Room for the family

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

Room for the family
Photo: Thomas J. Story

For a little fun, Warren and Jennifer installed a blackboard on the family room side of the nook. It's low enough in the wall for even the youngest Lloyd to use as his personal canvas and has become the entire family's message center.

The smart reorganization and clever mix of materials exemplify how a small space can be stylish and functional. Now the Lloyds' kitchen is the place to be ― and everyone fits.

Design:  Lloyd Architects , Salt Lake City (801/328-3245).

Kid-friendly details

Smudges and a little mess go with the territory of a home with young children. These five details from the Lloyds' kitchen provide easy-care solutions.

The end of the bench backrest is wrapped in a narrow piece of stainless steel that can be wiped clean of the inevitable fingerprints.

The handsome seat cushions of the nook benches are covered in fabric that was selected for its bold pattern and color, then sent out to be treated with a bonded vinyl surface (vinyl­izing service from Americo Inc.; 800/626-2350; $67 for the first 14 yards, not including shipping). Any fabric can be coated in gloss or matte vinyl.

A retro accent that matches the look of the adjacent cabinet, the painted beadboard paneling lining the nook is also designed for no-fuss cleanup.

The lower, easier-to-reach section of the Hoosier hutch-style cabinet is filled with plates, glasses, and flatware for the kids. Adult dishware and accessories are kept in the out-of-reach glass-front upper cabinets.

The dining nook makes it possible for the kids to do homework, read, or draw and still be near Mom and Dad while they're preparing the meals. Also, with its warm wood accents and black granite counters, the kitchen is elegant enough for entertaining.

More: 17 amazing Before and Afters


  • 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

    23 amazing home makeovers

    Get ideas for your house from some of our favorite Before and Afters

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