Before and After: A Crowded Kitchen Gets a Classic Redesign
Tucked on a beautiful tree-lined street within the historic Washington Park neighbourhood of Seattle, the early-1900s home of Katie Hackworth’s clients has tons of charm. Not so charming, though, was the crowded kitchen and mudroom space. With toddler twin daughters and a pair of loving golden retrievers, the family needed more storage, an open-plan space to accommodate their lifestyle, and additional natural light, which led them to call on H2 Design + Build, Hackworth’s design and contracting firm she founded with her husband, Paul. By adding new windows, incorporating thoughtful storage solutions, and remaining true to the home’s heritage, Hackworth transformed its weak spots. Keep scrolling to check it out!
Wanting a space to simply “live in,” the clients requested a design that would function for cooking and dining, crafts, future homework sessions, entertaining, and relaxing. With an emphasis on letting in as much natural light as possible, increasing cabinet space, and reconfiguring the room’s layout to feel breezier and more open, Hackworth got to work.
“The original kitchen felt cluttered, dark, and dingy,” the designer says. “My goal was to streamline the space with only the necessities and make the most out of them while still holding onto the original design integrity of the house.”
To ensure the new design still felt in line with the historic origins of the house, Hackworth opted to incorporate classic details, materials, and lines to reflect the home’s traditional nature but function for a modern lifestyle. “Every last detail is important to me,” the designer says. “It’s all the little things, like the use of a furniture base rather than a typical toe kick to line the kitchen cabinetry, or the appearance of wooden nailheads showing in the planks of the new wood floors. These details are so integral in maintaining charm and creating a sense of time.”
In the room’s eating area, a banquette provides additional storage with its integrated drawers while also anchoring the seating arrangement and providing a design element. “With toddler twins, you can collect a lot of stuff!” the designer exclaims. “From a design sense, I love the feel a banquette brings to a room. It cozies everything up.”
Though the decision to paint the kitchen’s custom cabinetry a deep black wasn’t easy, the payoff is certainly worth the risk. “I was a bit nervous to paint it black,” Hackworth admits. “I didn’t want to overwhelm the space with a dark accent, but I wanted to give it some definition as well.”
Restricting the dark paint to the lower cabinets adds depth while preserving the sense of natural light the windows bring in. “I decided to keep the black paint for the lowers only, which keeps your line of sight open to the entire space and the natural light provided by the new windows,” the designer tells us. “I’m so happy with how the dark and light play off each other. It feels modern and classic all at the same time.”
For attempting to redesign a kitchen space, Hackworth recommends really taking time to think about how you actually want to use the space, not just how you think you should. “Do you cook often? Entertain often? Do you need lots of storage? Is natural light important to you? Where do you plan on eating? Can everyone within the household sit around the table or island?” the designer asks. “There is no perfect kitchen blueprint. Every household is unique; therefore, every kitchen should be unique as well.”
“More often than not, a kitchen is the heart of a home,” says the designer. “It should be warm, welcoming, comfortable, and have some room to grow (even if you don’t plan on growing!). A cramped kitchen never feels good.”
When asked about the overall experience of working on this project, Hackworth doesn’t hesitate. “My clients were a designer’s dream,” she says. “They trusted me to take the project where it went. All they really needed was for me to say, ‘This is what you want.’”