RJ lives in one of the many picturesque suburban communities that lies in the shadow of Harrisburg. Situated on a bend of the Conodoguinet Creek, his neighborhood is a wonderful place to raise a family and enjoy a lifestyle filled with friends and neighbors. Known for its beautifully maintained homes, streets with sidewalks, and a location that's a short commute into the capital, RJ's community checks all of the boxes. Development in the neighborhood started in the early 1980's and was largely complete ten years later. The homes are traditional with most being center hall colonials with the living room to the right, sitting room to the left, and kitchen, great room and dining room in the back of the home. Mother Hubbard's has been fortunate to work with a number of families and homes in this neighborhood over the years, so when we got the call from local radio host RJ Harris to discuss his family's desire for a new kitchen, we were thrilled at the opportunity.
From Staid Center Hall Colonial to Open Concept Home for EntertainingRJ and his wife are blessed with a large, loving house full of children who are now building lives and families of their own. When it comes time to gather, RJ's home is almost always the rendezvous point. With children, grandchildren and extended family, guest lists can easily top a dozen people. It was clear to RJ and his wife that the time had come to remodel the kitchen and great room into a more unified space that would bring everyone together.
The first shared objective was to open up the kitchen to the great room, creating an open space that would be perfect for gatherings. To accomplish this, we knocked out a knee wall that separated the kitchen and great room, and widened the opening to nearly 11 feet. By replacing the existing tile floor in the kitchen with a wood floor that matches the floor in the great room, we created a single visual plane that unified the spaces.
Creating a Larger, More Functional KitchenHaving worked in RJ's neighborhood on previous occasions, we knew to expect certain features in the construction of the home. First, like other homes in the development, RJ's kitchen had 8-foot ceilings with 24" soffits that circled the room and extended past the cabinetry. The soffits were created by the developer for two reasons. First, they filled in the gap between the ceiling and the economical, builder-standard 30" high wall cabinets. Second, the soffits helped to conceal plumbing mechanicals from the bathrooms above, which saved on construction costs. Unfortunately, the deep soffits also had the negative effect of visually lowering the ceilings and making the entire kitchen feel smaller. We knew that removing the soffits would allow us to install taller, ceiling-height upper cabinetry, but first we had to deal with the mechanical items that the soffits were hiding. Working with our plumbing partner, we found a way to move a few mechanical bits that allowed for the removal of all soffits with the exception of a short span above a double-hung window. This remaining length of soffit became nearly invisible as we reduced the depth to a mere 12". The transformation, as shown in the before and after pictures below, is dramatic. The ceiling seems higher and the entire space more open and inviting.
As planned, the builder-standard 30" upper cabinetry was replaced by Mother Hubbard's Signature line of custom cabinets that extend to the ceiling. Finished in white and married to the ceiling by custom trim that frames the entire room, the cabinets look fully integrated into the design of the home. We also incorporated design and cabinetry details for which Mother Hubbard's kitchens are known including full-access drawers, pull-out pantries, under cabinet lighting and outlets, and recessed LED ceiling lights installed on an electronic dimmer.