Letting in Light
Before, as the Leakes will attest, their kitchen was a dark, cramped space with little character. To let in light and allow outside views, a pair of small windows was replaced with operable and stationary floor-to-ceiling French doors.
The kitchen now connects to the dining room through two doors that permit traffic to flow freely from one area to the other. "The openness changed the home from a 1950s ideal, where the kitchen was hidden from public view, to a contemporary floor plan that showcases this room as the heart of family and entertaining activities," says architect Stephen B. Chambers, who worked on the new design.
This room may look like a kitchen, but comfortable furnishings and inviting details make it live more like a family room. A grouping of upholstered pieces at one end provides a relaxed sitting area. Barstools that pull up to the island reinforce the idea of a large built-in table. Between the doors to the dining room are open shelves with a TV and accessories.
What's more, appliances are out of sight. "I didn't want that to be the first thing you notice, so I put the ovens and microwave down low," says Kathy. The refrigerator's wooden panels blend in with the cabinetry.
"This house has many great architectural features; we wanted to maintain the integrity of the original," explains Kathy. Stephen and contractor Marcus Taylor worked to ensure that details, such as the custom cabinetry and intricate floor designs, would coordinate with the rest of the interiors. The measure of success is best summed up by Stephen. "In the end, it doesn't appear to be a redo," he says.
For great ideas to create an outside living area, see "Porch Living," on page 178 in the May 2003 issue of Southern Living.