Design Layout: Using a Kitchen Addition to Bring People Together

by | Jan 27, 2017 | Holistic Design (Universal Design)

There is no greater joy for Alice than the joy of cooking in a kitchen surrounded by friends and family.  An avid canner, baker, and cook, Alice hosts a book club at her home monthly. Her kitchen area, however, was small in her Herndon home; preparation space limited and space for easy conversation between her and those at the dinner table was crammed and uncomfortable.  Alice and her family dreamed of one day having a kitchen with enough space to tend to cooking needs while being able to host a variety of group sizes to include their kitchen space.

When their family came to Sun Design they were seeking that vision.  The design team sat down with floorplan in hand and began envisioning the new space.

To start, Alice needed more preparation space and storage.  She needed a larger island for working on as her main hub when cooking with others present. This meant also creating more space for others to be in the kitchen with her without being in the path of cooking.  An obvious deterrent for interconnectedness was a knee wall between the kitchen and the living area.  In addition, the living area had a sunken floor.

How were we to give Alice more room, while giving her family and guests more space as well?  Knocking out the knee wall was simple enough, but we had to go further to really integrate the spaces – we had to raise the living room floor to be level with the rest of the kitchen area.  In this way, if guests chose to spend their time in the living room, they weren’t disconnected from Alice’s presence in the kitchen.  It would also enhance the size of the family room, making the space feel larger for those within it.

This alone was not her family’s full vision. They wanted space – and lots of it!  They shared with us that their greater intentions were to expand the kitchen back into unused deck space.  Their vision embraced an extra 8’ of kitchen space to the rear of the home.  This was going to take some architectural know-how.

A two-story home, taking only the kitchen back on the main level proposed structural issues for holding up the second floor and roof.  Our design team began exploring the best options for this massive addition.

Part of the true cohesion of the new kitchen vision was how seamlessly it integrated with the rest of the main floor, as if it was always a part of the home since its creation. To enhance the size of the space the design team decided to take out the entire back wall of the kitchen area and insert a 25’ long steel beam in the ceiling to take its place.  This enabled the kitchen to be extended an additional 8’ while still supporting the rear structure of the upper floor.

BEFORE/AFTER of Addition

Small details were also added, customizing their kitchen for Alice’s specific needs.  A double sink was installed – each sink large enough for a full baking sheet to be placed inside them.  The hardwood flooring was replaced along the first floor, and extra storage space was incorporated with an enlarged pantry and additional cabinetry.

As an added bonus to the addition, more natural lighting comes into the home through the added windows along the wall of the kitchen and in the living room, as well as the the new sliding glass door location.

Their kitchen is now a bright, spacious place of gathering for Alice’s family, friends and neighbors to all enjoy.  “We can actually have two people cooking, kids doing homework, and someone else warming up food with no more traffic jams.” Alice told us, “We love it!”



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We were thrilled with the work performed by Sun Design. We had used a different contractor to build a porch and it was an awful experience with long delays, so we were cautious. The Sun Design team listened to all our needs, presented multiple options to meet those needs at different price points, and delivered on time and on budget for our first floor renovation. They are exceptional at communicating with their clients on what to expect during each stage of the journey and carry our strongest recommendation.

Brendan Mahon



10/10 would highly recommend Sun Design. We found our kitchen layout was too small and wasn't working for us. We told Sun Design what our issues were and what was important to us, and their amazing design team created the kitchen of our dreams. It turned into a whole first floor transformation, moving kitchen, dining room, and living room around to a configuration that worked best for us.

Ashley Norman



I am a HUGE fan of Sun Design! The first time that we worked with them was over 15 years ago. We were ready to have a deck built, but not just any deck, and of course, Jeremy was the designer at that time and I remember how he went about designing it so that it looked like "part of the house" - It is beautiful. We recently refurbished it, and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Josie Zamolyi Caldwell



Sun Design transformed our "cookie cutter" house into a spectacular, unique home. Working with Ericka was a delight - her confidence and fun personality made the process enjoyable. Ours was a complete remodel - kitchen, family room, powder room, upstairs bathrooms, and some primary bedroom work. We loved working with Sun Design so much that we will be working with them again in the future when we are ready for an addition that will add a garage and in-law suite. Highly recommend!

Patti Ahlstrom



SunDesign came up with a creative design for our screened-in porch that beautifully fits into our existing landscape. Project was executed on budget and their craftsmanship is superb. Their responsiveness to a warranty issue we had with the door was immediately addressed. We highly recommend SunDesign — their teams are awesome to work with.

Gisela Ulmschneider



We had a fairly big project to build out part of our house. Sun Design has done a phenomenal job so far. We are getting close to complete. The design process was very collaborative and the execution of the build has gone well so far. Every part of the experience has been top quality and the team we are working with is amazing. The team is expensive but they are able to walk you through where every cent goes and why and they will look at different options to try to help reduce cost. They are well worth every penny. I would want to use Sun Design for any future projects and I highly recommend them.

Jen Navarro



Maryam and Jeff from Sun Design home care department are great to work with. Maryam is very responsive and attentive to all my inquiries. Jeff is my to go guy whenever I need work or maintenance in my property, very professional and thorough with his work. I have been a satisfied customer for 2 years now.

Brigitte Siegall



Sun Design handled the renovation of our large basement several years ago. We finished our laundry room and added two walls of built in cabinets, reconfigured a storage room and run-down kitchen into a guest room and sitting area, and finished a large rec room. Everything was redone - the floors, walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. Sun Design did a terrific job - the rooms look wonderful. Our house was built in 1962 and we had a number of glitches along the way. But Sun Design made sure that, at the end, everything looked and worked properly. I highly recommend them.

Susan Louis



I have been working with Sun Design for over 15 years. They are a great company to work with, very friendly and professional staff. They are very clean, responsive, respectful of your property and I have nothing but the great things to say about Sun Design.

Goran Zukic



This review is to introduce you to Sun Design services and to recommend them for your next project. We used Sun Design for a deck – sunroom redesign, and the end result exceeded our expectations. Sun Design is easy to work with, thinks creatively, and effectively communicates ideas to enhance projects, and thus Sun Design has my highest endorsement. The staff is knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly. They truly care about every aspect of the projects they do. They arrive on time and leave the place spotless when the work has been completed.

H. Milton Richardson

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