Kitchen Remodeling Ideas and Tips

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

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

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Design decisions

Sometimes there’s just one big impetus behind a kitchen remodel: 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?

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

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

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.

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