Rowhouse Retirement Begins With Modern Kitchen

Candice Olson helps a retired couple move into their dream house by gutting its kitchen.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThis kitchen is not exactly what the homeowners had in mind when they decided to settle here for retirement.
Before: Lacking Sophistication
Ken and Annette were longtime suburban dwellers, but their downtown jobs and long commutes left them longing to live in the heart of the city. They found the home of their dreams, a charming, Victorian heritage row house, during one of their long city walks. It needed tons of work, and they bought it with an eye to moving in slowly and retiring there for good.

While they wound up their life in the suburbs and planned the upcoming renovation, they let their three grown children become tenants in the new digs. But a year passed and the kids were making themselves too comfy. The place was even dirtier than before and was just one pizza box away from total kid domination.

Mom and dad wanted to reclaim their space, so they called me in to help figure out how to update the frat house disaster. My advice was to start with the heart of the home: the kitchen, which would help set the tone for the rest of the design. What better way to get rid of the kids than to undertake a massive renovation in their favorite room! So I gave the kids their walking papers, called in my crew and geared up to turn the awkward, dreary space into a sleek, updated kitchen for two: Ken and Annette.