It really messes with layout and flow.

Kitchen in Santa Clara by Rosanna Bassford
Laura Flippen

This kitchen in Santa Clara, California, was proof that some design trends do not stand the test of time. According to designer Rosanna Bassford of Memmo Interiors, it featured a common design paint point—the kitchen peninsula. “Huge in the ‘80s and ‘90s, this outdated amenity creates a culinary dead end by blocking both visual and functional flow,” she explains.

Cabinets in Santa Clara Kitchen by Rosanna Bassford
“Relocating the cooktop and adding a full wall of floor-to-ceiling cabinets that also house the fridge, oven, and pull-out pantries added much-needed storage and a better workflow between cooktop and sink,” explains Rosanna.

Before: Courtesy of Rosanna Bassford; After: Laura Flippen

In addition to that layout-wrecking design feature, the kitchen was also seriously outdated. “The kitchen looked original to the house with classic ‘70s design elements: honey oak cabinets, linoleum flooring, and white square tile with thick black grout for countertops,” Rosanna says. “The layout had a peninsula that jutted out and cut off the kitchen from a small area for a dining nook, effectively cutting the room in half. The cooktop was wedged into a tight space surrounded by most of the appliances, little counter space, and  was completely opposite the sink, all of which made food prep and cooking less efficient and less comfortable. There was no pantry so functional food storage space was limited.”

Rosanna’s clients—a couple with a young child—wanted to give the space a complete overhaul. They wanted a more spacious-feeling kitchen and dining area with functional storage and a more current design style.

Windows in Santa Clara Kitchen by Rosanna Bassford
Because the layout changed, the windows had to be changed and moved.

Before: Courtesy of Rosanna Bassford; After: Laura Flippen

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The key changes in the kitchen were swapping the peninsula for an island, moving the cooktop, and adding a full wall of pantry/food storage, which included a built-in refrigerator. “Replacing the peninsula with an island opened up the kitchen to the dining area and enabled us to extend the kitchen countertops as well as create a cozy built-in breakfast nook,” Rosanna says. “Moving the cooktop to an adjacent wall closer to the sink gave us more functional counter space on both sides of the cooktop and allowed us to do a full wall of cabinets with pull-out pantry, built-in refrigerator, double ovens, and a warming drawer while keeping it sleek-looking and clutter-free.”

And when it came to designing the kitchen and its storage, Rosanna made sure to ask her clients what their needs were, which includes get a general inventory of what they have in their pantry and kitchen so she takes that all into account. “For example, if they are big on baking, they may have a stand mixer that takes up quite a bit of space or several baking sheets that need to be easily accessible,” she says. “Everyone wants a clutter-free kitchen, but most people require a very personalized design to keep counters clean with a place for everything.”

Dining Nook in Santa Clara Kitchen by Rosanna Bassford
“Without the peninsula we had the space to add a breakfast nook, making the whole kitchen/dining space one large room that feels cozy and inviting,” Rosanna says.

Before: Courtesy of Rosanna Bassford; After: Laura Flippen

Updating the layout wasn’t just about eliminating the peninsula and relocating the cooktop; the windows also needed to be changed and moved. “With a renovation you don’t always know what structure is in place until you begin the process, and we had to have shorter windows than we wanted due to the house’s original structure and what the beams inside the walls would allow,” Rosanna explains. “That said, we were able to get a wider window in front of the sink which really gave us a better and more spacious view out to the lovely backyard.”

Now, Rosanna says, her clients love the kitchen and dining nook. It’s a functional, central space in the home where they spend a lot of their time.