When a Washington state family was reconfiguring their little kitchen and entrance, a small news story gave the design team a significant thought.
“The design group was inspired by an image we saw of someone who’d used signage to side cabinets,” says architect Stephanie Ingram of Fivedot Design Build. “We heard that Seattle was replacing their road signs and that the previous ones were for sale, so we had the thought to do some kind of project with them.” They thought the backsplash was the spot, and the homeowners consented.
They headed down to City of Seattle Surplus, in which the owners picked signs with tree titles from their neighborhood. The designers also expanded the kitchen and the entrance onto a tiny back porch, reconfigured the room to make it far more efficient and added new windows.
Job at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their two kids and 1 dog
Location: Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle
Size: Around 165 square feet, such as an entrance nook from the rear yard
The group cut the signs into tiles with a metal saw, cleaned them affixed them to the wall and then sprayed them with an acrylic clear coat to seal them.
BEFORE: Little windows, insufficient storage and a awkward entrance made for a dark and not very functional kitchen. The sign backsplash thought was part of a far larger kitchen remodel but is the component that provides the space its new personality.
Even though the layout looks like a random arrangement, it was planned out beforehand.
Besides the new windows, white cupboards plus recessed, overhead and undercabinet lighting keep the room light and bright.
“Using reused/recycled materials is a aim of all our work as part of our commitment to sustainability,” says Fivedot founder Geoff Piper. The countertops are PaperStone coated with mineral oil.
Learn more about countertops made from recycled paper
The flooring is marmoleum, another sustainable item.
A red drum pendant light provides just a hint of a stop sign or traffic light, for a daring streetscape colour palette.
BEFORE: Darkness in the kitchen lasted into the living room.
AFTER: Here is actually the view from the living room into the newly expanded kitchen. A bamboo end-grain counter doubles as a long cutting board, with bookshelves underneath around the living room side.
BEFORE: This old porch was absorbed into the new kitchen.
AFTER: The entrance is transformed; a little overhang protects anyone fumbling for keys on rainy Seattle days. “It is much better looking and functions as a transition into the house,” architect Ingram says.
Inside this transition space from out in, there is room for everyone in the household to wipe their feet, take off their shoes and arrange belongings in the storage seat, in cubbies and on the hooks. Coats, shoes, hats, mittens, leashes and other items do not make it any farther than this vestibule, keeping the house clean and coordinated. A glass door and two windows allow more light into the kitchen.
BEFORE: The strategy before the remodel.
AFTER: since you can see if comparing this latest strategy to the prior one, the upgraded kitchen moved into the old porch, and the architects added a new porch to the new entrance area.
The old kitchen “still stands as our ‘kitchen in need of a remodel,'” Ingram says. “It turned into a beautiful, light kitchen having a few interesting touches that work nicely within this traditional Seattle bungalow.”