My fiancée and I recently bought a coastal farmhouse built in 1901. The house is spacious with high ceilings, hardwood floors, and elegant woodwork. The property was love at first sight for both of us.
But I hated the kitchen! Cramped and crowded into one small portion of a large space, the kitchen had dark brown cherry cabinets on one side and mismatched glossy white utilitarian cabinets on the mud room side. It was a visual disaster. To make things worse, a kitchen peninsula was set diagonally into the room at a height that was substantially lower than standard. The peninsula blocked light from the beautiful windows over the sink. It cut the room into sections, visually and literally. There was nothing in the kitchen that honored the 1901 house. It was as though a 1990s oddly placed but upscale suburban kitchen had come for a very long visit.
I asked my friends and sisters for advice on how to fix this disaster. Most said to live with it the way it was. Several thought the dark cabinets looked good enough. Everyone said I was being too picky. Of course I didn’t listen to them. What else is new? I have a strong sense of style and knew I had to fix the problem or I’d never enjoy my kitchen. So I asked my son the architect for advice. His pay for services rendered was a pizza dinner.
He immediately suggested that the diagonal sun-blocking peninsula had to go. We agreed, but I needed the cabinet space that it provided. He recommended an alternative: take the peninsula out, and build a new, straight, standard height peninsula at the corner where the kitchen door leads to the dining room. He felt this would open up and extend the kitchen into unused space. Furthermore, by painting the entire room the same color, the kitchen would appear more integrated with the mud room side. He also suggested we install a small sink preparation unit into the peninsula.
It was a lot to think about. I realized we had been thinking of the kitchen as it was already defined; that is, crowded into one small part of the overall space. His idea to extend the kitchen visually by utilizing empty space was the inspiration for the eventual design. I didn’t use his specific idea for a peninsula. But the concept of opening up the space was freeing to me. It inspired us to build an island that fit perfectly into the extended space. We even used the same granite countertop and cabinets from the existing peninsula to craft the new island! We painted the entire room the same color, built new closet doors and painted every door and cabinet frame the same color, and installed all new hinges and door pulls. The result is a gorgeous kitchen that looks like it belongs in our beautiful house.
I’m proud that my son’s instinct and design skills helped us get the kitchen that I happily spend time in every day. If you’re looking for an architect to help you achieve the home of your dreams, email me on the ABOUT page, and I’ll pass your request on to him. I imagine, though, his fee will be a bit more than a pizza dinner!