Northwest Garage Conversion
The client felt that the existing kitchen was cramped, people get under foot and was lacking in storage and counter space. They desired a more open floor plan with a large entertaining kitchen where the chef could be protected and yet still be integral to the conversations happening. With a young family, they wanted the kitchen to be large enough to allow kids to do homework under a watchful eye and the family to reconnect after long days. Having the new space connect to the exterior with more than just windows was important as well.
Functionally, the existing house had ample space to accommodate the needs; however, the layout was a rabbit warren of rooms. By removing the wall that separated the garage from the main first floor space, we were able to expand the living level without radically changing the footprint. This also allowed us a more open floor plan, much more conducive to entertaining and today’s standard of family living. The old kitchen space is now used as a mud room and the staircase to the basement is opened up with a railing matching the existing rail. The kitchen itself is an open plan with a center island as the heart of the room. The chef is protected and yet in the center of things with no one under foot. The kids now have room to do homework and interact with the parents at either the table or the island. Multi-level lighting installed on dimmers allows for both general and task lighting. A twelve foot set of sliding French doors blend outdoors and indoors.
Aesthetically, the kitchen is a success and captured the owner’s desire for a contemporary style. The cabinetry along the walls is balanced with tall cabinetry, housing the appliances, flanking the center counter space and range. The island houses the sink and dishwasher. The rich cherry wood is contrasted with the pale blue combination of cabinetry—both are tied together with a consistent color of counter. The contemporary feel is supported with the waterfall counter on the island and the slab door and drawer heads.
The biggest challenges to this project proved to be the opening up of the structural wall between the house and the garage, supporting the staircase landing in the process and the level change this would necessitate. A structural steel beam would support the landing and upper floors while wide wooden steps allowing one to glide into the new space created a graceful flow between old and new. Tying the older style of the house to the newer style of kitchen at the old garage door went through a variety of design iterations before a curved metal roof and a square “bay” proved to be the most successful and functional solution.