The tiny galley kitchen of a San Francisco East Bay family was so crowded with appliances and keepsakes that they turned to Sherry Hope-Kennedy, founder of local practice Studio SHK, for help. Immediately, the designer knew that tearing down the kitchen’s walls and making it a multigenerational space was the solution.
“It was a very plain 1970s galley kitchen with a little dining space next to it,” Hope-Kennedy recalls. “I don’t know how they used it. It was so cluttered and crammed.”
By eliminating the barrier walls between the nearby living and dining areas, the designer realized that the more generous space would translate to fewer corners for the two sets of grandparents who frequently visited to navigate, while at the same time it would accommodate the preferences of the husband who loved to chat with everyone in the great room as he cooked.
But given that their daughters did work on desks pressed up against the wall of the living space, the owners were reluctant to take it down. It was only after Hope-Kennedy showed them a drawing delineating just how much more mobility the new open kitchen would provide that the family agreed.
Storage was another element that Hope-Kennedy wanted to maximize, which she accomplished by building a butler’s pantry for countertop appliances, a coffee station with drawers, and a low-height desk nook. She even turned a dining room closet into a wine cabinet. With the kitchen now open to the other rooms, Hope-Kennedy also took the opportunity to raise the sunken living room floor and eliminate the need for steps that could be challenging for the grandparents.
To accommodate the husband’s modern style and the wife’s predilection for a more classic vibe, Hope-Kennedy mixed walnut cabinets and refinished floors with a pewter-painted island and quartz countertops.
“When you are blending styles, you have to be careful because it can be done really poorly,” she explains. “The kitchen is contemporary, which befits the architecture of the home, yet it has a warm nod to traditional taste.”
A version of this article was originally published by KBB.