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How to Solve Three Common Renovation Issues

Three award-winning designers explain how to deal with a narrow kitchen, install a second bathroom, and handle an old wet bar.

A kitchen designed by Susan Fredman Design Group
Photos: (projects) Courtesy of designers; (products) courtesy of vendors

Problem: How can you make the most of a narrow kitchen?
Designers: Jamie Myers and Amanda Zitlin, Susan Fredman Design Group, Chicago
What they did: Merging the original tiny kitchen in this 1889 Streeterville rowhouse with an adjoining sitting room resulted in a bowling-alley layout. Myers and Zitlin made it feel roomy and elegant with a simple color scheme, white cabinets, a floor-to-ceiling pantry, and marble countertops and backsplashes. The clients even got their dream: an island (albeit a humble four-by-two-foot one).The dual-toned maple countertop and pendants from Arteriors Home lend some drama.

Antique brass utility latches

Get the look

Mix modern and vintage-style hardware. Antique brass utility latches, $16, rh.com


A wet bar designed by Brandie McCoy, Bradford & Kent Custom Remodeling

Problem: What to you do with an old wet bar? (Hint: Get rid of it!)
Designer: Brandie McCoy, Bradford & Kent Custom Remodeling, Downers Grove
What she did: McCoy is on a mission to give wet bars new life. Lately, she’s been using wet-bar plumbing to accommodate custom beverage centers. This one, in the family room of a house in Lake Barrington (which McCoy designed while working for Barrington-based Insignia Kitchen and Bath) has an icemaker, refrigerator drawers, wine storage, and a coffee system. Best part: It looks like a classy armoire.

Miele’s CVA 4066

Get the look

Miele’s CVA 4066 has an integrated milk tank for frothing. $3,299, mieleusa.com


A bathroom designed by The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn

Problem: How can you make room for a second bathroom when there really isn’t any?
Designer: Susan Klimala, The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn
What she did: Owners of older homes with just one full bathroom often find themselves yearning for another—for guests, significant others, kids. But where to put it? Klimala solved this dilemma for a client with a turn-of-the-century 11/2-bath house in Glen Ellyn by combining two back-to-back closets in adjoining upstairs bedrooms into one wet-room- style full bath. The result is a long, narrow (39 by 79 inches) space with a wall-mounted toilet; a hanging vanity with a recessed towel bar; and an open, curb-free shower (common in Europe).

Good idea: A flip-up teak bench and a built-in storage niche save space.

Wetstyle’s Metro vanity

Get the look

Wetstyle’s Metro vanities are perfect for tight spots. About $3,000, Studio 41.


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