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    Staying Put - Creating A Cook's Kitchen

    by Duo Dickinson

    A unique kitchen design for a serious cook was imposed on a small 1910 house that had been split into two units in the 1920s.

    The remodel recombined the units into a single-family home, and four spaces were given over for the new kitchen: the original dining room, the family room, a bath, and the tiny kitchen.

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    The new, open-layout kitchen centers around a “cooking wall,” and also comprises a large island, a cleanup wall, and a pantry (behind the cooking wall).

    Effectively two pantries — one for 'show' opposite the dining area and one for storage (next to the exterior cleanup sink) — make this a fully optioned kitchen in a tight space.

    The existing full bathroom bit the dust and was reduced to a powder room built where a relocated staircase used to be.

    The Pantry

    The vast majority of kitchens, even small ones, demand pantry space that is at least as big as a bedroom closet but preferably as big as a small master suite walk-in closet.

    The overwhelming desire is to minimize the number of upper cabinets that are visually present in most kitchens (limited to those around dishwashers where they are needed to store everyday dinnerware and glassware).

    Upper cabinets close in the space at eye level, preventing windows and visual connection beyond the kitchen.

    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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    A cook's kitchen, following remodel.
    Photo: Duo DIckinson Extra Large Image

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    Plan of the cook's kitchen, before and after remodeling.
    Photo: Duo DIckinson Extra Large Image

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    Before remodeling, the kitchen was small and isolated.
    Photo: Duo DIckinson Extra Large Image

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