Kitchen of the Week: Midcentury Style, Chalkboard and Light

This kitchen at Seattle’s Blue Ridge area was in dire need of a makeover, and the owners needed to maintain the feel of the midcentury home while adding storage, new appliances and a fresh appearance.

Geoff Piper, direct designer Stephanie Ingram along with the staff at Fivedot Design Build opened up the 100-square-foot kitchen into the adjacent rooms for a combined cooking, entertaining and living space. Ecofriendly cabinetry, salvaged chalkboard countertops and stainless steel appliances have been set up for a classic and practical appearance that blends with the remainder of the home’s layout.


Three walls of windows open up the kitchen into natural light. Piper replaced the house’s first single-pane windows to assist the kitchen maintain a more constant temperature in Seattle’s cold winters.

At first, the window walls presented some challenges into the electrical function. The house’s midcentury roof structure meant there wasn’t any obvious means to run wiring to the ceiling, along with the windows prevented using the walls. “We had to do some very creative wiring and then use some exposed conduit to find the lights and switches at which we needed them,” says Piper.

Countertop and pub top: ReStore; pub stools: Modernica Case Study Dowel Barstool


Using substances that are kind to the environment, and the household’s wellbeing, was important to Piper. The black countertop consists of repurposed school chalkboards from a local salvage source store. After being cut to size and their edges, they have been finished with mineral oil for an easy-to-clean surface.

Ecofriendly cabinetry made out of plywood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and formaldehyde-free glue is topped with a gorgeous walnut veneer. Piper had the cabinets completed with a UV-cured substance that eliminates most of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Vibrant turquoise and orange accents inside a few of the shelving include a playful touch without becoming overpowering.

Read more about ecofriendly kitchen cabinets

Cabinetry, shelving: Kerf Design; refrigerator: KitchenAid


BEFORE: Outdated cabinetry took up visual space from the kitchen but did not provide enough storage to the household. Piper and his staff carefully planned the new space around the household storage and space needs.

“We spent quite a little time thinking about where each small thing goes, but ended up deciding that it had been better to look for a great, basic kitchen with storage that could be flexible,” says Piper. “Too many special storage options would have led to a small disjointed layout” Instead, the group chosen for large drawers that may be divided as needed.


AFTER: Among the team’s major problems was figuring out the height location for the cabinetry within the counter. It needed to be reduced enough to be accessible, but if too low would obstruct the view into the kitchen. In the end, they put little-used and display items within this cabinet and left up it to fully open up the space.

Dishwasher: Bosch; array: Bluestar 36-inch; hood: Vent-A-Hood; dining table: proprietor

Photos courtesy of Kerf Design

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