Stephanie Wiley Photography

When a house’s bones contain as much history as this 1923 neoclassical residence, it’s hard to imagine knocking them down. But the owners of this Glendale, Calif., home needed a more inviting—and more functional—kitchen, so they called on local design/build firm Hartman Baldwin to open up and improve the layout without disrupting the home’s traditional character.

A central and integral access point in this 4,569-square-foot home, the kitchen links five adjacent spaces: a breakfast nook, a formal dining room, a staircase, a guest bedroom, and, at its furthest end, a laundry room. A small cabinet housed in the disused laundry room served as the kitchen’s pantry, making storing and accessing everyday items a counterintuitive task.

The kitchen was updated in the late 1980s, but the clients still found themselves struggling to comfortably cook and entertain within the compartmentalized layout. To maximize its flow, the firm redesigned the kitchen in a traditional working triangle with distinct stations for preparing, cooking, and cleaning up food. A common wall between the laundry room and kitchen was removed, combining the two spaces and providing easy access to custom cabinetry that added much needed storage as well as decorative nooks for displaying the client’s china collection. Appliances, fixtures, and lighting were upgraded to create a cohesive aesthetic.

The architect also raised the height of the kitchen’s 8-foot ceiling to match the taller 10-foot ceiling in the laundry room. A large chimney stack running through the heart of that space presented the project’s biggest obstacle, and senior project architect Ty Otjen had to devise a way to remove it without harming the structure.

“The [chimney] stack came up from the basement, went through the kitchen, and extended further up through the master bathroom,” Otjen explains. “After we opened the ceiling, we found that some of the house’s plumbing was located in the way of the new height. Fortunately, we were able to reroute the plumbing between the floor joist to an exterior wall, which allowed us to then raise the ceiling to 10 feet.”

The firm complemented the height extension with a bright color palette, painting the light-filled kitchen with crisp white hues and the client’s favorite shade of blue. Behind the range, white subway tiles accented by a recessed display of custom patterned tiles feels more contemporary than before, but still preserves the home’s overall vintage aesthetic.
The centerpiece island—a standout in blue—is topped with polished PentalQuartz that resembles marble, but is more durable and easier to clean, according to the manufacturer. The island includes a small eating nook for casual meals, and a refreshed laundry area that better serves its square footage breathes new life into the streamlined, open kitchen.
Stephanie Wiley Photography
Project: Cumberland Residence
Location: Glendale, Calif.
Architect/Builder: Hartman Baldwin, Claremont, Calif.
Size: 4,569 square feet
Kitchen Size: 317 square feet

Construction Cost: Withheld

This article originally appeared on our sister site BUILDER.