A California family moves from plans to pancakes in four months flat with this colorful kitchen. By Susan Heeger
Five years ago, when interior designer Kristy Kropat and her husband, Martin, landed in a midcentury house in San Diego, they
had big ideas for its small kitchen. Much less big was their budget, already stretched by the price of the beach-close rancher
in a top school district. Time was tight, too: Kristy was pregnant and their first son about to turn one. Almost before the
ink dried on the deal, Kristy had measured the old kitchen, drawn up plans, and shopped fixtures. She and Martin agreed on
details for the room they saw as "the heart of the house": plenty of light, ample storage, and enough elbow room to cook together
with their children close by. Only four months after starting demolition, they had a large 10 × 16–foot space for cooking,
dining, and living.
It's flooded with light from windows, skylights, and recessed halogen ceiling squares that can be tipped in several directions.
Under-cabinet fluorescents focus on work areas.
Counter space abounds, not only near the sink and stove but also across the room so prep cooks can stay clear of the busy chef. Every item has its place, from a 3-inch-wide, counter-deep cabinet for cutting boards to capacious, slide-out drawers for sauté pans. Shelving add-ons like a corner cupboard's lazy Susan keep stored tools in easy reach, while glass-fronted upper cabinets are top-hinged for quick access to dinnerware.
Side-by-side pantries hold canned goods, pasta, and spices, with extra overhead room for baking sheets and small appliances.
Cookware and tools are easier to find inside deep drawers than in the dark corners of base cabinet shelves.
Kristy splurged on the 31×18–inch Blanco sink because it fits her style of doing dishes. ("I wash in one side, cold-rinse in the other.") At 13 inches deep, it can hide stacks of dirty dishes during dinner parties. And the single-lever Grohe faucet is a boon to the busy cook, who can backhand it on and off.
Kristy wanted simple wall-hung cabinets without molding or trim for a clean, modern look. Martin wanted deep drawers instead of shelving. Kraftmaid's Venicia line covered all their storage needs. Wrapping the edges in Caesarstone countertop material protects against nicks and scratches.
A gas stove was crucial to Martin, who often cooks dishes long-simmered on low. "Precise temperature control is key," he says.
Even heat is important, too. The Kenmore Elite range he and Kristy chose has a bridge burner and removable griddle—perfect
for pancakes, a family favorite.
For more design inspiration, check out the full list of resources for fixtures and appliances featured in this redo.