Zilker Kitchen Remodel / by J.C. Schmeil

old kitchen

When Shelly and Colin initially approached me about a kitchen remodel, we didn't realize quite how extensive the project would be.  The existing kitchen was a small space at the front of the house.  It was cozy but definitely needed some updating.  After we discussed the project goals, a new plan for the kitchen began to take shape.

Shelly provided a detailed "master plan document" that described project goals and concerns.  The main priority was an updated kitchen, with secondary goals that included a more usable sunroom, a dedicated entry and/or mudroom, and separate living areas for TV viewing and relaxing.  

old living room

The question was whether to renovate the existing kitchen or build a new kitchen elsewhere in the house.  The downstairs rooms did not function particularly well, mainly because there were three living spaces "enfilade"-- each room led into the next and none of them had a clear identity.
It didn't take long for us to decide that the best option would be to relocate the kitchen to the center of the house.  That would allow the first living space to be the primary living space, with a view and access to the kitchen, which then would lead through to a new dining room with access to the deck and back yard.  This meant that the old kitchen could become a small media room.

The new kitchen is separated from the front living area by a bar counter with built-in storage above it and to either side.  The bar counter and the countertop below it (with downdraft range) are black silestone.  White-painted cabinets help reflect light and unify the space, while maroon marmoleum provides an easily cleanable backsplash.

stairs before

Shelly and Colin were a bit concerned about the stairs coming down into the kitchen.  We designed a storage and display "hutch" against the balusters to help define the edge of the kitchen, and took advantage of the space under the stairs for yet more storage.  We also opened up the doorway an additional three feet to diminish the separation between the kitchen and the dining area beyond.

former sunroom



The dining room (formerly the sunroom) served as a catch-all space for laundry and was really only part of the circulation to and from the adjacent laundry room or the back yard.  A red island with a butcher block countertop (affordably purchased from IKEA) now helps to define the kitchen work area, so that anyone wanting to move from one room to another won't be in the way of the chef. 

We anchored the space by adding built-in seating and yet another free-standing piece of furniture cabinetry.  This was something that Shelly had planned for all along: the toast and coffee center.  With the fridge immediately adjacent, it provides a way to quickly and easily get a caffeine fix without interrupting breakfast preparation.  We designed it to fit neatly beneath the existing windows and to provide a nice termination for the built-in seating.  

As for some other items on the wish list... it was a bit of a challenge to add a new entry hall, but we were able to borrow a few feet from the guest bedroom to create a nice hallway with a door out to the driveway.  We also borrowed a bit of cabinet space from the adjacent guest bathroom to carve out a family locker area.  Painted perforated locker doors allow air to circulate to the shelves behind them, while drawers beneath stow everything from dog leashes to baseball gear.  

And the old kitchen?  It was transformed into a "media lounge" with fluted glass barn doors to separate it from the main living area.  It's now a cozy place to read or watch a movie. 

Roger Wintle of Texas Trim contracted the project and did a fantastic job throughout.  Paul Wintle built all of the cabinetry and served as general problem-solver.  All photography of the completed project is by Whit Preston.  Thanks to Shelly, Colin, and everyone involved!