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Kitchen 188 Gallery

PROBLEM: Family-oriented homeowners, with nearby children and grandchildren, are seeking spatial reconfiguration to 1980’s center hall colonial production house that will better serve an extended family that frequents the house regularly. Existing rear-of-the-house suite—which includes a 12’ x 20’ builder-grade kitchen, family room peninsula and a compartmentalized dining room accessible from the kitchen through a narrow door—is too dark and cramped, plainly lacking the space and comfort desired for family gatherings. Among other requirements, owners want to be able to host dinner parties with up to 30 guests. Traditional 8’ ceilings, compounded by a lack of visual linkage to a lovely wooded setting that surrounds the home, reinforce a “boxed-in” perception. Owners want to open up the house in all directions– creating higher ceilings where feasible, introducing an open floor plan and strengthen visual continuum in two directions: a) within the rear suite itself and b) from the house to the wooded setting. Other items in the owner’s program include: gas range cooking capability (existing is electric only); dramatically upgraded interior with high-function, energy-efficient appliances; floor plan with well-delineated “work zones” that allows the cook to attend to kitchen needs while easily interacting with family and guests; significant increase in kitchen storage capacity; new “gathering zones” replete with electronic entertainment; gas-fired fireplaces; aesthetically-pleasing appointments STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES Although the revised floor plan calls to incorporate adjacent unused 13’ x 24’ den situated between the kitchen and family room. Hence, the den which features a cathedral ceiling and bay window. We removed a baring wall between the den and kitchen, also installed a French door and more windows to achieve more lighting for the kitchen and family room. SOLUTIONS Primary tasks are: a) create floor plan that provides a well-rationalized connectivity between the kitchen, family room dining room and den; b) Develop structural solutions that allow for the removal of designated interior and exterior load bearing walls and provide the framework for a completely reconfigured open floor plan; c) Engineer a system of structural supports needed to tie off den to family room and kitchen. Plan must include: a) substantial upgrade of interior design scheme within vastly enlarged space; b) a cook top island with gas range; c) new porcelain tile flooring; d) larger, more efficient appliances; e) a 40% to 50% increase in kitchen storage capacities; f) clearly zoned “gathering places” and “work triangles”; g) well-articulated interior detailing. EXECUTION Since the new east-facing den links to both the family room and the kitchen, structural changes entailed removing, respectively, 14’ and 24’ of rear elevation as needed to create access to the existing house from two directions. Steel beams with vertical supports were inserted to carry loads at both intervals. To better circulation between the kitchen and the dining room, the builder removed a section of interior kitchen wall—again, inserting a horizontal microlam and vertical steel shafts. The existing gas line was extended to the kitchen as needed for the cooktop on the new food preparation island and for a 2nd fireplace in the den. Plumbing was also routed to the location of a new prep sink. Interior detailing includes glazed cherrywood cabinetry; a family room fireplace with marble mantles; a recessed niche with built-ins for TV and VCR; a new corner gas fireplace; recessed lighting; crown moldings and dentils
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