They started with a dark 1925 kitchen Essay

Update the kitchen, relate it to a formal dining space, bring in asmuch light as possible, and retain some of the 1925 spirit of the house.

These were the challenges Pat and Steve Wong put to Seattle architectCharles Kato. Structural changes were minimal. Kato removed the nonbearing wallbetween kitchen and dining room. Closing up a kitchen door leadingoutside to a deck (still accessible through the dining room) gave spacefor a 11-1/2-foot-long greenhouse window that brings in morning lightand a view of the Cascades.

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Between kitchen and dining spaces, a rounded peninsula–one end ofthe kitchen’s new U-shaped work counter–houses a cooktop on thekitchen side (at a height of 36 inches), then drops to 30 inches on thedining room side to form a tailored bar for informal dining or buffets.Light-colored paint and wood tones help brighten the area and make thecounter a focal point. Built-in stove vents keep cooking odors frominvading the dining space. Upholstered benches fit neatly under the peninsula.

Solidly builtand covered with a commercial-grade fabric, they are stain-resistant andcan stand up to rugged wear without detracting from the diningarea’s formal look. Light now enters the kitchen and dining roomon three sides. To supplement the custom-made greenhouse window andexisting exterior windows, Kato replaced heavy, dark wood interior doorsand side panels with glass-paned ones. The result is a 1980s lightlevel with a period look.

For evening and unusually dark days, the area over the work counterhas ceiling soffit lights; under the hanging cabinets are fluorescentstrips. Old fir floors covered with linoleum and carpet were replaced withwhite oak with a Swedish finish. Light, durable, and easy to clean, thenew floors also lend a 1920s ambience.


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