It's a common syndrome: you buy a new home, excited about all the possibilities. You take out those gross cabinets in the kitchen, slap down some temporary flooring, install makeshift plywood counters, and pledge to actually do the kitchen up right "soon." Weeks go by and turn into years. Then suddenly you're jarred awake by a major life event and when you walk into the kitchen, you wonder how you've been able to stand it all these years.
Craig and Katie Webster experienced just that when they moved into their California home. Craig partially demolished the kitchen and kept meaning to finish the job and remodel it to perfection, but something else always got in the way, and suddenly the couple and their dog Maggie were expecting a baby. It was time to knuckle down and get the job done, so they called a Los Angeles-area contractor and got to work.
They didn't have to do a whole lot of major remodeling, thankfully. Two big changes needed to happen, though. The first was widening the opening to the kitchen to help it connect with the house more, which is a great tip for remodeling in general, especially with older, smaller homes and bungalows. Instead of letting a home stay compartmentalized and cramped, open it up! It will feel more light and airy, all without actually paying for an addition. They added some charming molding and trim to the wider opening to get it feeling even more expansive, and keep it in character with the house.
The next thing the couple did, which was super smart, was close off a window that overlooked the neighbor's driveway. Blech, what a view, right? Not only did closing off the window change the look and feel of the kitchen (which still retained lots of light with the existing windows and wider opening into the house), it also allowed the couple to use the floorplan of the kitchen more efficiently. Again without an addition, they managed to create more room by rearranging their appliances and cabinets. Pretty clever, right?
They also put in a kitchen island, which is another very smart design decision that works the kitchen triangle. Islands create a fantastic workspace, and more than that, they add easily-accessible storage. If you have room for an island, definitely consider adding one, although you'll have to think long and hard about countertop options (they went for soapstone). Stone can be great if you work with a lot of pastry, but you might want butcher's block for a broad chopping surface. Either way, commit to maintaining your island with periodic applications of mineral oil to keep it looking beautiful.
Under the direction of designer Dana Jones, they added some mid-budget cabinets, but they dressed them up with molding and beadboard. A few of the cabinets were left with glassed doors for display, and to lighten up the kitchen. Great storage for the kitchen at an affordable price? Yes please! They also added some clever touches like an accordion door for hiding countertop appliances such as the blender and toaster, and an adorable dog feeding station for their pooch.
The end result is a crisp, beautiful kitchen in shades of blue and white that fits perfectly with the style and tone of their home while also being totally fun to be in. Finally, they can bring guests over without feeling awkward about the kitchen, and they have a great workspace to cook lots of happy family meals in. And, of course, their clever remodel adds value to their home, which makes it a win-win for basically everyone.
Remodeling projects like this are a team effort, involving not just the contractor but plumbers, electricians, and other skilled building professionals. While a kitchen remodel can get costly very fast, this couple found a way to keep their costs low without compromising on the finished look and style. Kudos, and may you enjoy your fabulous kitchen for years to come!
Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.