Home design ideas: Adding more light and storage to a cramped kitchen

Hardwood floors were found under hidden under layers of linoleum in this Southie kitchen.DAVID WEST/Born Imagery

This South Boston kitchen presented the usual problems: not enough storage, not enough counter space, not enough sunlight. Katie Boucher, a designer at Right Angle Kitchens & Design, took down a wall to open the kitchen to the living area, got rid of an unneeded door to the porch, and added windows. “The kitchen was relegated to the back and left walls,” Boucher says. “We reconfigured it into a U-shape.” Not one to let opportunity for storage go to waste, the designer also layered a pantry cabinet over the chimney next to the fridge. “Space comes at a premium in the city—you’ve got to make the most of it,” she says.

1 The team discovered original hardwood floors under layers of linoleum. “Preserving them added so much character,” Boucher says. “You can see every nail hole.”

2 The dropped ceiling was torn out to restore the room to its 10-foot height, then the cabinetry was brought all the way up. “It makes sense to capitalize on vertical square footage,” Boucher says.

3 Boucher centered the sink on the back wall, enlarged the window, and added sconces, turning the tableau into a focal point that’s visible when you walk into the house.

4 Brass bistro shelves allowed the homeowners to centralize their greenery in one sunny spot. “No more running from one end of the house to the other to water them,” Boucher says.

5 After experimenting with different hardware finishes, Boucher chose brushed brass because it pops against the dark gray cabinetry. As for her philosophy on mixing metals, the designer advises incorporating more than one element in each finish.

6 To stay within the budget, the homeowners designed and built the hood themselves using white birch and crown molding leftover from the cabinetry. Painting it white keeps the upper space airy.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to [email protected]