Space of the Week: A Cramped Kitchen Turns into a Storage-Filled Haven

Unique Kitchens and Baths used warm hues and a sleek range hood to revamp this Maryland family kitchen.

White White Kitchen with Sunny Window over sink and wooden island

Unique Kitchens and Baths

Nothing reads early 2000s like orange wood cabinetry. When a family in Severna Park, Maryland, moved into their two-story 1970s home in 2018, they knew they’d be renovating the kitchen. The tightly packed, dysfunctional space lacked natural light and its aesthetic left a lot to be imagined. Plus, with three growing boys, they were aiming for a “lighter and brighter look that would still allow for ample storage without overloading the space with wall cabinets,” says Tanya Smith-Shiflett, owner of Unique Kitchens and Baths. Besides the couple’s love of cooking and entertaining, the kitchen was used for homework, arts and crafts, and family activities, which had to be accounted for in the renovation.

The original kitchen had both an island and peninsula, which made the long, narrow layout feel that much more compact. While the square footage didn’t change, it’s the design elements like the flush range hood, open shelving, built-in beaded cabinetry, and custom table that take the room from old-fashioned to sophisticated. “We also added a larger window over the main sink,” Smith-Shiflett says. Over a quick, three-month span, she collaborated with interior designer Amanda Chando of Details and Design to give the family a timeless upgrade.

While dark cabinetry was a no-go, the homeowners still wanted warmth, which was achieved through Shaker-style cabinetry painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Pure White and an island crafted from stained, quarter-sawn oak that looks like a piece of furniture and features cleverly concealed storage. “The wood island grounds the space, while everything else remains clean and light,” Smith-Shiflett says. Furthermore, they created “layers of color and texture” with marble countertops, brass hardware, a polished nickel Brizo faucet, and handcrafted Lostine fixtures.

When it came to deciding on a range hood, Smith-Shiflett came up with a unique solution, one which she is seeing more clients opt for in their own kitchens. “One of the tricky things is that a hood takes up space so we integrated an exhaust hood into the trusses,” she says. “It was our first time using one and we love it. The goal was to eliminate any heavy distractions. From the countertop up, we wanted everything to feel light with beautiful textures and finishes.” The flush hood not only allows for more headspace but also adds a modern edge to the otherwise traditional motif.

To make the kitchen even more functional for the family’s everyday needs, mitered, natural stone floating shelves and a pair of slim, glass-inset cabinets now surround the range. “We didn’t want to do any wall cabinets at first but they were adamant,” Smith-Shiflett recalls. While the shelves were styled for the photoshoot, they’ve become the go-to spot for bowls and plates. “She wanted it to be her open work area so she can quickly serve her kids at mealtime,” she adds.

From dated to dynamic, the kitchen is now a space the whole family can enjoy, whether it be sitting down for dinner, spending quality time together, or hosting friends.

Bright white kitchen with white paneled wall and sconces above sideboard

Unique Kitchens and Baths

Get the Look:

In a kitchen, the lighting can make all the difference. Here are a few light fixtures to brighten the room.

Stella Sconce from Lostine in the color Espresso Brown.

Simple Sconce

Add a pop of color to your space with this wall sconce from Lostine. The leather shade comes in a variety of colors to match your space.

Sarah Ceiling Fixture from Lostine.

Cozy Ceiling Light

This head-turning light fixture is perfect for creating a cozy kitchen atmosphere. The white diffuser underneath evenly distributes the light, and the eyelets around the side create a peek-a-boo effect.

Cesta Large Linear Chandelier from Visual Comfort & Co.

Linear Chandelier

Linear lighting is the way to go when selecting fixtures for above a kitchen table or island. A timeless look provides optimal lighting that will never go out of style.

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