By Jessica JG Neal 

Having a clean, organized and extremely functional kitchen space is a lifesaver to any household, especially in the busy world most of us live in these days. I recently had the pleasure of helping a client attain an amazing new kitchen in Cocoa Beach.

In order to meet the client’s needs I implemented the following tricks, which can be used in any home:

1. Open up the space

In this case, there was already an opening into the living space, however, I enlarged it by taking out the cabinets above and extending the opening to the ceiling. The entire condo looks double the size after this simple change.

2. Maximize storage space

The existing pantry closet was not efficient for storage, so I replaced this with two matching pantries on each side ofUntitled-1 the windows. I also had a custom cabinet built where the straight wall meets the angled wall – this allowed counter space, storage and function in every nook – no matter the shape!

3. Provide ample counters for food prep

We also made sure to get more counter space between the refrigerator and stove (there was none here before) for a place to pour drinks and set food down.

4. Add custom cabinet storage accessories

Next to the stove I placed a knife drawer, which allows you to store your sharp objects somewhere other than on top of the counter. In the cabinet on the other side of the stove, I’ve added a tray organizer for easily storing cookie sheets and pans vertically.

5. Upgrade lighting 

Add feature light, task lighting (high-hats) and under counter lights. Little did the client know that underneath the terrible drop ceiling panels with florescent light strip was a nice clean ceiling pop up. The overall height of the ceiling in this particular kitchen was low, so any added vertical space was a bonus. Once the new ceiling was exposed, I added a beautiful feature light in the center. It made the biggest change and was one of the easiest projects of the entire renovation.

6. Replace outdated materials 

Cabinets, counters, backsplash and floors. Here we decided to go with maple cabinets with a honey spice stain, beautiful white ice granite countertops, glass backsplash and cherry wood flooring.

7. Select easy to clean surfaces

Starting with the floors, cherry wood will not show stains as easily as the outdated white tile that was there prior to renovation. The new countertop and glass backsplash are nice and smooth, allowing them to be wiped down easily.

8. Buy new appliances

All matching stainless steel appliances instantly update the look of any kitchen. Splurge on a great refrigerator and dishwasher – you won’t regret it!

9. Install new hardware

Even if your budget doesn’t allow for new cabinets, the simple task of changing out your knobs and handles to something new, clean and even colorful can give your space and your mood a boost.

10. Unexpected choices

This came in the form of darker grout. Sure, clean bright white is nice and fresh, but it doesn’t usually last that way for very long in the kitchen! Here, I decided to work with a bright gray grout that looks just as great and is way easier to keep clean.

Screen-Shot-2015-02-26-at-2.15.30-PMJessica JG Neal, StylebyJG.com
Designer JG Neal trained at Pratt Institute and has been featured on HGTV as well as in Design Bureau Magazine. Her focus is on re-designing and styling using the furniture, art and accessories you already own. Helping clients to repurpose spaces, solve problem areas and clear clutter with artful organization solutions.

This article appears in the March 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living.
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