The kitchen always has been, and always will be, the heart of the
home. It's where family members cook, do homework, host dinner
parties and go over the highlights of the day. The only thing
better than a kitchen that can accommodate all these activities is a kitchen that
can accommodate them in a well-organized manner—and be attractive to
boot. This kitchen succeeds.
No more living room
The homeowners wanted a larger kitchen, a larger dining room, a butler's
pantry and a dedicated “communication hub”—all without adding on. Something
had to give. For this busy Upper Midwest family, the thing that “gave”
was the formal living room; in fact, it was eliminated (see illustrations).
“They gave up a room they underused and gained space they'll use every
day,” explains designer Pat Undlin. “The new spaces better fit the way they live
Without adding a square inch of space, the design team from Pappas Inc. was able to accommodate the family's love of cooking and entertaining.
Reconfiguring the existing space involved:
- Narrowing the existing living room space and
converting it into a spacious formal dining room.
- Extending the kitchen into the old dining room area.
- Adding a butler's pantry and communication
hub to space “stolen” from the old living room.
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Storage and other amenities
Behind the simple white doors are hard-working
cabinets, each designed for maximum storage, efficiency
and utility. Base cabinets with rollout trash
and recycling receptacles are positioned next to the
sink. The cabinet with the butcher block top at the
end of the island has drawers with sliding plastic
tops to store snacks and to keep bakery goods
fresh. Full-extension glides were used for all the
drawers and rollouts to provide complete access to
This high-energy, high-tech family also needed a
communication hub near the kitchen for holding
computers, charging cell phones and leaving messages.
Filing drawers disguised as cabinets, a built-in
desk and plenty of counter space for homework
are all within whispering distance of the kitchen.
The role of the butler may be long gone, but that
of the butler's pantry remains alive and well. The
pantry provides a space for staging dishes and
making final food preparations close to, but not in,
the dining room. It contains nearly 20 sq. ft. of
counter space, a wine chiller, under-counter refrigerator for keeping beverages close at hand and a small sink. The dishwasher serves as a backup during
large dinner parties.
Glass-front upper cabinets provide a convenient
place to store dinnerware while helping give the
room an open feel. Pocket doors on both ends of
the pantry close off the after-dinner mess and help
control “helpful” guests who want to pitch in.
Disappearing pocket doors
Design it Right: A Zillion Questions Equals the Best Kitchen
Before the designers from Pappas Inc. break
out the drawing board, they sit down with the
clients and go through a six-page questionnaire.
Are they right or left-handed? Do
they buy in bulk? Are there special physical
or sight considerations? Finding out
more about the clients—right down to where
they like to store the dog food—helps create
a more efficient, user friendly (and user loved)
To help separate the butler's pantry and
communication hub from the adjacent
spaces without taking up valuable floor
space, pocket doors were used.
A special sterling silver drawer in the
butler's pantry has a lining and flap
made of Pacific Silvercloth, a feltlike
material that helps inhibit tarnish
and corrosion. The drawers are deep
enough to accommodate serving and
eating utensils, as well as small pieces
like creamers and condiment trays.