Kitchen Redesign Increases Function and
By Barbara Capella Loehr
BALTIMORE, MDThirty years is a relatively short period of time by
most standards. But in terms of style and function, particularly in
the kitchen, 30 years is a lifetime ago.
Indeed, after the “big 3-0,” a change is certainly in order, as
in the case of this kitchen redesign.
Enter Joan Eisenberg, CMKBD, of JME Consulting, Inc. in
Baltimore, MD, who saw the great functional and storage potential
in the dated 15’x22′ kitchen. The room also had a 4’6″x12’6″
butler’s pantry and walk-in pantry carved into one corner. All it
needed was some reconfiguring.
“The owners of this kitchen are empty-nesters, and they were
moving from a fairly large home into a community of zero-lot line
houses that are 30-years old. And they wanted to update the
kitchen, and the whole house, which had never been updated at all,”
As a result, the old kitchen needed a more functional layout to
accommodate heavy cooking. Plus, the owners requested more
“When the lady of the house cooks, she cooks a lot,” notes
Eisenberg. But, she says, the couple is there only six months of
the year. “So they wanted to do it all nicely, but within a
budget,” she adds.
To give this kitchen a more functional layout and meet the
owners’ expectations and requests, Eisenberg enlisted the the help
of several others who were key to the design process. She
collaborated with interior designer Jay Jenkins of Alexander Baer
Associates in Baltimore, MD, as well as general contractor Rick
Whitney of Rick of Westwood in Manchester, MD.
Once everyone was on board, Eisenberg began her redesign.
However, it was not all
smooth sailing, as Eisenberg had several obstacles to overcome in
The first obstacle was two-fold the butler’s and walk-in
pantries, which both butted into the room 6′. Eisenberg took out
both of them, since none of the walls along that stretch were
“We had to relocate some duct work to make it work,” she
Removing the butler’s and walk-in pantries solved two problems.
“It opened it up [the space]. And since the only window in the
kitchen is a glass door at one end, which is on the same wall as
where the butler’s pantry was, the light was originally blocked off
by the butler’s pantry, and so was the view of the patio. Without
the pantry, the light came through and the view opened up nicely,”
Her next challenge was to figure out how to turn the layout
around so that the lady of the house could see the outdoors and see
her family and friends while she was cooking.
“To get her facing her family, we turned the sink, which was
originally facing a wall, around onto her island by [slightly]
channeling into the concrete slab [on which the house sits] to
allow us to leave the plumbing vent where it was,” she says. A
KitchenAid dishwasher was also installed in the island.
In terms of aesthetics, Eisenberg collaborated closely with
Jenkins, using his vision of soft, but not fussy styling to frame
the functional layout she was giving the kitchen.
To that end, she says, “we used a flat-panel door with a beaded
edge from Paris Kitchens on all of the custom cabinetry. Two
different colors, a beige paint and a dark green stain, were
applied to accent the room. The island, cooktop and eating area
were all done in the green, and the surrounding cabinets on two
other sides of the walls and part of the cooking area after the
cooktop were all in the beige.”
Custom details such as fluted columns along with pull-out
shelves and a host of interior storage options complete the
To replace the storage lost by removing the pantries, Eisenberg
used two 24″ D pantries with roll-out trays that flank the new desk
area, as well as 12″ and 15″ D cabinets “to the counter.” These
surround the 72″ cooktop work area, which features a 30″ Frigidaire
gas cooktop and Broan ventilation with a 72″ custom hood from Paris
“I also used cabinets to the counter where two unfitted
‘furniture’ pieces were created to flank a banquette designed by
Jenkins,” she explains.
In order to create more function, the wall ovens were moved out
of the main traffic aisle to create a balanced design element with
the existing Sub-Zero 550 refrigerator opposite the desk and new
pantries. She installed new Frigidaire double convection ovens,
along with a GE microwave, again, for higher functionality.
St. Cecilia Granite countertops from Artelye Granite &
Marble complete the kitchen, but there was also the matter of the
adjacent laundry room, which was a long, narrow space off the
diagonal corner of the now-removed butler’s pantry.
Eisenberg cleverly reconfigured the space, breathing new life
into it via Paris Kitchens cabinetry featuring a simple slab door
painted in the kitchen’s beige hue. She hid the meters and
shut-offs with a broom closet with the back cut out for easy
access, and hid the overhead PVC pipes with an open-shelf
Formica Corp. #7219-58 Forrest Terra Matte laundry room
countertops from Hallmark Mfg. complete the look.
To learn more about the designer, Joan Eisenberg, click here