She put a bird on it!


She put a bird on it!

March 1, 2013 in Kitchens, Latest News, Portfolio, by / 0 Comments
She put a bird on it!

I’m so thrilled to share the story of this recently completed kitchen addition in the Grant Park Neighborhood. This lovely home has great period details, but the original kitchen was no longer functioning very well. We brought it into the 21st century without losing its period charm. This is my favorite type of project… taking a small, challenged kitchen and turning it into a beautiful and functional place for friends and family to gather.

Does this kitchen look familiar? Small, dark and cramped…The base cabinets were not deep enough for a dishwasher, so it had to sit in the middle of the room.

The back half of the kitchen was divided up by a breakfast room, which was really wasted space…

…and the “stairs of death” that led to the back door and the basement. My poor client was afraid that one of her nephews was going to fall to his death on these stairs. Since she uses the back door for her main entry, this area needed to function as a mudroom as well.

The range was floating out in space with no cabinets or countertops nearby to aid in food prep.


Lighter, brighter, more functional. We kept the sink location and added new period-appropriate cabinets to conceal the dishwasher.

Panel-front dishwasher – my favorite for concealing this appliance and creating a more “period” look.

We moved the range to the sink wall to maximize counter space and storage.

A simple millwork range hood is in keeping with the original architecture of the home. Another one of my favorite tricks for concealing what can be a modern-looking appliance.

The client fell in love with these retro “Big Chill” appliances, and I have to say, I fell head-over-heels as well. She selected butter-yellow because it amps up the fun factor without getting too color-crazy!

Across from the range is the big chill refrigerator and pantry wall… the client doesn’t know what to do with all her new storage!

To the left of the refrigerator we created a double-decker appliance garage. The “bottom floor” houses countertop appliances like the toaster and mixer. Up above is the microwave. I like putting the microwave in a cabinet like this because it gets it out of the way, and you can use an inexpensive countertop microwave (vs. built-in). Both cabinets have retractable doors so you can hide the appliances.

By shifting the door to the hallway sightly, we made room for this full-height cabinet… only 12″ deep, but tons of extra storage. ┬áThe new cork floor blends nicely with the existing oak floors.

We removed the breakfast room to open up the space and added a peninsula bar instead. This creates a prep counter for the range and a gathering space for friends and family; in the kitchen but out of the way of the cook.  The panel to the far left conceals a cabinet for extra storage.

A small, six foot addition off the back of the kitchen provided the floor area necessary to build a safe and functional stairwell and back door mudroom area. We brought the back door up to the level of the kitchen for a better connection with the outdoors (instead of down a half-flight of stairs). A full-lite door and window add extra light. Finally, a bright and functional spot to drop your stuff when you come in the back door!

“Stairs of death” be gone!

The client fell in love with this whimsical glass mosaic tile backsplash from Ann Sacks. It was a splurge, but, as she told me, “Betsy, the heart wants what the heart wants!” This is Portland, after all – she had to put a bird on it!

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