Before and After: A Cleaner Kitchen

How a circa-1980s Arlington kitchen was transformed into a bright and open party zone.

Albert Morales and his family had been in their Arlington home for more than a decade when they decided it needed a refresh in 2014. Particularly problematic was the kitchen, which not only felt dark and dated (circa 1980s), but was awkwardly configured. It was hemmed in by two peninsula countertops—a design that often resulted in traffic jams when the family hosted parties of eight or more.

“There was a significant bottleneck in the kitchen whenever we entertained,” Morales recalls. Plus, the culinary zone’s functional areas weren’t well thought out. “The widely-spaced positioning of appliances and utilities meant that the cook would traverse the entire length of the kitchen several times in the course of preparing a meal,” he says. And there was little to no continuity between the kitchen and the adjacent family room.

Morales and his wife hired Dory Clemens, a designer with Lorton-based Foster Remodeling Solutions, to give their main floor a new look, with a layout that was more conducive to entertaining. Here’s what they did.

A before shot of the kitchen and breakfast nook.

Peninsula countertops separating the kitchen from the adjacent breakfast nook and family room were a continual source of traffic jams whenever the family hosted gatherings of eight or more.


Photo by Larry Golfer

The new layout is built around an L-shaped island wrapped in quartzite. The removal of a non-load-bearing wall between the kitchen and family room added usable square footage and gave the entire setup more circulation room. Now there’s a seamless flow between spaces.

Categories: Home & Design