A 1940’s Home Gets a New “Heart”

 
 

 
 
If you’ve read very many of our blogs or followed our posts on social media, you’ve probably heard us refer to the kitchen as the “heart of the home.” This title perfectly represents the space as a central hub for entertaining guests, enjoying family, and celebrating holidays and events. Part of the reason our team takes such pride in renovating kitchens specifically is because they play such a big role in the lives of our clients. The memorable sounds and smells that resonate from the kitchen flow throughout the rest of the house like a heartbeat. The humble title has never been more fitting than for our recent kitchen remodel in a 1940’s home.
 
 
The layout of the Fort Worth property is structured so that the kitchen is located in the very middle of the house. Because it was built shortly after the recession, the floor plan was very small and modest. A few years ago, the master bedroom was added on to the back of the house, requiring our clients to walk through the entire kitchen and the laundry room just to get to their bedroom. Not only was this a hassle, but it also created unwanted traffic through the already crowded kitchen. Our clients knew it was time for a change, so they sought the help of our designers to find a solution to their dilemma.
 
 

 
 

 
 
Our design team met with the clients in their home to discuss the issues and what options there were to correct them. You can see in the before and after floor plans that one of the biggest structural changes was removing the back wall in the dining area, creating a new walkway to the master bedroom. By creating a “straight shot” from the front door to the back of the house, we were able to use more square footage for the living spaces, such as the dining room that is now much more spacious.
 
 
The new walkway enabled us to close up the existing walkway through the kitchen and utilize the new wall for additional cabinet and countertop space. The new floor plan makes much more sense in regard to the function and flow of the home.
 
 

 
 
Upon entering the front door, you can already see the structural and aesthetic changes that were made. The small, dark dining area is now open and brightly lit from the window in the kitchen. The pass-through into the living area was reframed with a decorative eyebrow to match the arch and style of the doorway for a consistent, updated look.
 
 

 
 
The existing dining room included built-in angled cubbies framing a chalkboard accent wall and floating shelves that the clients utilized for a coffee station. While the space had a cozy feel, it was very dated, and the angled cubbies made it overly crowded. The low-hanging ceiling fan coupled with the large dining furniture and bar stools added to the crowded appearance.
 
 
By removing the back wall completely, the dining room was joined to the neighboring hallway, creating an open, flowing space. We inverted a support beam into the attic and installed an exposed beam to hide the uneven ceiling levels between the spaces. The stain on the beam matches the hardwood flooring and ties the design together while also creating some dimension and visual interest in the room. Strategically placed LED can lights were installed to replace the low-hanging fan, making the ceilings seem higher.
 
 

 
 
Comparing the before and after photos of the kitchen, it’s hard to believe this is even the same space! Using the ceiling lines as a reference point, you can tell that this is, in fact, the same room.
 
 
In the before picture, our owner, Mike Medford Sr, chats with the clients about the structural changes that will take place in their home. You can see that the dividing wall between the kitchen and dining area was removed, really enlarging and brightening the space. The breakfast bar previously sat within a small pass-through window just beside the kitchen doorway, creating an awkward, choppy wall and a cramped eating area. The remodeled version is much more spacious, with ample counter space for family and guests to sit without feeling crowded.
 
 

 
 
This angle shows the updated pass through to the living room on the left side of the kitchen. The new decorative eyebrow provides much more aesthetic appeal than the previous rectangular cut, and also goes well with the new granite counter tops, beveled subway tile backsplash, and white shaker-style cabinetry.
 
 

 
 
As small as the original kitchen was, the amount of space that was wasted was mind-boggling! Large open cubbies above the upper cabinets and lack of cabinetry under the sink were two examples of flaws in the design that cost the clients valuable storage space. Our team was able to extend the upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling, taking advantage of vertical space, and also extend the lower cabinet doors flush with the new countertop and undermount sink. Raising the upper cabinets also provided for more usable space on top of the counter, allowing for tall appliances (like the electric mixer) to sit against the backsplash without appearing cluttered. Undercabinet LED lights were added to brighten the counters and showcase the sleek new backsplash tile.
 
 
Although we always enjoy the new, shiny things, we also want to help our clients save money where they can. The existing light fixture over the sink may not have been new, but it was in great condition and worked well within the space. We encouraged the clients to keep it instead of purchasing a new one. In the end, they were happy with this decision, as the original fixture provides some sentimental value and a touch of timelessness in the remodeled room.
 
