Empty nesters’ kitchen renovation solves space problems with custom cabinetry and clever planning.
By Annie Lee MacDonald
Augustine Cove, Prince Edward Island
How often do you get a chance to plan the same kitchen twice? My husband and I did just that a few years ago, designing my dream kitchen in the house we’d built many years before on our potato farm. And I love it every bit as much today as the day it was finished!
Now empty nesters, Elmer and I had been married only about five years when we built our home. Between an overwhelming process and an underwhelming budget, we ended up with a kitchen that was functional but not exactly user-friendly.
My expectations for a kitchen renovation were high. I wanted our kitchen to be comfy yet elegant, with cupboards that looked like furniture. I wanted to emphasize the large open area where friends and family like to gather. And I didn’t want guests to see a lot of kitchen clutter. In short, I wanted a kitchen that looked and felt like the heart of our home. After getting my thoughts for the kitchen renovation on paper, a custom cabinetmaker sat down with me and helped us design a one-of-a-kind kitchen.
To start, we chose an angled island that’s topped with granite, featuring an under-mounted sink for a seamless appearance. The angle means guests don’t see the dishwasher, yet I can unload it without taking a single step. Dishes go in the large pull-out drawer nearby while glasses go in the cupboard above.
We encased the stove in wood for a distinctive look, with a mantel overhead and cupboards on both sides. It turned out better than I could have imagined!
But my favorite feature of the kitchen renovation is the walk-in baking center in the corner. It’s a complete work area that houses all my electrical appliances, cookbooks and baking supplies on open shelves, with cabinets underneath. The area is completely accessible by opening two cabinet doors, or closed off from view by shutting them.
I’m also fond of the display cabinet opposite, which holds pewter, vintage glassware and other family treasures. Directly underneath is a special drawer with the innards of a silver chest. I used to store my sterling silver in a chest in another room, so I seldom used it. Now it’s readily available.
Our antique cherry plank flooring resists marking, and its color variations tie together the different woods throughout. The cupboards are a glazed and stained birch; beadboard backs the open shelves and accents the island.
The walls in both the kitchen and the family room were painted to match the background of the Irish shamrock print on my valances and drapes. Because Elmer and I both like wood carvings, we display several birds native to Prince Edward Island. A huge blue heron stands looking out the window toward the Northumberland Strait and a creek flowing toward it.
Now it’s not just our guests enjoying pre-dinner conversation, the warmth of our Vermont Castings propane stove or the sunlight pouring through our south windows. I have to say, the results of this kitchen renovation were well worth the wait!