Hidden corner kitchen opens up to guests

San Carlos, CA modern farmhouse kitchen renovation.

Full service design included kitchen planning, materials selection, cabinet layout and design, design oversight and renovation management.

Project Size:

San Carlos, CA
145 SF

Howard Kitchen Remodel Stools View Fl

The homeowners are busy professionals; a speech therapist and a tech start up entrepreneur with two young active kids. The home is a typical single story,  simple post-war bungalow built in the quaint suburbs of San Francisco Bay Area. 

As is typical with homes from this era, rooms tend to be “boxed in”. This kitchen was no exception. It sat in the corner of the house with walls that boxed it in keeping it private from the main areas of the house while offering minimal storage. Why did builders from this era do this? Perhaps it was helpful in keeping the kitchen mess hidden from guests. Regardless, it made the room feel isolated and claustrophobic.

With two active young children in the house, the homeowners wanted to keep a better “visual” on them. They also didn’t want to feel confined in the kitchen and closed off to what was happening with the rest of the house. However, they were very skeptical of opening up the kitchen with dishes and their kids’ mess in full view. They were lacking sufficient countertop space and needed help configuring the kitchen to gain more storage.


Site survey for photos and measurements. This is a tiny kitchen indeed!

Original Kitchen in San Carlos

BEFORE: Minimal countertop and storage space in this outdated kitchen with laminate countertops. 

Closed Off Kitchen

BEFORE: There’s a kitchen hidden behind those walls. A kitchen is the heart of the home, it should not be enclosed.

Planning and Design

We began by removing the two corner walls and extending the kitchen out a foot in to the adjacent dining room. This had the effect of instantly opening up the kitchen and made the room feel larger.  Having the kitchen open provided the homeowners the ability to monitor their young children while using the kitchen. Next, we added a “pony wall” to counters behind the sink. Doing so added a few key elements that were important to the homeowners. First it created a small separation and distinction between the two rooms. It allowed folks in the kitchen to stay connected and engaged with folks in the living room. We brought the pony wall up to “bar height” which allowed us to create additional counter space and additional casual seating. Lastly, the pony wall allowed dirty dishes to remain “out of sight” while entertaining (something that was important for the homeowners.)  Lastly, by extending the kitchen slightly into the dining room, this allowed for the migration of the fridge. Which, in turn, allowed us to create a walk-in pantry for additional storage.  

Kitchen Floor Plan

Proposed floor plan layout helps visualize how the space could work.

3d Kitchen Concept

Conceptual 3-D Designs help homeowners visualize key aspects of the to-be space.  

Kitchen, Dining Concept Board finishes selection

Concept Boards help homeowners appreciate the cohesion of the various finishes and gives a sense of the overall “look and feel” of the space.


During the construction phase, our weekly site visits provide opportunities for design oversight. Design oversight is where unexpected discoveries during the construction process can be addressed in a manner that preserves the design aesthetics. Issues such as unexpected placement of pipes, discovery of sheer walls or impacts of design changes on lighting plans are important to address before the installation of new finished walls and ceilings. 

Kitchen Construction

It’s great to see the concept is already making a huge impact to the space. It’s already bigger and brighter.

Kitchen Remodel Custom White Cabinets during construction administration

With the installation of cabinets, the space has considerably more storage and has an open feel. 


We utilized a combination of custom cabinetry, wrap-around-cabinets, reorganization of appliances and additional walk-in pantry to achieve a 50% increase in overall kitchen storage. We delivered, to the homeowners, everything they had hoped for and more. 

Howard Kitchen Remodel Long View Fl

AFTER: New European white oak engineered floors add warmth to the space. Kitchen and dining room are opened up and connected to one another.

Howard Kitchen Remodel Pantry Pano Fl

AFTER: Using two tone cabinets helped give dimensional interest to the kitchen space. Extra storage provided in the pantry with the addition of cabinets and floating shelves.

To view more photos from this project, please visit this link. Are you ready for a full kitchen remodel?

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