Most kitchens are built on an exterior wall so that there can be a window over the sink.  Through various remodelings, some of these kitchens turn into interior rooms with either no window or borrowed light which means that the space can see natural light from another place.  This is less than ideal.  Also, even though everyone now is making the kitchen the focal point of the house, it still needs to have direct access to the outdoors for cooking out and entertaining outdoors.



This 1960’s ranch, with three bedrooms and hall bath (not shown) had a series of rooms along the back wall of the house and left the kitchen (A) ‘hanging’ between the living room (B) and a back door (C) on to a balcony.

The garage (D) with its tiny family entrance (E) brought family members across the dining room (F) [and the carpet] to get to the kitchen (A).

The front entry (G) was rarely used because it was far away from the pavement.

Across the back is a rather small family room (H) with a door outside and a dated and unused wet bar; a laundry room (J) that walks through to the ¾ bath (K).  The owners had no idea why there should be a small shower in this small bathroom.

The kitchen (A) is divided into small pieces that don’t provide efficiency in cooking. The back part of this kitchen had a small table in the corner and a door to the outside onto a balcony with no stairs down to the yard.

The homeowners wanted more backyard access and a better kitchen. They liked the idea of ‘open concept’ but didn’t know how to achieve it.  They wanted their family room to have more use and came up with the idea of a sun room for their many plants.



I claimed more room for the family entry (E) by adding IN to the existing space.  This is an important function and it needs to relate to the kitchen.

We bumped out 6 feet for a conservative kitchen addition (L).  Three nice windows over the sink visually connect the kitchen (M) with the backyard.  A generous island is the spot for dropping off groceries and keeps visitors on the non-cooking side of the kitchen.

The family room (H) changed into a sun room by adding a tile floor, additional windows and a glass door out onto a new deck (N).  This deck steps down onto a brick terrace (O) and then back up again onto another deck (P) that is an extension of the balcony.  This offers great circulation between the house and outdoor entertaining.

The ¾ bath (K) was converted into a better ½ bath (Q) that backs up to a new laundry room (R).

The dining was shifted over to ‘tuck’ into a corner and visually enlarge the living room.

B&A 20902

MARCIA LYON is a professional remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing projects locally and several other areas across the US and Canada. Like Creating Spaces on Facebook! Reach Marcia at; or phone 515-991-1300.   Her website is


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