As a kitchen and bath designer, I am frequently brought in to correct issues with the livability of a room. Often an unusual room shape can cause problems with the flow and functionality, but it can also impair the aesthetics of the room. The solutions are frequently a marriage of three things…1) altering the architecture of the home, 2) using cabinetry in clever ways, 3) re-working furniture placement and other soft furnishings. The surface challenge of this project was to address the aesthetics of the space. With two school-aged children, Lisa and Joe wanted a kitchen/family room/breakfast room that felt brighter, but still warm and inviting for family gatherings. Most importantly, though, Lisa desired a kitchen that didn’t make her feel as if she had been sent to the corner for a “time-out.” Dark and confined, the existing kitchen was not an enjoyable place to be.
In addition to wanting to change the way the kitchen looked, there were also some significant problems with the room’s layout. Not only did the kitchen feel somewhat cut-off from the rest of the room, but it was literally cut-off from the main flow of the home. If you look at the “before” pictures above, you’ll notice that the only convenient door to enter/exit the kitchen was through the butler’s pantry. The only other opening led to the back hallway, (which was adjacent to the garage) making for a lengthy walk-around to any other destination in the home.
The biggest challenge of this design, however, was the odd shape of the overall family room/breakfast area/kitchen. A few angled walls created an awkward void in the room regarding furniture placement (see floor plan below).