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  • Lorey Cavanaugh

Working with Small Kitchens



You might think that I savor the opportunity to work on large kitchen projects. While being able to design and remodel a big kitchen is indeed fun, some of my greatest challenges, and consequently some of my favorite projects, are actually more modest in size. Being in New England, I get the chance to work on many older homes where kitchens were not seen as the gathering places they are now.

Many homes in West Hartford for example, have kitchens located at the back of the house where they were initially intended to be a minor player to the more formal dining and living rooms located at the front of the home. Remodeling these spaces to fit in with the lifestyle of today gives me a chance to stretch my design muscles and bring special features into the kitchen to give it a unique identity, as well as modern updates, while remaining true to the style of the home’s architecture.

Visually opening the space can be achieved through creative use of materials. Setting floor tile on a diagonal creates the illusion of a larger area; color splashes with tile make a bold statement yet are not overwhelming, and uncomplicated cabinetry styles lend a serene atmosphere along with looking clean and crisp. Even small kitchens can benefit from an island or peninsula, especially those that do double duty as a breakfast bar or baking/food prep area. Unique features such as island standoffs provide drama, height and extra usable space. Removing walls, moving doors and/or windows, or adding on to the existing floor plan all can make a huge difference even if the addition is only a few feet. It’s amazing the difference an extra 8 or 10 feet can make without dramatically changing the original footprint of the home. Though these projects may be more conservative in size, the resulting kitchens are truly “great rooms”.

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