Tiny Project Mushroomed into Huge Renovation

Reshaping her tiny kitchen mushroomed into a total first-floor renovation.

By Beverly Fusco, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

After Kitchen Photo

After Kitchen Photo

Entertaining wasn't as much fun as it should have been when I had to fix meals in our small U-shaped kitchen.

The shape seemed like a good idea when we built our home 15 years ago in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. It worked fine if I was in the kitchen alone. But add a few family helpers (we have two grown daughters, a son in college and three grandchildren) and cooking quickly became a hassle.

We love where we live and didn't want to move. So my husband, Jim, and I decided to remodel. Once we got started, the kitchen expansion ballooned into an entire first-floor renovation that included a refurbished foyer, redecorated dining room and a new study.

Before Kitchen Photo

Jim, who works for a real-estate development company, had a 10-foot-square office behind the kitchen that we wanted to use for the expansion. We also had a formal living room that we rarely used. It seemed only natural to turn the living room into an office/study, adding French doors for privacy.

We tore down the old office walls and removed the half-wall separating the kitchen from the family room. That opened up the whole back of our house, which now functions as a great room.

With the new kitchen area established, the remodeling got under way. We replaced the old kitchen window with a double window and constructed a window seat below it. It's a wonderful spot to display plants and collectibles.