Before and After: A Closed-Off Kitchen’s 1952 Layout Gets a Stunning Open-Plan Redo

published Aug 26, 2023
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Whether it was a place you lived, a place you visited, or just a home you spotted online, you’ve probably seen some head-scratching home layouts over the years — you know, like no-bathroom apartments, maze-like floorplans, or “dining foyers.” This home, remodeled by designer Sara Malek Barney of Bandd/Design, was another place that started with a puzzling layout.

“The layout made no sense,” Sara says of the space before. “It was like they dropped a kitchen in the middle of a house. I think it was untouched since it was first built in 1952.” As part of a total redo, Sara helped her clients say goodbye to the “old and dated” look and layout — including the creamy off-white cabinets Sara calls “so sad” — and say hello to a contemporary, chic cook space with plenty of room.

Knocking out a few walls opened up this once closed-off kitchen.

“The young couple came to us with one request: An updated, open concept where they could entertain and host friends and family,” Sara says. The range on the back wall stayed in the same spot, but just about everything else moved around. Sara says the demo was more complicated and costly than she thought, but by not buying upper cabinets, her clients saved a bit of money and created a lighter, brighter, airier feel. 

Opening up the space also allowed for more room to spread out appliances and prep stations. “I am especially proud with how much space we got out of the kitchen footprint,” Sara says. “It makes so, so, so much difference and was definitely worth every penny both in aesthetic, function, and resale,” Sara says.

The “after” color palette was inspired by nature. 

The result is a calming and airy combination cooking and dining space. The green used on the new kitchen cabinetry is Benjamin Moore’s Dark Olive, and the white on the walls is Sherwin-Williams’s Snowbound. “They liked nature-inspired colors with warm wood tones and clean lines,” Sara says of her clients.

The new tile Sara picked (Ann Sacks Savoy ribbed field tile) makes a bright, shimmery wall-to-wall statement and brings the kitchen into 2023 with some fun texture. It looks especially contemporary in combo with another contemporary detail, floating shelves. The new sconce is from Visual Comfort, and the brass pulls add a bit of glam but still fit the minimalist vibe of the space.

Expanding the space allowed for a large dining area. 

Sara and her team expanded the kitchen into where the dining area once was and knocked down a wall separating those spaces from a sitting area. That sitting area then became a new large dining space that’s furnished with a table by Four Hands, chairs from France & Son, and a console from a local store. It’s now perfect for the large gatherings the homeowners envisioned. 

Sara’s proudest accomplishment? “The space just feels so warm and inviting and yet doesn’t feel like a ‘remodel,’” she says. “It just fits in so nicely with the house.”

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