Room for the family

Transform your kitchen into a cozy gathering spot with a dining nook

Room for the family
Photo: Thomas J. Story

If the kitchen is the hub of the home, then it ought to act like one. That's what Warren and Jennifer Lloyd felt about their tight, tired kitchen in their 1920s Tudor-style home in Salt Lake City. "The room was so cramped that to reach the oven, you had to step over the dishwasher door," Jennifer recalls. And with three young children, everyone seemed to be getting in the way.

Their solution: Turn the cramped alcove into an inviting dining nook by borrowing room from a closet (located opposite the original freestanding counter) and rearranging the appliances. "We gained just 15 square feet, but the kitchen feels triple the size," Jennifer says.

Replacing the old layout with the new nook created a lively spot for various activities ― family meals, homework, and craft projects. "From here, we have a good view into the new family room and out to the backyard, which makes it easy to keep an eye on our three kids," says Warren, the architect who designed the remodel.

Warren took a Craftsman-meets-contemporary approach to the makeover. He began by ripping out the all-white cabinets, counters, and backsplash. Then he substituted two versions of Shaker-style cabinetry unified by honed black granite counters and a golden-hued backsplash of 1- by 1-inch recycled-glass tiles by Oceanside Glasstile.

In the nook, the single, hourglass-shaped table leg, flanking birch bench seats, and beadboard paneling add a retro sensibility, while the black granite tabletop - which aligns in height with the kitchen counters - is both modern and practical.

The new glass-front cabinets next to the window give the kitchen a fresh, open look and put an attractive array of dishware ― in varied shapes and colors ― on display. A small black granite-topped island opposite the new farmhouse sink contains extra storage and replaces most of the counter space that was removed to make way for the dining nook.

Next: Kid-friendly details



  • Room for the family

    Before: The narrow U-shaped design of the all-white kitchen trapped an oven between the counters. There was barely room for two stools at the counter end.

  • Room for the family

    A built-in blackboard provides drawing room for little ones and a message board for the entire family.

  • Cooking area after

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