A Dark & Dated Kitchen Gets a Second Chance

published Nov 1, 2016
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Project by: Julie China of Idea Space Architecture + Design
Location: Maplewood, New Jersey

The wood paneling, formica countertops and dated finishes of this New Jersey kitchen are nothing uncommon to older homes, but they were no longer working for a family of four. Designer Julie China of Idea Space Architecture + Design came on board to open up the space and give it a welcomed refresh.

From Julie:

With two young children and a modest floor plan, this Maplewood, New Jersey, home bustles with activity. Untouched for decades, the current owners sought out Idea Space to rethink the scale of the spaces on the first floor, most importantly that of the home’s kitchen. The clients’ driving desires behind the renovation was to create access to their backyard via the kitchen while introducing a space where the family of four could gather for meals.

Idea Space quickly realized that the footprint of the kitchen needed to be expanded to allow for the desired elements while simultaneously creating a bright, open, airy space with comfortable paths of travel when navigating the room. Therefore, the existing wall between the over-scaled dining room and old kitchen was removed and relocated, increasing the footprint of the new kitchen. This additional floor space paved the way for an island with seating. The door and wall to the basement was also removed to open up the space, exposing more natural light by incorporating an unutilized window and providing good flow to the downstairs playroom.

With the addition of an exterior glass door leading to the backyard and new wood deck, daylight now filters into the space on all three sides of the kitchen. Adjacent to this new door, a mudroom area and tack space serves as a place where the kids can easily remove their shoes and stow away their scarves. A color scheme based in cool blue grays and white is contrasted by a warm reclaimed wood island, which relates to the home’s original oak moldings. A touch of yellow was introduced as a fun, quirky element in the barstools and the light fixture cords reflecting the client’s spirited, youthful personalities.


Thank you for sharing this project with us, Julie!

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*Re-edited from a post that originally appeared 11.01.2016. – AH