All Posts in Residential

October 25, 2019 - No Comments!

Full-Service Design Case Study: Tiny Kitchen Overhaul

When a young father came to us wanting help updating a small house in an older neighborhood in Omaha, NE we jumped at the challenge. And it was certainly a challenge since the kitchen was one of the weirdest layouts we've seen!

It's a little hard to tell the odd configuration from the before photo below, but the stairs to the master bedroom (formally the attic) are right off the kitchen and adjacent to the dining room. (Catch a peek of the stairs in the photo above.) Oh, and the kitchen is also a pass-through to the basement stairs and garage because the Universe really wanted to throw us a curve ball. So two deep, freestanding appliances right in the walkway was another issue. The budget did not accommodate for a major structural remodel so we had to get a little crafty trying to maximize the footprint as much as possible.

Our design plan included reconfiguring the space for better functionality, selecting all the finishes, procurement of those finishes, and then also coordinating construction and installation for the kitchen and dining room. The project moved fairly quickly thanks to a very organized and motivated homeowner who actually did all his own tile work under the supervision of his grandfather who was a master tile layer for decades. We're still impressed with how handy our client is!


  • With a mini "butler's pantry" in mind, we recessed the counter to widen the doorway area just enough that it didn’t feel claustrophobic anymore. And we chose to do floating shelves instead of an upper cabinet to keep the space more open.


  • The pass through now has a countertop island with seating and a little bit of extra storage carved out of the living room.
  • The refrigerator is in built-in cabinetry to the right of the sink.

  • We added better scaled, counter-depth appliances and took cabinetry up to the ceiling for extra storage and to make the space feel bigger. (In small spaces, the key is to go vertical.)
  • The previous layout had no real place for meal prep so we snuck in a couple of feet of countertop next to the cooktop.
  • A good place to add a little wow factor is in your cabinet hardware, especially if you don't have to get a ton of it. We selected real brass (heavy) decorative knobs and pulls to give the petite space an elevated feel.

  • Though our main focus was on function we didn't overlook style and sourced a printed porcelain floor tile reminiscent of cement tile but with more durability for the heavily trafficked area. Then we coordinated the look of the small dining room to the finishes happening a few feet away.

Before Images

This chandelier was NOT real crystal and not the right vibe.

Interested in learning more about the process and average budgets for Full-Service design?Get a better understanding HERE.