May 30, 2011

Let's Get Small - The Steve Martin Guide To Kitchen Remodeling

Let's get small - or at
least let's not get any bigger

So…earlier this week I gave a seminar on kitchen, bath, and living space remodeling.

It was very well attended and I’d like to thank each and every person that attended – thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…(umm, any Steve Martin fans out there?).

If you’re like most of the people we talked with, you’d have probably enjoyed the “before and after” segments the best. A couple of “ooos” and “ahhs” from the audience was proof of that!


The topic was about getting more livable area from your home without adding any new space - something that should be on the top of your list of concerns if you’re thinking about updating your home.

Kitchen and breakfast room - before and after

This project is a great example of that. The “before” plan shows a couple of problems with this awkward arrangement:
  • A small kitchen, buried in the center of the house
  • Three separate eating areas
  • A convoluted traffic pattern (how do you get to the dining room?)
  • Really poor lighting
  • Soffits compressing the space – making it feel small and dark
  • A great view of the backyard wasted

Floor plan before - and after

The space-planning solution is straightforward – combine the breakfast and dining rooms into one space; make the kitchen larger and move it to the back (solving the circulation problem and taking advantage of the great views); and open the dining room wall to the kitchen.

Three types of proper lighting including recessed cans (general lighting), pendants (decorative lighting), and undercabinet lights (task lighting) brighten things up considerably.

Kitchen and dining room - before and after

And of course new finishes and fixtures improve the function and give the remodeled spaces an updated, modern appeal.

Another designer might have suggested an addition to solve these basic planning issues, but lack of space wasn’t the problem – it was a lack of properly-planned space.

And what did the owners have to say? Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...



Need an expert Residential Architect to help with your new home or remodeling project? Contact Richard Taylor, AIA at RTA Studio.