Everyone’s adding home offices. This family took one away, removing a wall to create a kitchen with spaces for both the adults and the baker in the household.
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large kitchen gray cabinets zones island
This area used to be an office. Now it's real estate for a teenager's baking hobby. A peninsula separates that zone from where "regular" cooking happens.
| Credit: Nathan Kirkman

When a Chicago family tasked designer Amy Storm with overhauling their1904 home's kitchen, she expanded the space by annexing a small office. That gave her room for the dedicated baking area and strategic storage her clients wanted, plus the merger capitalized on the office's corner windows. Stain-resistant quartz counters and subway tiles in light hues bounce all that new sunlight, but Storm made sure to mix in wood and charcoal paint, granting the family's final wish—go bright, but not all white.

Before and After: In the Zones

dated kitchen windows table before
large kitchen gray cabinets zones peninsula
Left: Before, the kitchen felt dark and cramped. | Credit: Courtesy of the family
Right: After removing the wall behind the refrigerator and replacing it with a peninsula, Chicago interior designer Amy Storm flopped the kitchen triangle, moving the fridge to the range's old spot. | Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Smart Storage Additions

Details make the difference. See the clever ways this kitchen's storage was upgraded to serve its family even better.

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Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Hidden Appliances

To the left of the refrigerator, an oversize toaster oven finds a dedicated slot. There's room to make breakfast on the pullout surface below—a nod to the hideaway cutting boards common in historic kitchens.

modern kitchen sink island mint collander
Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Prep Sink

The kitchen already had an island—Storm just made it work harder, moving the sink and dishwasher here from the window wall. A deep, wide farmhouse sink eases prep. Stools pull up to the other side.

modern kitchen gray walnut cabinets peninsula tile floor
Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Handsome Stowaways

Walnut cabinetry evokes vintage built-ins. Hidden toe-kick drawers hold cookie sheets. A mixer and blender slide out of the counter cabinet.

large kitchen gray cabinets zones peninsula
Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Zone Redo

Storm loaded the peninsula and island with storage so she could skip cabinets on this window wall. That opened up more floor space for the cook and guests.

kitchen open shelving white dishes detail
Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Open Shelves

Tucked under a counter, open shelving provides discrete, flexible, easy-access storage for dishes. The look channels the functionality of commercial kitchen shelving, yet with polished materials.

gray kitchen custom drawer microwave green pots pans spices
Credit: Nathan Kirkman

Clear Countertops

A built-in microwave near the range conserves counter space. Around it, custom drawers have distinct purposes—a spacious catch-all for pots, and a slim one for spices and condiments.

Designers Notebook

Learn about the materials Amy Storm used to achieve the desired eclectic look. 

CEMENT TILES

Strikingly patterned and a greener choice than porcelain, matte-finish cement tiles have soared in popularity. If you consider them, keep in mind that though durable, they're fussier to install and will develop a patina, even with sealing.

SUBWAY TILES

The homeowners like the Parisian bistro ambiance of floor-to-ceiling subway tile. Dark grout sharpens and updates the style (and masks stains better than white).

MIXED METALS

It's OK to match a little—just not too much. Satin nickel cabinet pulls mimic the stainless-steel appliances and have a traditional shape, while gunmetal and brass finishes take the light fixtures in a different direction. 

DARK WOOD

Storm ditched the dated all-wood look, then brought back the natural material in smaller doses. Walnut cabinets, barstools, and accent shelves warm the white and gray palette and echo floors in adjacent rooms.