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Creating Spaces: Large house, but a small kitchen


I frequently talk about proportion and prime spaces. These seem to be the most important issues when remodeling to assure the finished project works with the existing house and the “feel” is right.

Traffic and views follow closely in items of importance. All of these items, when handled properly, make or break a home makeover.


This home was a large Colonial with an attached garage. The dining room (A) is more than half the depth of the house, while the living room (B) expands the entire depth.

A formal foyer (C) has a generous closet and a door (D) to keep the family room (E) private. A half bath (F) is centrally located.

The attached garage (G) connects to the house with a spacious mudroom (H) that is also the laundry room — a less than ideal concept if you ask me.

The kitchen (I) was small and confining with a peninsula, effectively trapping the cook. The range is right next to the refrigerator, making for little elbow room where it is needed most. This kitchen is also deceptively short of cabinets.

The dinette (J), adjacent to the kitchen, is also the path to the most desirable room in the house — the sunroom (K).

The homeowners explained that the sunroom is the place that everybody wants to be. They wanted to make a more significant connection between it and the rest of the house, especially the kitchen.

The type of elegant house this was should not have the washer and dryer in the entrance that the family members use every day. I suggested a separate laundry room and they loved the idea, but didn’t want an addition or to lose any part of the sunroom or garage. I told them I had an idea.


I turned the mudroom (H) into a more elegant family entrance (H) by just moving the laundry equipment out and adding built-in cabinets below the existing window.

I created the new laundry room (L) by claiming space from the existing kitchen (I). Plumbing was already there and the resulting room is a nice size.

The new kitchen (M) moved over to line up with the dining room (A) and these two spaces were combined  The new family entrance (H) steps into this dining area (N) that is no longer formal and now is highly functional. A decorative and practical cabinet (O) serves both the dining table and the eat-at kitchen island.

A three-door closet style pantry (P) eliminates the need for food storage cabinets in the kitchen and stores serving dishes, appliances and those bulk items from the big box store.

The kitchen (M) is very efficient with the appliances along one wall. The island is the main prep space, keeping the cook facing outward. Garbage and recycling bins stow under the island.

A large part of the wall between the kitchen and sunroom is opened up to create a real flow between the spaces, even during parties with lots of people.

Two low walls, terminated by decorative columns, in the corner (Q) of the kitchen are defining the space and making a perfect spot for a lounge chair and reading light. There is a visual and physical connection between the kitchen, family room and sunroom.

 Marcia Lyon is a professional remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing projects in Western New York and across the U.S. and Canada. Reach her by email: or call 515-991-1300.

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