Design Layout: Using a Kitchen Addition to Bring People Together
There is no greater joy for Alice than the joy of cooking in a kitchen surrounded by friends and family. An avid canner, baker, and cook, Alice hosts a book club at her home monthly. Her kitchen area, however, was small in her Herndon home; preparation space limited and space for easy conversation between her and those at the dinner table was crammed and uncomfortable. Alice and her family dreamed of one day having a kitchen with enough space to tend to cooking needs while being able to host a variety of group sizes to include their kitchen space.
When their family came to Sun Design they were seeking that vision. The design team sat down with floorplan in hand and began envisioning the new space.
To start, Alice needed more preparation space and storage. She needed a larger island for working on as her main hub when cooking with others present. This meant also creating more space for others to be in the kitchen with her without being in the path of cooking. An obvious deterrent for interconnectedness was a knee wall between the kitchen and the living area. In addition, the living area had a sunken floor.
How were we to give Alice more room, while giving her family and guests more space as well? Knocking out the knee wall was simple enough, but we had to go further to really integrate the spaces – we had to raise the living room floor to be level with the rest of the kitchen area. In this way, if guests chose to spend their time in the living room, they weren’t disconnected from Alice’s presence in the kitchen. It would also enhance the size of the family room, making the space feel larger for those within it.
This alone was not her family’s full vision. They wanted space – and lots of it! They shared with us that their greater intentions were to expand the kitchen back into unused deck space. Their vision embraced an extra 8’ of kitchen space to the rear of the home. This was going to take some architectural know-how.
A two-story home, taking only the kitchen back on the main level proposed structural issues for holding up the second floor and roof. Our design team began exploring the best options for this massive addition.
Part of the true cohesion of the new kitchen vision was how seamlessly it integrated with the rest of the main floor, as if it was always a part of the home since its creation. To enhance the size of the space the design team decided to take out the entire back wall of the kitchen area and insert a 25’ long steel beam in the ceiling to take its place. This enabled the kitchen to be extended an additional 8’ while still supporting the rear structure of the upper floor.
BEFORE/AFTER of Addition
Small details were also added, customizing their kitchen for Alice’s specific needs. A double sink was installed – each sink large enough for a full baking sheet to be placed inside them. The hardwood flooring was replaced along the first floor, and extra storage space was incorporated with an enlarged pantry and additional cabinetry.
As an added bonus to the addition, more natural lighting comes into the home through the added windows along the wall of the kitchen and in the living room, as well as the the new sliding glass door location.
Their kitchen is now a bright, spacious place of gathering for Alice’s family, friends and neighbors to all enjoy. “We can actually have two people cooking, kids doing homework, and someone else warming up food with no more traffic jams.” Alice told us, “We love it!”
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I remember my childhood home. A typical split-foyer found in almost any Northern Virginia neighborhood built between the 50s and 80s. I remember scaling the upper level railing, hanging over the foyer, as I played Barbie and pretending to be falling off the “cliff” during – what I referred to as – my jungle Barbie…
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