Before and After Case Study 1970s Builder’s Kitchen Replaced


Before and After Case Study 1970s Builder’s Kitchen Replaced

The Challenge

The homeowners’ much used and past-its-prime kitchen needed a total overhaul. Many of the items in the kitchen were original builder’s grade from when the home was built in the 1970s. The layout was cramped and inefficient, the cabinets were dark and made the room feel even smaller than it actually was, storage space was inadequate. Everything looked dated and out of style. 

This project called for a complete re-do. The first item on the homeowners’ wish list was to improve the work flow so two people could work in the kitchen at the same time. Beyond that, they simply wanted to replace everything in the existing kitchen. Everything was worn out and outdated, and this included cabinets, countertops, backsplash and flooring. They wanted more countertop work and staging area, storage space and more cabinets. They wanted to be able to access items stored in their corner cabinets and more functional storage throughout the kitchen. They wanted to make the space lighter and brighter. 

What they did not want to do was remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room. 

In addition to replacing the kitchen floor, they wanted to upgrade all flooring in the downstairs. At the time of the remodel project, they had five different types of flooring on the first floor. 

Before Pictures

The layout of the old kitchen was inefficient, and it was not possible for two people to work at the same time
Two closets, side by side? What was the builder thinking? 
Dark cabinets, very little counter space, old appliances, not much storage – it all had to go. Remember those cabinet pulls with the white ceramic center piece? They show how long it’s been since the kitchen was updated.

The Design Solution

The new kitchen design began by rearranging the appliances to improve work flow, a top priority for the homeowners. 

The sink window and the sink were moved to create more countertop landing area between the corner and the sink, and this move improved corner storage for both upper and lower cabinets. The old window was replaced by a larger window to bring in more light. 

The homeowners selected white paint for their cabinet finish and glass inserts for the wall cabinet doors to lighten up and bring color into kitchen.

To made the room appear bigger and create more storage space, the soffits were removed so wall cabinets could extend to the ceiling. It also allowed for crown molding to be installed at the top of the cabinets, an attractive design element the old kitchen was lacking.

The two pantry closets were removed and replaced with cabinets and open roll-out shelves. The microwave was moved out of the main work area of the kitchen and was installed in these new cabinets.

To create more room in the new kitchen and extend the space into the family room, the slider and exterior door were removed. The opening was re-framed for a new 6-foot sliding door to the deck.  

The homeowners moved out for seven weeks to accommodate the renovation.

The Wrap Up / After

Custom cabinets were used to make the most of limited space in this small kitchen. Custom cabinetry made it possible to install certain accessories, like a pull-out for tray storage to left of the sink and canned goods storage beside the dishwasher. Without the flexibility provided by custom cabinets, it would not have been possible to install these storage accessories. 

Using custom cabinets also made it possible to have the microwave built into a cabinet, something the clients wanted. When the two pantry closets were removed, the custom built-in combination cabinet and shelving unit allowed the traffic walkway behind the island to be widened. This could not have been accomplished if custom cabinetry weren’t used, thanks to the sizing adjustments available in custom cabinetry. 

The homeowners wanted the wall cabinets extended to the ceiling, which meant removing the soffits. They knew in advance of tear-out that the soffits contained plumbing and ductwork; they were re-routed.

New lights, including two pendants, were installed as part of the overall design to lighten up the room. 

The old kitchen had only ten cabinets. The new design made it possible to fit 19 cabinets in the new kitchen, almost doubling the storage capacity. 

Site-finished wood flooring was installed throughout the kitchen, family room and hall way. Existing wood floors were refinished in the rest of the downstairs.

Reclaimed chestnut barn wood was used for the island and the custom made kitchen table. The client requested furniture-styled items to break up the all-white cabinetry and add texture and contrast. The countertops are black Barroca soapstone, which also adds contrast to both the white cabinets and white beveled edge subway tile. 

To create more space in the new kitchen the opening to the deck was re-framed and new sliders were installed
The homeowners selected white paint as their cabinet finish and glass door inserts to lighten up the formerly dark room
Two pantry doors were removed and replaced with cabinetry and open shelves. Microwave is installed here. 
The sink was moved and new window over the sink was installed to bring in more light.

Products Used