Photo: Dave Lauridsen
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.