Better Homes and Gardens Book Publication: Small Kitchen Solutions, 2011


Point Loma, CA


Chapter 3: Open Horizons


John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011


Ed Gohlich

The walls are coming down in today’s kitchens. The open plan concept, where the kitchen flows into a dining room or family room, is a big boon to a small space. Suddenly, a tight-fit kitchen seems bigger and more livable. But it’s not just about gaining square footage – real or perceived.
Connectivity is driving the trend toward openness. As the homeowners of these featured kitchens discovered, a wide-open room encourages mingling with family members and makes it easier to accommodate guests who inevitably end up in the kitchen.

How far you want to take it is up to you. Simply removing a bank of upper cabinets that
blocks the view into a dining area can make your kitchen more welcoming.Widening a narrow doorway has a similar effect, allowing cooks to savor some semi-privacy. The main thing is to open yourself up to the possibilities so you can make an informed decision about what works best for your home and your lifestyle.

Tailored for Today
An era-sensitive addition brings a family of four together in their kitchen.

It’s amazing what the right kitchen can do for a home – and a family. Sherri Teague discovered that when she and her husband, Richard, added on to their San Diego home to gain a better-functioning kitchen and a bit more living space. After making do with a cramped one-cook kitchen in their 1920s Tudor-style home, the couple and their two children finally had a welcoming gathering hub. “Our new kitchen has a come-and-hang-out feel,” Sherri says. “My husband can be cooking dinner, our twins can be doing homework or art projects at the peninsula, and I can be making cupcakes for a school fund-raiser – all at the same time.”
The Teagues’ newfound quality time didn’t require a lot of quantity. By today’s standards, the kitchen is still modestly sized. The room’s long narrow shape is reminiscent of the home’s original galley-style kitchen, but the two spaces couldn’t be more different. The old kitchen was an introvert that kept the cook isolated. The new kitchen is an extrovert; it’s all about openness and mingling. Instead of an interior wall, a peninsula is the only separation between the kitchen and adjoining dining room that flows into a family room.

While the open plan makes the kitchen seem larger, windows that let in abundant natural light play a space-enhancing role too. “We wanted great light and windows on both sides of the room to look out over the gardens,” Sherri says. French doors and transom windows in the adjoining dining room draw in even more light and also allow a wide view to the backyard.

For the Teagues, a modern kitchen didn’t mean sacrificing character.
“We absolutely love the details of older homes,” Sherri says. Architects Ione R. Stiegler and Project Manager Joseph Reid, both experienced in historic preservation, took care to blend the addition with the original part of the home. Arches – seen in a niche above the range and dining room doorway – play off the shape of the home’s windows. The kitchen’s tray ceiling replicates the ceiling that was in the original dining room. Schoolhouse pendants and a farmhouse sink lend vintage charm. “Our greatest challenge was finding the right materials that fit the couple’s needs and the style of the home,” Reid says.

The soapstone countertops that are one of Sherri’s favorite features fill the bill. They’re durable, low maintenance, and period appropriate. “Soapstone was used quite frequently in homes built around the same time as this house, and it works perfectly with the white subway tile backsplash,” Reid says. “The soapstone is one of the room’s most stunning features.” Equally eye-catching is the reproduction range Sherri found by searching the Internet. “I wanted something that looked old but functioned perfectly,” she says.

These days, Sherri says pretty much everything in her kitchen is working perfectly – and looking better than she imagined it could. The space is so inviting that the family no longer makes a beeline out of it as soon as the dishes are done. “Our kitchen is definitely like a second family room,” Sherri says.