From a one-of-a-kind kitchen island to clever storage solutions throughout, we answered all of these couple’s design dilemmas — and provided ample space to host a crowd.
The timing ended up being a nightmare, but these homeowners were truly a dream to work with.
Not knowing what was to come, our crews began demolition in February of 2020. So when everything shut down just a couple weeks later, this poor family’s kitchen was in limbo for months. Even once we were cleared to continue work, safety protocols and trades falling ill kept progress painfully slow.
The silver lining? These empty nesters had an RV to live in while their primary home was a construction zone.
Though the timeline was longer than any of us hoped, we were proud to deliver their dream kitchen — designed specifically for their love of cooking and entertaining. And, after enduring a pandemic-era renovation, what better gift than a space created for gathering everyone you love most?
Keep reading to see all the details and design solutions that make this kitchen a home-cook-and-entertainer’s dream…
Priority #1: Updating the layout to give this Lafayette, CA kitchen a little breathing room
Like many houses built in the 1970s, this home’s layout was broken up into small spaces — not at all ideal for entertaining. Initially, the front door opened into a small dining room at the front of the house, with the kitchen in the room beyond.
Not only did this leave gatherings feeling disjointed with guests sequestered in separate spaces, but it left the hosts divided: one in the kitchen, prepping dinner and drinks, one in the front room keeping guests company.
Plus, the lack of proper entry or closet space meant guests were immediately subjected to a jumbled pile of shoes and purses (not to mention oft-missing keys).
In the existing kitchen beyond, a small footprint meant a lack of storage and usable counter space. The homeowners brought in a vintage armoire in an attempt to corral cookware, but this only took up precious floor space and created a Jenga-like experience every time they needed to find a pan or baking sheet.
Our goals for this kitchen redesign? Expand and organize.
First things first: reconfiguring the spaces to optimize traffic flow and maximize entertaining space.
We knew our key objective was to create a kitchen designed for cooking and hosting a crowd. This meant:
Opening up the layout and sightlines so everyone can stay connected
Creating a better place to welcome guests and provide storage to keep clutter at bay
Maximizing both storage and surface areas
Separating cooking and prep zones from the entertainment spaces, while still keeping everyone together.
So we opened up the walls to give us a bigger footprint, then designed specific zones to handle every need in one open space.
A welcoming entry
We needed to create a warm welcome right from the start, and incorporate clever storage solutions so it didn’t feel like a jumbled mudroom.
A half wall, trimmed and painted to match the cabinetry, creates a visual barrier and a separation of space while still keeping sight lines clear. It also provides the perfect perch for keys, while shelves below provide storage space for shoes.
A gathering space
Next, guests are free to find a comfy spot to sip a glass of wine and connect with the hosts — either perched on the window bench seat or at the large central island. Not only is it beautiful, but this custom live-edge island is personal — the slab was salvaged from a fallen redwood tree on the homeowners’ other property up north.
An abundance of room to cook and prep
We wanted to not only give these homeowners better traffic flow and more room to gather, but more functionality. As every home cook knows, prep spaces and serving spaces need to be kept separate, or chaos ensues.
(For these self-described “messy cooks”, this is especially true. They confided that they had wrecked more than one iPad with cooking spills over the years…)
By keeping the cooking spaces on the perimeter, we ensure the clutter of meal prep stays away from the entertainment zones. This way, both can peacefully coexist side by side, but without interrupting one another.
A beautiful, welcoming kitchen
Good design never ends with function alone. We wanted this space to be warm, inviting, and beautiful, too. The perfect shade of blue-green on the cabinetry draws guests in without making the space too dark. Its cool tone also provides the perfect contrast to the stunning oranges and browns swirling in the redwood island top.
While the space is mostly angular and geometric, we added some softness with curves in the faucets, pendant lighting, and counter stools.
A skylight ensures plenty of natural light, while a large opening just above the sink looks into the new dining room beyond. This way, even if they do want to host more formal dinners, the chef is always connected to their guests.
In this custom Lafayette, CA kitchen remodel, we made storage functional and beautiful
Remember the teetering stack of bakeware? No more.
Clever storage solutions abound in this new kitchen layout. A mix of deep drawers and cabinets ensure every pot, pan, and gadget has the perfect home and is easily accessible. We even created a designated charging drawer for all of their tech — so those iPads can be at hand without falling victim to more cooking spills.
And because these homeowners have a large collection of cookbooks and some beautiful serveware, we mixed in open shelving and glass-front cabinets for display.
Lastly, to maximize every inch of storage space, we nestled custom drawers under the window bench.
While it took longer than we hoped, these homeowners agree: their custom Lafayette, CA kitchen renovation was worth the wait
These clients were an absolute joy to partner with. They had patiently endured a dated kitchen that undermined their hosting efforts for years, and we were eager to deliver a space that was every bit as warm, welcoming, and beautiful as they are.
In the end, we created a custom kitchen solution that gave them the space they craved for welcoming guests and creating memories with everyone they love.