When the kitchen in Winter Park's historic Casa Feliz was renovated recently, the designers were faced with three challenges. They had to maintain some measure of historical accuracy, adapt to the needs of modern caterers, and work within the confines of a long, narrow space.
Homeowners rarely have to deal with historians or caterers when designing new kitchens or remodeling old ones. But as the trend toward smaller, more-efficient homes gains momentum, so does the need to adapt to less-expansive kitchens.
In the 1930s, when Casa Feliz was built, and up until the 1980s, kitchens tended to be compact, isolated, food-preparation rooms, said William Burke of S & W Kitchens in Longwood. He oversaw the design and installation of the renovated kitchen in Casa Feliz, which is located at 656 N. Park Ave.
But with the popularity of open-plan homes over the last three decades, kitchens expanded into spaces for dining, entertaining, doing homework, paying bills and watching TV.
Kitchens became common ground, said architect Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big House. But they also became ground zero for noise, mess and cooking smells.
As a result, homeowners now feel the need to put at least some "psychological distance" between the kitchen and the family room, dining room and other adjoining spaces, she says.
Designers are responding by positioning islands, bar counters and cabinetry to achieve some degree of separation. The narrow galley kitchen, with its two parallel counters, is the ideal design for maximum efficiency in this reduced space.
The Casa Feliz kitchen, which is open for free tours from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday and Thursday, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, offers a number of "dos" for galley design, said Burke. But also one "don't.",
A light stain on the cabinets would have visually expanded the narrow room, he said. Instead, a dark chestnut stain was used for historical reasons; it matches the color on the only remaining original cabinet in the house.
The refrigerator, stove, range hood and soapstone counter tops are also dark. While the color doesn't brighten the room, it does unify all the elements, making the narrow space feel streamlined and uncluttered — a definite "do.".
Also on the positive side, the triangular layout of the sink, stove and refrigerator makes the three key work stations easily accessible, while keeping people working at each from backing into one another. And under-counter lighting provides additional brightness.
The alder-wood cabinets were customized to follow the original blueprints, said Douglas Huertas of Omega Cabinetry, which supplied the cabinets for the $95,000 kitchen.
But the cabinets also were adapted to the galley layout, he said. And to make the wall cabinets seem more open, they were fitted with glass-paneled doors and sides.
Writen By Jean Patteson ORLANDO SENTINEL STAFF WRITER she can be reached at 407-420-5158 or email@example.com.