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’s Transformations features a kitchen that was given a dramatic overhaul to increase its functionality and better facilitate family gatherings.


Before: With a large extended family, entertaining was important to the owners of this 250 sq.-ft kitchen. Yet their existing kitchen with its massive island did not function as well as the homeowners would’ve liked. They wanted a fresh new look and a spacious feel – and they did not want to lose their vintage commercial Garland range in the renovation.


After: Designer Jonathan Starks of the Manhasset, NY-based Showcase Kitchens wanted to give the kitchen a fresh new look and enhanced functionality, and he decided the best place to begin was the existing island. Realizing the massive center island did not maximize functionality, he decided to replace it with smaller twin islands, one for food prep and the other for eating and entertaining.

The main sink was moved to the left corner wall and the refrigerator was moved next to the dishwasher, with cabinets added for additional storage. This allowed the prep island to be located closer to the refrigerator, dishwasher and sink. Between the added storage and more efficient layout, the new design dramatically improved the functionality of the space. This also gave the kitchen a more symmetrical look which appealed to the homeowners.

Although the ceiling height was not changed, the designer added decorative beaming details to create a feeling of greater spaciousness to the kitchen. The clients wanted to keep their existing vintage commercial Garland range, which initially presented a challenge, but this was resolved by adding additional insulation on the surrounding cabinetry. 

The end result is a kitchen that is more elegant, spacious looking and better equipped for entertaining.