In the first installment of Design Solutions Spotlight we looked a Small Kitchen Renovation that was budget conscious. The final design stayed within the existing walls and the major mechanical systems did not change.

In this Blog we will look at how that same kitchen could be redesigned if two walls were removed and the kitchen was opened up to the rest of the living space.

We will once again focus on functional solutions for the redesigned of this space.

If you would like to view a video that discusses this kitchen design, you can pop over to our VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN Facebook page and view “Design Solutions Spotlight: Episode 2”. Don’t forget to Like and Follow us when you visit!

Kitchen Before

This small kitchen layout is one that is found in many older homes.

When deciding to renovate and update a kitchen like this, many Kitchen Designers will choose to remove the walls adjacent to the dining room and living room for an open concept space.

This gives the kitchen designer many options for designing a functional family friendly space.

Let’s look at what we came up with.

Expanded Kitchen Layout

With the walls removed the kitchen can be designed to accommodate an island. This is a great since a kitchen island is the #1 asked for element for a new kitchen by homeowners.

Additional renovations implemented for this design included expanding the kitchen window and closing in the door to the outside. A new set of French Doors were added in the dining space to access an exterior deck.

With the structure configured it was time to develop the layout.

First the Work Zones were plotted in the space, including the Food Storage Zone, The Prep Zone, the Cooking Zone, the Serving Zone, and the Clean-up Zone.

Each zone was then developed and accessorized for optimum functionality.

The Food Storage Zone

The Food Storage zone was placed between the expanded kitchen window and the new French doors. It included s 36” wide refrigerator and a 36” wide pantry.

By specifying the pantry the same width as the refrigerator, all the upper cabinet doors in this section were made the same size. Two wide pilaster gables either side of the refrigerator and the pantry define this area.

The pantry was fitted with an accessory called a “Chef’s Pantry”. This accessory is ideal for the cook that stores a variety of food stuffs.

Through a system of swiveling shelves individual items can be stored and easily found. You do not need to remove items from the front of a deep shelf to get to the items stored in the back.

There are shallow shelves placed on all four doors of the pantry for storage of smaller items.

To take advantage of the deep upper cabinet above the refrigerator it was fitted with a set of vertical dividers. Even though this is not a specific food storage accessory it takes advantage of that space and houses a multitude of trays, cookie sheets, muffin tins, cutting boards and misc. narrow items.

The Prep Zone

The main Prep Zone in this design is placed under the expanded window and includes a prep sink. The natural light that would stream on to this counter makes it an ideal Prep Zone location.

To add to the functionality of this space the following interior cabinet accessories were included.

The upper drawer to the right of the prep sink is fitted with an angled spice holder and a utensil divider. This drawer will organize utensils and small condiments needed during food preparation.

Under the sink a pullout bin for compost waste is specified. This trash can is an ideal choice because it has a charcoal filter in the lid to help keep odors at bay.

In the area directly in front of the prep sink a tilt-front accessory was included in the false drawer front for storage of vegetable scrubbers.

To organize condiments in the Prep Zone a pullout was included in the narrow cabinet to the left of the prep sink.

To see some additional examples of condiment storage ideas for kitchens check out “The Best Condiment Storage Ideas for Your Kitchen Designs”.

The drawer above this condiment pullout is dedicated to knife storage featuring a wooden block fitted to the drawer size.

Together all these accessories make for a very functional food prep area.

The Cooking Zone

The center of the Cooking Zone is a pro styled 36” gas range. The decorative hood above it produces a focal point at this end of the kitchen.

The upper cabinets either side of the range were purposely designed to all be the same width. This produces a nice balance on this wall and does not detract from the hood.

To the left of the range is a set of deep drawers for pots & pans and to the right is blind corner unit.

For easy access to supplies, the drawers in this area were fitted with inserts for cooking utensils and cooking spices.

The blind corner includes a set of “1/2 Susan” pullout baskets to access the back corner of this cabinet. This accessory was chosen because it is a corner accessory that pulls out without coming into contact with the range.

The Clean-up Zone

The Clean-up Zone is located on the island. It centers around the main sink with the dishwasher to the left and a large recycling center to the right.

The expansive countertop area also allows the island to work as a secondary prep area for an additional 2 cooks.

Some great interior accessories were chosen for the Clean-up Zone.

Under the sink a set of U-shaped pullouts organize cleaning supplies. On either side of the sink, 2 narrow cabinets provide a place to dry tea towels.

The recycle center includes two large pullout bins and the drawer above it is divided for trash bags and food wraps.

The Serving Zone

A built-in hutch and banquette were designed for the opposite side of the room.

The hutch provides all the storage needs for the Serving Zone such as plates, glasses, mugs, cutlery, china, serving dishes and table linens.

The deep drawers under the banquette are ideal for infrequently used items or children’s toys.

To keep the cutlery organized the top two drawers in the base cabinet include wooden dividers and the middle two are fitted with silverware holders and special silverware covers.

To ensure the functionality of this Kitchen Design ample work aisle clearances were maintained throughout.

The informal dining bar on the island easily accommodates 4 and the dining table can expand to comfortably sit six dinners.

With the functionality of the room developed the designer can now easily layer on the decorative elements and chose the finishes to reflect the décor style desired by the homeowner.

Hopefully this kitchen design shows you the possibilities of including functionality to an open concept redesign.

If you have an example of a functional space that you have design I would love to see it. Post a pic in the comments below.

Stay tuned for additional DESIGN SOLUTION SPOTLIGHT kitchen explorations to inspire you in your Kitchen Designs.

Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.
Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.

Jan Rutgers is a Professional Kitchen Designer with more than 25 years experience. During her career she has deigned over 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! She is the founder of VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

2 Comments on “Design Solutions Spotlight: Expanding a Small Kitchen

  1. This post is super helpful, I will definitely be referring back to this often. I am looking to expand my kitchen to accommodate a large dining room table for my kids who are having kids and whatnot. You know grandparent life. As soon as our dumpster rental arrives we will get started!

    • That’s great Quinci,
      You will have to send me pics of the completed project!

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