In the old kitchen, the fridge and stove were installed side by side -- an energy-efficiency no-no. "The fridge had to work overtime to keep itself cool when the stove was on," said Evette. "By moving the range to the new counter area, it created a better work flow and will save money on electricity bills."
Ed and Rachel, the homeowners, were drawn to IKEA's line of dark-wood cabinets. To keep the room looking bright and airy, Evette offset the deep chocolate stain with bright white countertops and pearly white hardware -- and, of course, the graphic glass backsplash.
DOOR TO DOOR: Akurum Cabinets with Liljestad Doors, ikea.com for stores and pricing information
After ripping out the couple's pink and white vinyl tile floor, Evette used recycled linoleum tiles to create a new plaid pattern. "This is a great way to get a custom look for a similar price," she said. "Buy different-colored tiles in matching sizes and lay them down in any design you like."
GROUND LEVEL: Marmoleum by Forbo Linoleum Floor Tiles, $5 to $7 per square foot 866-627-6653
"The Bar Code Recycled Glass tiles by Mixed-Up Mosaics really brought this kitchen to life," said Evette. But the tiles ($165 per square foot, 212-643-2426) served a purpose, too: Covering the entire wall linked the kitchen area to the breakfast nook, creating one large room.
A soft couch, throw pillows and a couple of slip-covered armchairs transformed the empty eating area into the comfiest landing spot in the house. "A sofa is perfect for tight spots because it seats a lot of people but takes up less room than a full set of chairs," said Evette.
STATE OF THE ART: Oil painting on wood panel dbaltzer.com for information
Rachel and Ed's top request: more storage! "I had annoying corner cabinets that I hardly ever accessed because they were so hard to reach," said Rachel. Evette started by doubling the number of cabinets in their kitchen, and choosing ones that were deeper and taller than their original set. To make sure each storage spot was easily accessible, she installed a slim, pull-out rack for stashing spices and outfitted the cabinets with swivel pull-out shelves. "We have so much more space for our things," said Rachel. "I actually look forward to cooking, now that I don't have to rummage through the cabinet black hole to find a pot."
SPICE TRAIL: Bamboo Base Filler Organizer rev-a-shelf.com for pricing information
The new farmhouse sink is deep enough to hold dozens of dishes and large enough to use as a work space by placing a cutting board on top. "The high faucet is helpful for filling tall pasta pots with water," said Evette.
FILL 'ER UP: DOMSJO Sink Bowl in white $186 ikea.com
In sharp contrast to the bright backsplash, Evette chose to cover the walls of the breakfast nook in calming neutrals. "Painting the ceiling and trim the same color creates an umbrella effect," she said. "It's a subtle eye trick, but it makes the room feel much warmer."
TRUE COLORS: BEHR Premium Plus Interior Kitchen & Bath Enamel in Raffia Cream (left) and Harvest Brown (right) $27 per gallon, behr.com
The new U-shaped layout allowed room for a slim bar area overlooking the kitchen. A pair of stools are flanked by tall base cabinets for storing the couple's odds and ends. "Evette thought of everything," said Ed. "She even turned one of the floor cabinets into a mini office for holding stationery supplies and bills."
COUNTER CULTURE: EcoTop Bamboo and Recycled Paper Countertop $35 per square foot, kliptech.com