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Cramped, Unfriendly Kitchen: Before

Empty nesters know what they want, and Chuck Hanson and Alicia Randolph, parents of two 20-somethings, are no different. “The whole family likes to cook, and the opportunity to entertain," says Chuck, of the need to rework the congested kitchen in their Seattle Tudor Revival.

Shown: The small, dated cooking zone was not conducive to teamwork or socializing.

High-Functioning Entertaining Magnet: After

Photo by Alex Hayden

So yes, they asked for a pro-style range and a more open, free-flowing layout that would unite prep and gathering space. JAS Design Build worked with the couple to provide for storage and legroom needs, without tearing down walls. “Now every inch counts," says designer Kim Clements, who was mindful of the couple's expertise as physical therapists in designing a compact, ergonomic workspace for two—or more. She chose fewer upper cabinets, widened a passageway, and added a Dutch door to create light-filled noshing and chopping zones. New windows are trimmed to match the home's original 1920s woodwork, and finishes have a warm, period feel. Says Chuck about the now high-functioning space,“It gives us joy every day."

Design, general contractor, cabinets, Dutch door, and island: JAS Design Build, Seattle

Arches for Structural Continuity

Photo by Alex Hayden

Brackets now frame the opening to the dining room to suggest an arch, echoing original arched openings in the house.

Homeowner tip: “To maximize storage and reinforce the kitchen's cottage style, we added an open shelf with brackets that wraps the eating nook and cooking space."

Chuck Hanson, Seattle

Paint: Farrow & Ball's Lamp Room Gray (cabinets), C2 Paint’s Noodle (door, bench, walls, and trim)

Range: Viking

Refrigerator: KitchenAid

Hardy Materials Add up to Timeless Kitchen Style

Photo by Alex Hayden

Honed marble counters, clear-coated wood trim, perforated-metal cabinet fronts, and dark hardware contribute to the timeless look.

Knobs and pulls: Rejuvenation

Tile: Ann Sacks

Perforated cabinet fronts: McNichols

Range hood liner: Vent-A-Hood

Smart Apron Sink

Photo by Alex Hayden

An apron sink pays equal tribute to convenience and cottage style. Fewer upper cabinets means a more open feel, and more room for art.

Sink: Rohl

Faucet: Kohler

Sconce: Circa

Dishwasher: Bosch

Versatile Rolling Kitchen Island

Photo by Alex Hayden

The custom island rolls aside to open up the room for gatherings. The blackboard evokes a time before grocery lists were kept on phones.

Sconce: Rejuvenation

Dutch Door Reminiscent of Dining-Room Windows

Photo by Alex Hayden

The new Dutch door and windows, whose simulated divided lights were made with lead tape, nod to original leaded-glass windows in the dining room.

Windows: Marvin

Door latch: Baldwin Hardware

Seamless Eating Nook

Photo by Alex Hayden

An open shelf and horizontal V-groove paneling unite the eating nook and the cooking zone. Wall-hung cushions help conserve banquette space.

Pendant: Rejuvenation

Bench seat fabric: Perennials Fabrics

Seat-back cushions: B. Berger Fabrics; Duralee

Floor Plan Before: Cooking Obstacles

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

A rounded peninsula delineated the congested workspace.

Floor Plan After: Smarter Layout in the Same Space

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

Rejiggering the layout and opening it up gave the same-size kitchen more function and a roomier feel.

1. Replaced tall cabinets with a space-saving banquette to serve the relocated eating nook.

2. Added a small island on wheels that can be moved around as needed.

3. Stacked cabinets next to the new fridge spot, freeing wall space elsewhere.

4. Moved the cleanup zone to the eating area's former location, adding a run of base cabinets.

5. Ditched the peninsula and relocated the range to the old sink spot, with a vent hood where a window had been.

6. Removed a swinging door and widened the opening slightly, adding a built-in.