If you work in the design industry, it’s hard not to be captivated by the transformation process – taking an ugly, dated or poorly functional space and making it look and work better for the client. While there’s plenty of hard work involved in taking a project from conception to completion, there’s something inspiring about reviewing where a space started – and how it turned out.

This month, KBDN’s Transformations department a before and after view of problem-solving kitchen and bath projects that incorporate aesthetic and functional makeovers.


Before: The long, narrow space presented a number of design challenges, including dropped ceiling soffits hiding existing plumbing and ducts, and a boxed out stack in corner of space. Additionally, the designer had to work around an exterior brick wall with a doorway opening between the kitchen and the previously added family room, as well as a door to the basement that opened toward the kitchen with no real landing at the top of the staircase. The clients wanted a more open kitchen space with a contemporary feel and an island or peninsula to provide a casual eating area.


After: Erica Westeroth, CKD, ARIDO, NCIDQ, of the Toronto, Canada-based XTC Design began by removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room to create open concept, with new structural beam. The existing doorway to the family room was transformed into a window opening between the kitchen and family room, with new cabinetry in the family room recessed into the former doorway. The layout was oriented in a U-shape with appliances placed inside the U so the working area of the kitchen would not be in the traffic aisle. Modified existing ceiling soffit to create two different heights of soffits with curved lines outlining different areas of the kitchen. Westerorth modified the entrance to basement staircase to create an enclosed landing and door that swings towards hallway, not into kitchen. With that solved, she added a peninsula with raised bar top in a soft curved shape, which provides the desired seating while adding to the contemporary feel of the space. Natural maple cabinetry in the kitchen is juxtaposed by dark cherry cabinetry facing the more formal dining room area, while glass and metal mosaic backsplash tile acts like jewelry against the other very natural finishes. Finally, she created pantry storage in shallow cabinets backing the powder room wall, surrounded by curved walls which create an architectural transition between the spaces.