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    Staying Put in Style: Opening Up a Condo Kitchen

    by Duo Dickinson

    Selectively removing a nonbearing wall connects a viewless, internal kitchen to living and dining spaces. Simple, standard detailing was used to create custom cabinets at an affordable cost.

    Tall elements — range hood, refrigerator, and upper cabinets — were kept away from the opening to allow better connection. The height of the wall allows for a visual separation of whatever is on the countertop from those in the living room.

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    Keeping the kitchen essentially where it was and simply opening it up saved money, and the chaos of construction was limited to a single area of the condo.

    Staying Put

    There are over 80 million single family homes in America, and it's estimated that in 2011, 18 million of these were underwater, meaning with a mortgage larger than the value of the house.

    Millions of families feel trapped, living a life of domestic frustration in homes that do not work for them, while being unable to move to solve the problems they confront on a daily basis.

    The benefits of concise, appropriate remodeling where you live now, independent of market conditions, can include improved convenience and lifestyle satisfaction, better looks, and a reduced environment impact, since improving an existing house is almost always greener than building new from scratch.

    This series in ArchitectureWeek, and the book Staying Put that it's drawn from, offer tangible hope for getting the home you want from the house you have right now.

    Each of these projects is a select example of the great and affordable outcomes that can be created, when a good architect and a good client team up together.

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    Architect Duo Dickinson runs his own practice in Madison, Connecticut. In over 30 years of professional practice, he has built more than 600 projects across the United States, with budgets ranging from $3,000 to $5 million. Dickinson has written seven books, including The Small House, Expressive Details, and The House You Build. He is a contributing writer for Money magazine, the architecture critic for the New Haven Register, and a contributing writer for New Haven magazine. He has also taught at Yale University, Roger Williams College, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design summer program.

    This article is part of an ArchitectureWeek series on sensible remodeling solutions for today's housing market, with text and images excerpted from Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want by Duo Dickinson, copyright © 2011, with permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press.

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    ArchWeek Image

    Pulling back a partition wall in this kitchen allowed it to be expanded and opened up to the living area.
    Photo: Mick Hales Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The remodel also added a deep wall at the end of the curving kitchen counter to clarify the transition between the entryway and both the kitchen and living room.
    Photo: Mick Hales Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Before and after plan drawings.
    Image: Taunton Press Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Relocating a door to the garage allowed for a fully C-shaped kitchen area, compared with the disrupted original counter space shown here.
    Photo: Duo Dickinson Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Seen prior to the remodel, the relationship between the kitchen and entry was limiting and inelegant.
    Photo: Duo Dickinson Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want by Duo Dickinson.
    Image: Taunton Press Extra Large Image


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