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Before & After: A Functional Update for a Cramped Kitchen

updated May 4, 2019
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Before: The old kitchen, facing towards the utility room. (Image credit: Katz Architecture)

This Park Avenue apartment, while blessed with features that a lot of New Yorkers would kill for, like a gorgeous roof terrace, also had a problem common to a lot of older homes: a cramped, oddly shaped kitchen that was a bit of an afterthought in the original floor plan. The space was small and awkwardly broken up, with the kitchen a long walk away from any dining area.

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So the homeowners, who love cooking and entertaining, enlisted architect David Katz to create a brighter, more functional space — all within the constraints of the existing floor plan.

After: The same view, with the utility room (now the kitchen) open to the old kitchen (now the breakfast room). (Image credit: Katz Architecture)

Katz had a few smart solutions for enlarging the space and making it a place where his client would love to cook and entertain. He opened up what used to be a utility room and made that into the kitchen. (The washer and dryer were moved to another location in the apartment.) The space that was previously the kitchen is now a breakfast nook, where guests can hang out and chat with the cook.

The Floorplans, before and after

(Image credit: Katz Architecture)

The area that the new kitchen is quite small — only six feet wide — but a few key details make it work. The space isn’t wide enough for a traditional u-shaped kitchen, but Katz squeezed in a little extra storage by adding a row of shallow cabinets along the kitchen’s right wall. This provides a few extra places to stash things, while still leaving room to move around. The mirrored backsplash creates the illusion of a larger space, and the new bay window extends the kitchen into the outdoors.

Before: Looking down the hallway towards the old kitchen. (Image credit: Katz Architecture)
After: The same view from the new butler’s pantry. (Image credit: Katz Architecture)

The breakfast room also has two bay windows, which bring in light and open up the space to the aformentioned roof terrace. The hallway from the breakfast room leads to a butler’s pantry, which connects the kitchen to the dining room.

(Image credit: Katz Architecture)

Designer Mario Buatta added the trellis-print wallpaper and the botanical-printed bench seating, which emphasize the connection with the outdoors. The end result is a great example of working within the limitations of a space — while also playing up its best features.

(Image credit: Katz Architecture)
(Image credit: Katz Architecture)

Seriously, a roof terrace in New York. We can all dream.