with the original butler's pantry. Designer David Heide, known for his work on historic houses, likes to solve this problem by cutting and pasting with care while honoring period details. To improve flow in this 1908 foursquare in St. Paul, Minnesota, he added on in back, nearly tripling the kitchen's size. Then he matched new cabinets to those in the existing butler's pantry and gave the space a clean, buttoned-down look.

Homeowners Christian and Alexis DuBois opted for solid cabinet fronts over glass ones, allowing them to hide a desk and a TV in plain sight. "We have two kids, so there is always stuff around, but it never feels cluttered,” says Alexis. Barn-red walls, an oak floor, and a tawny beadboard ceiling warm up a room lined in vintage white. "People come in," she says, "and have no idea it's new."

Before: Cramped and Dated

Photo by Andrea Rugg

The dated kitchen had just 3 feet of prep space and one drawer.

After: Open and Airy

Photo by Andrea Rugg

Bigger and brighter, it now has tons of storage, plus workspace, with

a peninsula perch for Eleanor, 3.

Original Floor Plan

Photo by Andrea Rugg

Just 108 square feet, the kitchen was too small for an eating area or island. A separate butler's pantry held dishes, but there wasn't much prep space.

Renovated Floor Plan

Photo by Andrea Rugg

Adding on in back and moving two interior walls enlarged the kitchen

to 282 square feet:

1. Extended the room 16 feet, allowing space for a light-filled breakfast area.

2. Added a 4-foot-long peninsula for prep space and a

snack bar, and put in a window over the sink.

3. Built in a desk with a

drop front to hide paperwork.

4. Widened the room by 3 feet with space from the broom closet

5. Moved the old closet wall in by 3 feet so that it now lines up with the existing flue.

Bright Whites

Photo by Andrea Rugg

Crisp white cabinets, subway tile, and trim allow

the Atlantic Black granite countertop to pop.

Sink and faucet: Rohl. Tile: American Olean

Behind the Design

Photo by Andrea Rugg

A flip-up cabinet door slides back to reveal the microwave. To its left is a doorway to the butler's pantry; cabinets along the passageway, made to match the pantry originals, hide recycling bins.

Microwave: GE

Key Details

Photo by Andrea Rugg

V-groove paneling on the range hood echoes the wainscoting. Satin-nickel latches and bin pulls reinforce the period look.

Range and hood: Wolf. Latches: B&M Hardware. Pulls: Hickory Hardware

All the Trimmings

Photo by Andrea Rugg

New window casings and crown molding were based on existing trim in the 1908 house.

Paint (walls): Benjamin Moore's Brick Red