When Erin and Eric Smith moved into their home, the kitchen definitely needed remodeling. The space lacked functional storage, and the existing pinkish-colored cabinets were literally disintegrating inside. Even though the house was set-up for a downdraft range*, the installed range was standard, leaving the Smiths with no cooktop venting whatsoever.

The couple had always considered this house more of a “starter house”; knowing that they would probably move on in a few years. Therefore, they wanted to remodel on a tight budget, keeping resale value in mind. In terms of style, the kitchen had to be neutral enough to attract a broad audience but still appeal to the owners’ contemporary tastes.

Erin and Eric are tall, 5’-10” and 6’-3” respectively, so the upper cabinets between the kitchen and dining room presented a problem. The Smiths would constantly have to duck to see across to the other side of the room. We took out those cabinets, which allowed the room to feel so much bigger and more open. We made up for the lost storage by capturing the space beneath the unused eating bar.

We meticulously planned the rest of the Ikea cabinets to maximize storage and functionality. With their old kitchen, the Smiths struggled to find space for all the items they needed. Not anymore! Erin told me that once they completely unpacked into the new kitchen, she actually had one cupboard that remained empty!

Good design allows people to live better lives and can make cooking fun. Since the installation of their new kitchen, the couple has been experimenting with many new and healthy recipes. I think I should invite myself over for dinner!

Photos by Tom Marks

(*A downdraft range is just like a normal stove/oven appliance, but instead of having a vent hood overhead, it has a suction fan in the range itself that pulls air downward through a vent in the floor.)