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 takes a before and after view of a problem-solving kitchen that incorporates both aesthetic and functional improvements.



When designer Emily Duff of Emily Duff Interior Design & Spatial Planning purchased this 1880s home, the kitchen left a lot to be desired. It had been renovated since the house was built, but the design was not functional. The refrigerator, range and sink all shared one 13-foot wall, storage was in short supply and the cast iron radiator was an unattractive element.



Duff explains, “My mission was to bring function and flow to this space while creating a look that is fresh but still fits the era of the home.” To do this, she began by relocating the sink area to the left wall of the room, which formerly was unused due to a low window.  The sink, now a farmhouse style, adds charm that reflects the original style of the home. This left the main wall open for a larger range (36" wide) and custom hood to be centered. To keep an open and airy feeling, she added talk, narrow windows to each side of the hood. A new lazy susan in the corner by the range and large pots and pan drawers add storage and functionality, while the new island with its 3”-thick walnut butcher block top adds beauty, prep space and seating for two. The island also includes a pull out trash cabinet, large bank of drawers and an open cabinet with baskets for fresh storage. Hand stained corbels accent the island as well as a detail added under the glass wall cabinet above the radiator. The cast iron radiator was covered with metal door inserts, making it look like the other base cabinets. The refrigerator was relocated to what was formerly a closet, enhancing the flow of the space, whiel a new pantry cabinet and open cookbook storage to the right of the refrigerator takes advantage of previously unused wall space, while adding storage.

As Duff concludes, “The room now uses all four walls in a clean and efficient way. This kitchen is welcoming and a great space for preparing food or entertaining guests.”