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Two-Cook Cottage Kitchen

A very small addition creates space for the entire family

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Project Floorplans

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Two-Cook Cottage Kitchen Floorplan: Before
Two-Cook Cottage Kitchen Floorplan: After

Before & Afters

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BEFORE: The cottage dining room is closed off from the kitchen.
Two-Cook Cottage Kitchen After 1
BEFORE: A cozy kitchen cramped for storage space.
Two-Cook Cottage Kitchen After 2

Project Details

Creative and healthy cooking for three active kids had been a real challenge in this little Cape Cod kitchen. With limited floor space and the passage to the basement stairs right through it, there were few good options for reconfiguring the layout. And, the budget was tight.

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Adding space was the only way to achieve the desired program of a two-cook kitchen with an eat-in counter. A simple rectangular addition, about 3 feet deep and 12 feet wide, allowed for a new U-shaped configuration for the cabinetry. During design development, it became clear that the kitchen needed four legs of cabinetry/counter to include all of the components and needed clearances.

The challenge was to add space and keep the budget tight. One parent had shifted to part time work, so income was limited. Working with a city home improvement loan program, provided part of the project funding in a way the family could afford.

The team considered adding the extra space on piers, rather than a foundation, in order to save cost. But, the finished first floor is only 18″ above grade, so the space between the floor system and the ground would be very tight. This would have caused a pest problem (Perfect for nesting rabbits). There was also a concern about the floors being cold with the pier framing system. So, even though it meant committing several thousand dollars of the budget, the owner and the contractor decided together that a block frost footing with full, upgraded insulation was worth the investment.

The choices about “the look” were pretty straight forward. The owner wanted a classic black and white, cottage kitchen that fit the tradition of the house. However, almost none of the cabinets were standard, box-cabinet sizes. Also, the owner wanted the matte, warm look of soapstone counters — another budget stretching item.

The cabinet solution came from a local cabinet manufacturer that offers fully customizable sizing within a “value-priced” cabinetry line. It meant quite a bit of extra work for the team to communicate the exact sizing of the cabinetry to the factory, but the final product was worth the effort.

The desired counter choice provided another cost-vs-design challenge. Soapstone was priced through several sources and just could not be made to fit within the budget. To give the softer look, a black granite was chosen and then honed by the fabricator. (Some months before, the contractor had seen the honing machine on a tour of the counter top facility — during a NARI event). The owner was thrilled with the solution.

A few weeks after they had settled in to the kitchen the owner expressed, “I just can’t believe we have this, I have to pinch myself!”

Client Needs

  • Create a two-cook kitchen
  • Tight budget
  • Use of a city subsidized loan program
  • Classic white cottage look
  • Keep the cozy feel and history of the old kitchen
  • Expensive taste


  • Sealed and insulated crawl space under addition
  • Upgraded insulation in new walls
  • Design of kitchen addition and roof structure planned to receive future mudroom


  • Honed granite mimics the feel of soapstone at budget
  • Custom touches; like vented door under sink, reference traditional features of original kitchen
  • Brought affordable alternatives for finishes and features
  • The finished product kept the cottage feel of the old kitchen in a contemporary, usable plan.


  • Careful layout by project team of custom-sized cabinetry – no standard pieces
  • Keep cabinetry lines clean with jog in the wall of addition
  • Custom designed pull out pot rack lets cookware hang efficiently out of sight
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