Kitchen Redesign Increases Function and Storage

Kitchen Redesign Increases Function and Storage

By Barbara Capella Loehr

Indeed, after the "big 3-0," a change is certainly in order, as in the case of this kitchen redesign.

Enter Joan Eisenberg, CMKBD, of JME Consulting, Inc. in Baltimore, MD, who saw the great functional and storage potential in the dated 15'x22' kitchen. The room also had a 4'6"x12'6" butler's pantry and walk-in pantry carved into one corner. All it needed was some reconfiguring.

"The owners of this kitchen are empty-nesters, and they were moving from a fairly large home into a community of zero-lot line houses that are 30-years old. And they wanted to update the kitchen, and the whole house, which had never been updated at all," she explains.

As a result, the old kitchen needed a more functional layout to accommodate heavy cooking. Plus, the owners requested more storage.

"When the lady of the house cooks, she cooks a lot," notes Eisenberg. But, she says, the couple is there only six months of the year. "So they wanted to do it all nicely, but within a budget," she adds.

To give this kitchen a more functional layout and meet the owners' expectations and requests, Eisenberg enlisted the the help of several others who were key to the design process. She collaborated with interior designer Jay Jenkins of Alexander Baer Associates in Baltimore, MD, as well as general contractor Rick Whitney of Rick of Westwood in Manchester, MD.

Once everyone was on board, Eisenberg began her redesign.

However, it was not all smooth sailing, as Eisenberg had several obstacles to overcome in this kitchen.

The first obstacle was two-fold the butler's and walk-in pantries, which both butted into the room 6'. Eisenberg took out both of them, since none of the walls along that stretch were bearing walls.

"We had to relocate some duct work to make it work," she notes.

Removing the butler's and walk-in pantries solved two problems. "It opened it up [the space]. And since the only window in the kitchen is a glass door at one end, which is on the same wall as where the butler's pantry was, the light was originally blocked off by the butler's pantry, and so was the view of the patio. Without the pantry, the light came through and the view opened up nicely," says Eisenberg.

Her next challenge was to figure out how to turn the layout around so that the lady of the house could see the outdoors and see her family and friends while she was cooking.

"To get her facing her family, we turned the sink, which was originally facing a wall, around onto her island by [slightly] channeling into the concrete slab [on which the house sits] to allow us to leave the plumbing vent where it was," she says. A KitchenAid dishwasher was also installed in the island.

In terms of aesthetics, Eisenberg collaborated closely with Jenkins, using his vision of soft, but not fussy styling to frame the functional layout she was giving the kitchen.

To that end, she says, "we used a flat-panel door with a beaded edge from Paris Kitchens on all of the custom cabinetry. Two different colors, a beige paint and a dark green stain, were applied to accent the room. The island, cooktop and eating area were all done in the green, and the surrounding cabinets on two other sides of the walls and part of the cooking area after the cooktop were all in the beige."

Custom details such as fluted columns along with pull-out shelves and a host of interior storage options complete the cabinetry's function.

To replace the storage lost by removing the pantries, Eisenberg used two 24" D pantries with roll-out trays that flank the new desk area, as well as 12" and 15" D cabinets "to the counter." These surround the 72" cooktop work area, which features a 30" Frigidaire gas cooktop and Broan ventilation with a 72" custom hood from Paris Kitchens.

"I also used cabinets to the counter where two unfitted 'furniture' pieces were created to flank a banquette designed by Jenkins," she explains.

In order to create more function, the wall ovens were moved out of the main traffic aisle to create a balanced design element with the existing Sub-Zero 550 refrigerator opposite the desk and new pantries. She installed new Frigidaire double convection ovens, along with a GE microwave, again, for higher functionality.

St. Cecilia Granite countertops from Artelye Granite & Marble complete the kitchen, but there was also the matter of the adjacent laundry room, which was a long, narrow space off the diagonal corner of the now-removed butler's pantry.

Eisenberg cleverly reconfigured the space, breathing new life into it via Paris Kitchens cabinetry featuring a simple slab door painted in the kitchen's beige hue. She hid the meters and shut-offs with a broom closet with the back cut out for easy access, and hid the overhead PVC pipes with an open-shelf cabinet.

Formica Corp. #7219-58 Forrest Terra Matte laundry room countertops from Hallmark Mfg. complete the look.

To learn more about the designer, Joan Eisenberg, click here