Walton notes that “this is a kitchen where you typically would not see an island,” since it was fairly narrow. Initial plans were to extend the back of the house for more space, but this was scrapped as a cost-saving measure. Still the Allens wanted an island, and Walton devised a two-foot “sliver” of an island with a unique shape and a glass topped eating area set into one end. The island incorporates a sink, an under-cabinet microwave and warming drawer.
Island is Focal Point
“The island is the main thing; it’s quite unique,” Walton says. “We played around with that for quite a while. The homeowners were determined to have seating. We looked at having a raised area, but ended up doing a lowered area, since the owner prefers the comfort of a standard chair.”
The kitchen remodel did not add any square footage to the room, Walton relates. “We reworked the walls and created two little pantries with French doors; they’re no deeper than having a cabinet,” he says.
The doorway to dining area was reworked, framed in with a barrel vault and a butler’s pantry niched in to that. “In a typical kitchen of that era, you’d have a wall with a pocket door. We framed in a vaulted space with a butler’s pantry to create a transition between the dining environment and the kitchen,” Walton explains.
The custom-made maple cabinets have a conversion varnish finish for a highly polished look. They feature full overlay doors and all joints flushed out. The Allens were “after a fair amount of detail. They wanted everything very clean,” Walton adds.
Lighting was another detail addressed in the new kitchen. “Most clients don’t work with lighting specialists but we did on this project,” Walton says. “These are not just your typical 6-in. recessed cans. There are MR16s, low-voltage detail lighting, and puck lighting under the cabinets. There are colored lights as well as xenon and LED lighting.”
The kitchen opens directly to the family room, where an older brick fireplace with a niche for firewood was updated. The firewood niche was abandoned in favor of a clean, crisp look achieved by application of large stones — actually precast concrete. The fireplace was the major change in the family room, aside from adding a surround-sound system and changes to a window and a sliding glass door.
The home’s existing maple flooring, which extends from the kitchen to the family room, was reworked.
Working within tight space restrictions, the project succeeds by making every inch count, transforming a run-of-the-mill tract home into a home with added character and charm.
Outdoor Spaces Reflect and Complement Interior Form and Function
Remodeling is not just about interior space. Case in point is the Allen addition of a casita, which added not only living space but created a bonus outdoor courtyard and a new look for the home as well.
In the Texas project featured on the cover of this month’s issue, a strong feeling for Craftsman style and philosophy inform both interior and exterior design decisions.
The Buckeye home, renovated by Craftsman Homes of Austin, pays particular attention to outdoor details. It features a design that counters runoff, promotes irrigation and provides wildlife habitat. Such strategy spreads out and maximizes existing rainfall to boost a lush green carbon-consuming landscape instead of a brown “zero-scape” while returning more water to the aquifer, says Craftsman Homes owner Steve Wauson.
The deck outside the master suite was transformed into a private getaway where the homeowner can relax and enjoy views of the surrounding Texas hill country. Previously it wrapped around the house.
In keeping with the Craftsman philosophy, natural materials were used wherever possible. The deck is cumaru, a South American hardwood that is resistant to decay and insects. The deck railing is treated lumber that has been painted, and the siding is Western red cedar.
Instead of downspouts, water from the gutters is channeled into catch basins via rain chains, which slow the water to avoid erosion. Condensate from the home’s air conditioners and icemaker is likewise collected. A water feature starts at the front door and includes a koi pond as well as a natural spring.