 

 
 
Another design flaw in the original kitchen was that the footprint simply was not made to suit the larger appliances of today. The oversized fridge was too massive for the room, especially as it sat in the only existing walkway to the master bedroom. We relocated the fridge to the other side of the kitchen where it is conveniently within reach. One of the rules we try to follow with every kitchen we design is to avoid placing the refrigerator at the “back” of the kitchen. The end goal is always to provide the most flowing, and functional floorplan while keeping in mind an efficient kitchen work triangle. Placing the fridge at the entrance of the kitchen minimizes traffic and prevents crowding the cook.
 
 

 
 
You’ll also notice that the new kitchen includes a sleek under-counter microwave drawer just beside the fridge. This neat little appliance is a great way to reduce countertop clutter while being extremely accessible – two fantastic perks in a tiny kitchen like this one! See our previous blog for more information about microwave drawers.
 
 

 
 
The walkway that we closed up in the kitchen is now home to the new stainless steel oven and matching hood vent. Previously, the oven sat on the reverse side of the kitchen which did not allow for an overhead vent. Our clients will certainly notice a difference in cooking now that the space is properly ventilated!
 
 
The new wall also allows for additional cabinet storage. A space-saving Lazy Suzan sits in the lower cabinets to the left of the oven, while a stack of wide utensil drawers conveniently occupies the right side.
 
 

 
 
The low-hanging upper cabinets above the bar were removed, creating an open and airy feel into the dining area. The storage space that was lost was regained below the new peninsula, creating a functional u-shaped workspace around the oven. The peninsula also features a pull-out trash bin, a convenient electrical outlet, and an extended edge for bar stool seating.
 
 

 
 
One of the most exciting times for our clients during a kitchen remodel is selecting their countertop material at the stone yard and then seeing the fabricated pieces installed in their home. It’s one thing to fall in love with the material by itself, but seeing it in place with the rest of your remodeled kitchen is truly a thrilling experience! For this project, our clients chose a beautiful 3cm Viscount white granite with intricate, unique veining. The portion they really loved featured a large dark wave swirled across the white. Our talented fabricator was able to template the granite so that this beautiful design was on display across the peninsula. The end result is a stunning, one-of-a-kind look that really accentuates the new kitchen.
 
 

 
 
This view from the dining table shows how well the renovated kitchen blends with the rest of the house. No longer dark and choppy, the bright, flowing floorplan provides a clear line of vision from the back hallway all the way to the front door. Natural light floods the interior, breathing new life into the house. What a fresh, elegant design for home that was originally built in the 40’s!
 
 

 
 
By removing the back wall in the dining room, we were able to extend the far end of the peninsula to incorporate a new and improved coffee station for our clients. This custom beverage center includes a hard-piped coffee pot, glass front upper cabinets with stemware holder underneath, and an under counter wine cooler. Stacked utensil drawers provide convenient, organized storage for coffee mix-ins and extras.
 
 

 
 
Our designers also included a small column of built-in shelving on the side of the cabinetry in the kitchen, facing the dining room, creating the perfect spot for our clients to display decorative trinkets. This little detail adds visual interest to the coffee station while providing our clients with an area they can customize year-round. The glass-front upper cabinets also act as a customizable display case, as we included LED backlighting on the inside – perfect for coffee cups, wine glasses, or decorative glassware.
 
 

 
 
Lastly, just around the corner from the new kitchen is a reconfigured laundry closet. Stacked washer and dryer sit alongside storage shelving and a second wine fridge, all of which is easily concealed behind a folding door. The area is conveniently located just across from the client’s master bedroom, making for a short trip to put away clean laundry.
 
 
Both our team and our clients are beyond thrilled with the outcome of this project! The house got a “new heart” after our clients have lived there for 42 years; now they plan on staying for another 42!
 
 
We would like to recognize and thank everyone that played a part making this project so successful:
 
 

Structural Design: 
Mike Medford, Sr.
Aesthetic Design: Stephanie Milford
Drafting and Renderings: Kourtney Davis
Production Management:  Michael Medford, Jr.
Project Manager:  Dave Broadfield
Carpentry:  Dave Broadfield, Neil Norris
Cabinets:  Bailey Cabinets
Plumbing: Express Plumbing
Electrical: Marc Miller Electric
Drywall: Alex Green Drywall
Framing & Trim: Resdoor
Paint: Phillip Painting Company
Tile & Counters: HRG Granite
Appliances: Texas Appliance
Plumbing Fixtures:
 Ferguson
Engineering: 
FWN&A – Ryan Lockhart
Flooring: Hilton’s Flooring
Final Photography: Impressia– Todd Ramsey

 
 
If you are interested in remodeling your home, struggle with inadequate storage space, or need help correcting a dysfunctional layout, our team would be happy to help! Contact us today for more information on the design-build process.

 
 

Warm Regards,

 

The Medford Design-Build Team