Maximizing Space & Increasing Efficiency in a Bethesda Kitchen
A Washington, DC area couple spent 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service traveling to faraway places such as Iraq, Singapore, Lithuania and other parts of the world—all the while evolving their careers and raising three children. As they moved around the world, they brought along family furniture and heirlooms that provided sense of home and continuity in each new setting.
Their Bethesda residence, a 1960 brick Dutch Colonial, was occupied by the family only eight of those past 30 years. So when it was time to return to DC, they felt it was time to make the house a home. Their home represented familiarity, stability, and continuity for the well-traveled family.
Not only did the family love returning home, but the house had many practical features as well:
- Great proximity to DC
- Solid construction
- A fine Bethesda neighborhood
- A charming private site ready for landscaping
- Ample sunlight
However, after serving as a rental for many years, the house lacked the modern conveniences and layout the homeowners had come to expect. The 12 x 11 foot kitchen was dark, closed off from the living spaces, and too small for their family of five. They needed a larger kitchen.
Bethesda Kitchen Remodeling Project Details
Open Wall Between the Kitchen & Dining Room
When it came time to remodel their kitchen, the family knew they wanted more space, a better layout, upgraded appliances, and more natural light. After several conversations with the design team, it was agreed to open the wall between the dining room and kitchen to make the visual connection while still keeping the definition of spaces. The opened wall makes both the kitchen and dining room feel significantly larger. Replicating the moldings at the new 10-foot-wide wall opening provides consistency and creates a proscenium-like opening to highlight the performance activity in the kitchen.
Breakfast Bay to Fit a Table
The homeowners also expressed a desire to use family furniture in their new remodel, such as their round Elm wood breakfast table with a full set of presidential Hitchcock chairs. The new breakfast bay had to be large enough to accommodate the antique table and chairs. Square bays, angled bays, and round bays were illustrated for the design team. Finally, a segmented-round bay design was chosen as the preferred design.
Four new double hung windows and a new glass door capture the wooded views and southern sunlight and create a visual connection to the new flagstone terrace beyond. A pendant light fixture (Annapolis Lighting) of milky white glass and brushed brass marks the table where family members gather for coffee and breakfast. An added bonus of this small breakfast bay is a basement-level storage room underneath—easily accessible from the sloping sight and a perfect home for bikes and garden tools.
Island & Work Counters
In addition to the breakfast bay, the family asked that a central island be designed to accommodate two bar stools. The new island measures 38 x 81 inches. Capped with dark gray granite, the island has become the centerpiece of the kitchen/breakfast room area. A large SS sink, Maytag dishwasher, pull-out trash, and bookcase for cookbooks make the island functional. Facing the dining room is a shallow cabinet with mullion glass doors where glassware is stored. The interior of the cabinet is painted a deep olive green, lending its more formal aesthetic to the dining room.
Wrapping the north and east walls of the kitchen in an “L” configuration are granite countertops and cabinets housing a refrigerator, Sharp microwave drawer, small prep sink, and gas range with a SS range hood. Wall cabinets with clear glass mullion cabinet doors provide visual depth to make the space feel larger. The off-white crackled subway tile backsplash finishes the aesthetic of the transitional style.
Lighting for the New Spaces
Recessed down lights were utilized for general illumination in the kitchen and breakfast room. Under-wall cabinet lighting provides direct illumination on the work surfaces, and unobtrusive plug molding mounted under the cabinets keeps the tiled backsplash uninterrupted. New decorative light fixtures were installed over both the breakfast table and dining table. Traditional in a simple Colonial American style, the hanging fixtures are right at home with the heritage family antiques.
Home Remodeling in Bethesda, Maryland
The good experience with the kitchen remodel spurred the client on the design team to remodel two bathrooms. The long traveling family is home at last—and up to date!