Kitchen, Meet Dining Room
Opening up an old house ties together these important spaces.
Synopsis: Old houses have lots of appeal, but frequently, their interior spaces could do with a contemporary revision. For this home in Seattle, architect Nicole Starnes Taylor needed to unite the disconnected kitchen and dining room to make the kitchen the heart of the house. Awkwardly placed doors and circulation paths wasted 75% of the potentially useful space in the kitchen and dining room area; reclaiming unused space was a viable solution and also more cost-effective than a kitchen addition. The existing kitchen needed work: The cabinets were too close to the countertops, lighting was poor, and windows were badly located. In the dining room, the only logical place for a table placed the table in a circulation path through the room. Also, the windows were badly placed. By knocking down an unused chimney between the kitchen and dining room and also removing a number of doors, Taylor connected the rooms visually and physically. The removal of a mudroom off the kitchen allowed the installation of French doors that, along with a new window over the sink, bring in plenty of natural light. A peninsula between the rooms acts as a perch space and permits circulation between the two rooms.
Old homes are seductive. They charm us with their high ceilings, quiet plaster walls, solid-oak floors, painted wood trim, and scale and proportion that for many of us says “home.” I think this is why so many century-old homes in Seattle, where I work, have dodged the wrecking ball and continue to be patched, remodeled, and loved. The one consistent albatross in these sweet old homes, however, is the kitchen.
The floor plan in this 1926 house was typical for the era, with the living room, dining room, and kitchen all stacked along one side of the house. The existing kitchen…