Create an Open, Craftsman-Style Kitchen

How to expand a small kitchen by adding floor space and using existing space more efficiently

Remodel and expand a small kitchen by stealing little-used adjacent space and by utilizing the existing space more efficiently, including storage ideas, lighting ideas and multi-use spaces. This Craftsman-inspired project makes this small kitchen work and feel much bigger.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Overview: The problem and remodeling plan

During a remodeling project nearly 10 years ago, this Twin Cities couple created a wide open Craftsman-style living room that had a wide open view of the lake outside their door. This year, the couple was ready for phase two—the kitchen. It felt dark, cramped and isolated from the rest of the house. Storage space was at a premium and the appliances were outdated. And they wanted a space close to the action (but not in it) for a computer and work area.

They were so satisfied with the attention to detail Tim Quigley of Quigley Architects had shown with the previous remodel that they used him again for phase two. Two things in their favor were the underused entryway and the large but poorly designed half bathroom adjacent to the kitchen. Quigley took advantage of the underused space and, employing some ingenious space-saving ideas, created the open, welcoming kitchen shown here.

The Craftsman-Inspired kitchen

This Craftsman-inspired kitchen took over space from an underused mudroom and a bathroom and put it to good use. An efficient floor plan and clever storage allow this 200-sq.-ft. kitchen to live large.

Photo of kitchen Finished kitchen
Black and white photo Kitchen before remodel
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Carving out new space

After a temporary kitchen was set up in the basement using the old appliances, the next step involved downsizing the mudroom and the bathroom to create more space for the kitchen. It meant sacrificing an exterior door and a shower stall, but the result was an extra 60 sq. ft. of kitchen space, along with a hallway/commons area wide enough to accommodate the family computer center. The family took space they rarely used and put it to daily use in their kitchen.

Crown molding and hardwood flooring were extended into the new kitchen from the existing living room to help pull the old and new spaces together.

The Old and New Floor Plans

Compare the old and new floor plans to see how spaces were altered to create more room for the kitchen and how it was better utilized.

After floor plan Kitchen after remodeling
Before floor plan Kitchen before remodeling
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Space savers

Architect Tim Quigley was able to provide plenty of storage room by utilizing every square inch of space. The large platform above the double ovens, the shelf integrated into the range hood, and the glass-front door panels in the upper reaches of the upper cabinets provide display space without adding clutter. Other unique twists include:

  • A reach-in pantry occupies a corner that might otherwise be wasted space. A pocket door provides excellent access, and the frosted glass panel fools the eye into seeing the space as larger than it really is.
  • The recycling center is concealed in the centrally located island cabinet, making it easily accessible to all parts of the kitchen.
  • An open railing system, replacing part of a solid wall by the stairs, helps visually open the space and adds to the “great room” feel.
  • Drawers with full-extension glides provide complete access to the contents within—even things hiding in the very back.

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The mini office

The family needed a computer/desk area but didn’t want to dedicate an entire room to it. They also wanted to keep this work space in the flow of everyday life, both for easy access and to better monitor the computer activities of their 12-year-old son. The solution involved creating a wide open “commons area” large enough to accommodate both the built-in desk and the traffic flow. The desk, in the same style cabinetry as the rest of the kitchen, includes puck lights below the arched overhead cabinet, a “cubby” for each family member, a file drawer and a cork “backsplash” for posting the important events of the day.

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Lighting and brightening

Loads of light and bright finishes make spaces feel bigger, even though they’re small.

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