Small, But Not Scant

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Some designers would be inclined to view a kitchen renovation project in which the square footage remains static and all the existing floors, doors and windows are maintained as a mere pull-and-replace project that stilts or confines their creativity. But Amanda Johnson, project designer with Atlanta-based Small Carpenters at Large Inc.

August 01, 2006

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A quirky backsplash of Raku and Deserti tiles, decorative drawer pulls and cabinet knobs complement the clean lines and simplicity of the space. "These personal touches from the homeowner really pop out against the neutral elements," says Amanda Johnson.
After photos by Erica George Dines Photography

Some designers would be inclined to view a kitchen renovation project in which the square footage remains static and all the existing floors, doors and windows are maintained as a mere pull-and-replace project that stilts or confines their creativity. But Amanda Johnson, project designer with Atlanta-based Small Carpenters at Large Inc., knew that making this kitchen appear larger and more open — and also providing more storage and an eat-in area — would require keen due diligence and an exhaustive assessment of the clients' needs that is the hallmark of true invention.

"In a small space, inventory is crucial," she says. "If you don't ask the homeowners the right questions upfront, you can't guarantee there's a place for everything, and that everything's in its place. And in a space this size, you can't miss an opportunity."

The room was stripped down to the drywall and reframed, and the electrical and plumbing were brought up to code. Newly installed cabinetry, granite countertops and sleek appliances work in concert to modernize the space while keeping it simple, using lighting and backsplashes for accent.

Before

Additionally, because kitchen clutter is seemingly more noticeable and impairing in a smaller space, Johnson focused on taking any appliances and other items off of the counter to preserve workspace, most notably by creating built-ins for the microwave and the homeowner's collection of wine and cookbooks.

The price of this three-month project was just below $40,000.

"It's a challenge any time you have so many restrictions," Johnson says, "but it's a good challenge when it all comes together like it did in this project. You can achieve function, comfort and style without having to add space or deviate from budget." PR

 

Remodeler: Small Carpenters at Large Inc., Atlanta
Project location: Decatur, Ga.
Age of home: About 40-plus years
Scope of work: Renovate a 176-square-foot kitchen to provide better storage, a dining area and updated fixtures and appliances

Beyond Big Boxes

In kitchen projects, the urge to fill up every space with cabinets to solve storage problems comes instinctively. But, the key in this project wasn't quantity but quality, or rather the type and style of the cabinets, not the amount. All of the new upper cabinets were installed to ceiling height, which not only created 10-12 more inches of vertical storage space but also gives the illusion of a higher ceiling, which elongates the room and adds depth. And by concentrating more of the storage to the new pantry, Johnson was able to stay true to the established cabinet pattern without taking up space elsewhere — the only places cabinets were added was in the empty space adjacent to the dishwasher (where the microwave now sits) and the space next to the pantry, which serves as the mail center.


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Appliances: KitchenAid, Thermador. Cabinets: Lockwood Custom Furniture. Faucets: Delta. Lighting Fixtures: Halo. Paints & Stains: Duron. Millwork & Molding: Georgia-Pacific. Sinks: Elkay.

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