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Making the Most of a Foxhall Village Townhouse Kitchen

The typical townhouse has a narrow galley kitchen that lacks natural light and is walled off from the home’s living area. Some townhouse kitchens are so narrow it’s hard to get a 36-inch aisle down the middle. A small addition can often make a huge impact. Even a small, narrow galley kitchen can be dramatically improved with thoughtful planning and a design that maximizes every inch of space.

Historic Kitchen Remodel

Project Details

A married couple recently downsized from a suburban detached home to a 1920s urban townhouse and required a new kitchen. Located in one of the Washington DC’s historic districts—Foxhall Village—the couple considered their new abode a long-term “retirement home” and wanted a new design to fit their lifestyle. The dark narrow galley kitchen had to go. The couple enjoyed chatting with guests while preparing meals, which meant that the wall between the dining room and kitchen had to be opened up. To provide space for a small breakfast table and expanded kitchen, we also built a small addition on the footprint of an old rear porch.

Small Addition

The clients knew that sacrificing their porch to build a kitchen extension was a smart use of space. Simulated stucco panels and casement windows fit gracefully with the older home. The sensitive design easily received approval from the DC Historic Preservation Office.

An existing rear basement stair was accommodated by placing the new addition on masonry piers. It is properly insulated at all exposures, heated with hot water baseboard, and supplemented with electric radiant floor heat—so the addition is guaranteed to stay cozy in the winter!

Windows and a glass door wrap the corner of the addition, providing garden views from the breakfast table and ample sunshine. A custom 24 x 30 inch walnut breakfast table was designed to fit the space like a glove.

Opened-Up Wall

Every inch matters in a small space. To that end, we took out the wall between the dining room and kitchen to add 6 inches in width to the galley kitchen. By encroaching 12 inches into the dining room with base cabinets, storage was enhanced and dining room furniture minimized. Frosted glass cabinet doors provide visual interest with storage for the dining room. The addition provides extra length for the galley kitchen and two straight runs of cabinetry offer a most efficient layout; there are no dead corner cabinets to waste space.

Kitchen Remodeling DC

The kitchen retains visual definition from the dining room because of the wide low-spring arch that divides the two spaces. Defined but open, the arch resembles others in the residence and acts as a proscenium arch for the kitchen as the couple prepares dinner for their guests.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this DC historic townhouse kitchen remodeling project—coming soon!

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Mary Ann G., Arlington, VA
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