Scrapping the Dining Room to Expand the Kitchen

DaytonCherry Russet

It’s a big undertaking to expand the size of one’s kitchen – let alone almost double it. But Illinois homeowner Debra was up for the challenge.

In a household bustling with teenagers, Debra realized that they hardly ever used their formal dining room, just adjacent to the kitchen. She and her husband decided to expand the kitchen by removing the wall separating the two rooms, and incorporating the old dining space into the kitchen.

Putting their heads together with CliqStudios designer Andrew Presley, they began brainstorming ideas to reconfigure the space. To make up for the lost dining room, they would incorporate more seating by the kitchen island. Debra envisioned farmhouse sink in her new island; the old sink would become a dedicated beverage bar.

But several questions were raised: Where would the appliances go? Was there a way to arrange the cabinets so they were more symmetrical? Would they have to re-do the window that went lower than their countertops?

They came to the right person for kitchen design ideas. Andrew started with the first issue: arranging the appliances. He started out by placing the cooktop at the far end of the room and looked at different configurations for the refrigerator.

“I wanted the appliances relatively close together to make for a compact and efficient working space,” he said. “We played with a lot of different choices for the refrigerator and ended up putting it where it could be close to the sink and the range.”

The kitchen before the space was expanded.
In the new kitchen, the refrigerator is placed where the wall used to be.
In the new kitchen, the refrigerator is placed where the wall used to be.

The second issue was slightly trickier. Debra and Andrew went back and forth several times trying to arrange the wall cabinets to be both functional and symmetrical. Eventually, they made it work. They did the same with a custom beverage bar, luxuriously fitted with symmetrical stacked glass towers, appliance garages, and wine bottle racks.

The last concern turned out to be the easiest. Rather than re-installing the window just so new countertops could be installed, Debra decided to incorporate a keepsake – an antique wooden chest – into her kitchen to create a DIY window bench. Debra provided the dimensions of the chest, and Andrew fit it snugly under the far window to create a small seating nook in a cozy corner of the kitchen.

As they got closer to finalizing the design, they double- and then triple-checked their kitchen measurements – an essential task, Andrew said, when you’re change a room’s architecture.

When the demolition dust cleared, the result was an impressive modern farmhouse kitchen complete with a subway tile backsplash, quartz countertops, a sliding pantry barndoor, and a new stainless steel range hood. The effort was definitely worth it.

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