Hello 1970’s split level! I like to think that this was a beauty back in the day, but that day was a distant memory when I saw it. Popcorn ceilings, imitation stone floors, builder grade cabinetry and asbestos riddled walls dominated the main level of the home.
The clients both love to cook – the original kitchen was a fine size for one cook, but difficult for two adults. They wanted an island, two sinks, a cooktop, double ovens and a bigger refrigerator. In order to get the clearance needed for these items we took out the walls that enclosed the kitchen.
The walls above look normal, right? Turns out they were riddled with asbestos that involved an expensive abatement that was emotionally and financially painful. Anyone out there who has a home older than 1980 needs to get their drywall, popcorn ceilings and other suspicious items tested for asbestos before demo.
The new kitchen sink is placed exactly where the old one was. The second sink is under the former dining room window. The sill heights were an almost perfect match for the new counters so we made the countertop the sill – the outlets there are accessed from the countertop. The floors are white oak with a clear, satin finish.
For me, windows and natural light in a kitchen are more important than a wall of cabinets. But, I’m a minimalist when it comes to kitchen gadgets. The food pantry is to the right of the refrigerator in case you’re wondering where that’s kept! The faucets are Delta’s Cassidy in Champagne Bronze. The cabinet hardware is from Emtek.
It’s hard to tell from this photo, but at the request of the client’s husband, we raised the island up about 2″ higher than the standard height so that he could feel more comfortable cooking. I’ve done this before in kitchens with taller clients who like to cook.
When you have a large open plan space, I think it’s important to create at least one intimate area where you can sit out of the way – either with your back to the wall or on the side of the action. Not all of us feel comfortable out in the open all the time. I think smaller spaces like the banquette above are a welcome zone in an open plan. The cabinets here are from a local, family owned company Sander and Sons who sell a few different American-made cabinets; these are Woodharbor cabinets out of Mason City, Iowa.
“The sun is up, the sky is blue; It’s beautiful, and so are you.” – John Lennon
Laura is a Denver Interior Designer who runs an Interior Design Studio based in sunny Colorado with a strong commitment to livable and interesting interiors. She also runs The Colorado Nest, a Denver blog about Design, Art and Life in the Mountain West and co-hosts the book podcast "The Inside Flap" on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.
View all posts by Laura Medicus Interiors
11 thoughts on “Before & After: 70’s Split Level Kitchen Transformation”
Simply AMAZING ! How you did that transformation, Harry Potter’s magic wand !
Thanks for sharing these kitchen designs!
Cool Kitchen Utensils
This is such a beautiful remodel. Where did you find the appliances? They go so perfectly with the look of the kitchen.
Thank you! Appliances are from Specialty Appliance in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Yes, they are from Woodharbor – there’s a link to them in the article.
Is there a color name/brand for the cabinets on the bottom?
I am also in Denver and love this remodel! May I ask the purpose of the second sink? Also, is there still a living room on the back side of the kitchen island chairs? Or is that part of the room something different now?
Hi Katie, thank you! Yes, that’s called a prep sink. I probably have those in about 1/3 of the jobs I do. People like them for the other cook that’s working with them. With clients who have a partner/spouse/child who also cooks, they have this sink for vegetable washing, handwashing, etc. That way they don’t bump into each other at the sinks. It’s a special request, but fairly common for people cook a lot.
Do you have any photos that show the living space that was originally adjacent to the dining room and wall? Our kitchen layout is exactly like this in our split level home, so I’m curious! Thanks!
HI Lindsay, I do not, sorry! It’s a long room with a fireplace at the end of it!