Interior walls came out, peninsula went in Essay

“It was incredibly dark,” architect Myra Brocchini says of
the original kitchen in this 1910 Berkeley brown-shingle house.
“It had only three windows, and they were all in the east wall
facing a huge hedge. The space itself was cut up, and cut off from an
attractive south-facing garden by an enclosed service porch and a tiny,
unused maid’s room.”

Her solution was to remove interior walls and made the back of the
house into one big room. To get as much light as possible into the new
space, she put windows and a pair of French doors in the south wall of
the house, overlooking a new deck and the garden. With so much natural
light, she could fill in the ineffective east-facing windows and use the
extra wall space for cabinets.

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Brocchini replaced the kitchen’s former south wall with a
4-by-12 beam, under which is a 2 1/2- by 11-foot butcher-block
peninsula. Separating cooking and dining areas, the peninsula is fitted
with kitchen cabinets on one side, book and display shelves on the


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