We’re welcoming designer Krista Lewis today, who turned our head’s with an amazing makeover in our May issue. The talented Krista (of K. Lewis Design in Little Rock) walks us through the ideas that lead to the big transformation of a 1970s kitchen and family room. Here’s what she began with:
Krista: When Kyle and Robyn Allmendinger first gave me a tour of the house that they were considering, I knew that we could create a great gathering space for their family from the series of small rooms at the back of the house. I could tell that the overall space available would be large enough, once the walls were knocked out and the rooms were rearranged, to accommodate their family, and be the comfortable heart of the home that they hoped for. It was definitely an untouched gem, and that meant we could start from scratch.
The first task was defining the existing problems and creating a vision for what Kyle and Robyn wanted this space to be. The biggest problem that I saw with the space was the awkward access to the beautiful rock spa and pool. We had to walk through the laundry room to get the backyard. I also thought that it was very important that the view from the front door, which looked straight into the laundry room door, had to improve. The kitchen and breakfast room felt cramped and dark. Robyn and Kyle both wanted an open, airy space that was comfortable, functional, and allowed easy access to the back patio and the pool. They also wanted the den to be open to the kitchen.Â Â (Here’s what the floorplan looked like before):
After taking detailed measurements, I got to work sketching new floor plan options that would solve the problems addressed above. I started sketching possible solutions that required the least changes to the existing structure first.
In floor plan option 1, I kept wall, door and window changes to a minimum. I kept all existing doors and windows in place, but changed one single door to a French door. The full wall separating the den from the kitchen became a half wall to open the two spaces up to one another. The laundry room was eliminated completely. It would be included in the upstairs renovations where all of the bedrooms were located. The basic layout of the kitchen cabinets remained the same. I created a large opening with pocket doors between the formal living room and the den to further open up the house. I sketched some furniture layout options for the den to determine whether or not the scale of the space was correct.
In floor plan option 2, I made many more changes. I removed the door to the backyard from the den. I added French doors to the breakfast area in the kitchen and two new matching windows in the kitchen area. Again, the laundry room was removed, but this time the wall separating the den from the rest of the kitchen area was removed as well. Open traffic flow from the kitchen to the den was created at both sides of a custom banquette and oval kitchen table. The existing step down into the den delineates the two separate rooms. An entirely new cabinet layout that incorporates a long island with seating was designed. I created a beverage center with a small sink, beverage fridge, and ice maker and an angled corner cabinets to house the microwave and a small desk area. All of these changes improved the flow, function and views from every angle. I really liked where this plan was going. I kept the opening between the den and formal living room, and continued to try new furniture layouts in the den.
In floorplan option 3, I thought I should try a few more ideas that might be more cost efficient. I tried a different cabinet layout that would accommodate the existing windows and footprint of the kitchen. If a solution incorporating the existing footprint could be found, the existing wood floors could possibly be salvaged and refinished. This effort did provide more cabinet space than the existing plan as well as an open, connected den, but didnât have the same effect as floor plan option 2. The biggest problem I had with this option as well as floor plan option 1 is that the view from the front entry became the ice maker, small sink and beverage fridge. I didnât think that would be the best first impression.Â Â Â
After much consideration, we decided to proceed with floor plan option 2. I further tweaked the plans by adding a built in bookshelf behind the banquette, creating a larger pantry space and flipping the locations of the beverage center and the built in desk. Once Robyn selected a large range with double ovens, the wall ovens were no longer necessary. I reworked the furniture layout in the den one final time, and the plans were perfect. The plan as installed today functions beautifully. It is a comfortable space to be in, and a great place to experience the views outside.
The end results:
(photography by Nancy Nolan)
You can see the rest of the transformation of the Allmendinger’s home here.