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Kitchen Remodeling Ideas and Tips

Playful tile and clever details make this kitchen the center of family life

FH07JUN_FUNKIT_01-2 kitchen remodeling ideasFamily Handyman

A colorful mix of ceramic, glass and stone tiles, stained glass windows, updated cabinets and an open floor plan rejuvenate a cramped, unappealing kitchen space.

Photography by Russ Widstrand Photography Kitchen Design: Kathie Maughan, Maughan Design Inc., Portland, Oregon Interior Design: Peg Goldie, Tandem Design

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Kitchen Remodeling Ideas: Design decisions

Before

The old kitchen was dark and cramped, and lacked personality.

Stained glass

Stained glass panels that mimic the shape and color of the backsplash tile were set into the wall of the dining room to allow light from the hallway and entryway area to filter in.

Hidden storage

A sliding panel above the fireplace allows the homeowners to use otherwise wasted space alongside the chimney for storage.

Nerve center

The “nerve center” is a feature Maughan includes in nearly every kitchen she designs. The space serves as office, computer center, mail-sorting area and cell phone charging station. The desk surface swings up to become a door for hiding the mess when needed. Since the unit is recessed into the pantry wall, it doesn’t intrude on space needed for cabinets or appliances.

Sometimes there’s just one big impetus behind a kitchen remodel and kitchen remodeling ideas: A growing family can no longer sit around the table, or a two-oven family is stuck with a one-oven kitchen, or the kitchen is just too ugly. But sometimes there are a lot of little factors that add up to the call for action—as in this Oregon kitchen.

The owners wanted a kitchen that matched their colorful, eclectic tastes, not the tastes of the previous occupants. They wanted to open up the kitchen to the rest of the house, and the rest of the house to the great outdoors. And they wanted to have a little fun with it all.

Their kitchen designer, Kathie Maughan, found a way to give them everything they wanted. No space was added; the kitchen was simply opened up and reconfigured. She removed the wall that separated the kitchen from the formal dining room, and then designed matching cabinetry to flow through both spaces to help blend them together. This new space became an informal sitting area. The existing informal family room/eating space was spruced up to become a more sophisticated formal dining room.

Though two windows were sacrificed to create room for a walk-in pantry, two French doors were added—one in the living room, the other in the dining room—to make up for lost light. The new French doors also created an easier indoor-outdoor traffic flow for outside entertaining and dining. And the family surely didn’t back away from adding color!

Tile, anyone?

Tile layout

Each section of tile was laid out on a full-scale template before being installed.

Finished look

The tile was installed following the rough layout, then grouted with a neutral, light gray grout.

The homeowners wanted a colorful, vibrant backsplash. The finished product features 24 different types of tile in a variety of shapes and sizes. Ceramic, glass, natural stone and even some metal tiles were used. “All said and done, there were sixty different selections for the tile setter to track,” explains Maughan.

Good things come in twos

Before

The original kitchen was too small and poorly designed for a two-cook family.

After

The new design expanded the space dramatically, providing room for extra appliances and lots of countertop work area.

As part of the design process, Maughan interviews her clients using an extensive questionnaire to better determine their kitchen and living habits. When the ink had dried, it became apparent that the standard lineup of single appliances simply wouldn’t do.

Since the homeowners frequently entertained and cooked elaborate meals, Maughan incorporated two dishwashers to the right of the main sink. The duo of dishwashers allowed them to clean up without having to wash the extras by hand. She also included two refrigerators—a full-scale primary refrigerator plus a small second undercounter beverage refrigerator out of the traffic flow for teens and friends to grab beverages. There’s also a full-size, freestanding freezer. The two sinks—one double bowl plus a prep sink—give two chefs plenty of elbow room. And the two ovens provide plenty of firepower for large gatherings.

Kitchen conveniences

Corner space

The corner counter space behind the sink was put to good use with this customized butcherblock top. The knife storage area is enclosed below the countertop to prevent accidents. A utensil storage bin was recessed into the butcher block and can hold either pot scrubbers or often-used cooking utensils.

Spice rack

Easy-to-use storage was created by narrowing the shelves inside the cabinet by a few inches, then mounting an adjustable spice rack on the back of the cabinet door closest to the cooktop, right where a chef would want it.

Hidden TV

A swing-down flat panel TV is easily “taken out” and ‘put away’ as needed, and stays up and out of the way of spills.

Custom pot filler

The pot filler faucet above the stove saves mess and steps and allows the filling of large pots that wouldn’t otherwise fit under a conventional sink faucet.

Vertical storage

Storage for trays and cookie sheets was tucked into the sliver of space created by the corner sink and cabinet.

Hidden outlets

Electrical outlet strips mounted on the underside of the upper cabinets provide plenty of plug-ins for small appliances. A valance along the front edge of the cabinet helps conceal them.

Intelligent details, imaginative design and space-expanding conveniences make the kitchen easy to use and easy to clean up. Space that would ordinarily go to waste was given a purpose and put to work.