How to Create an Open-Concept in a 90s-Era Home

Creamy white cabinets offered a significant amount of storage options for the owners, along with ample countertop space for meal prep.

Transforming Outdated 90s Spaces into Contemporary Havens

Remember our 1990s transformation tips for bathrooms and kitchens? Well today we’re continuing our series by stepping into another 90s-era conundrum: how to open up a 1990s home layout.

The decade of the 90s has plenty of nostalgia, but unfortunately, that same admiration doesn’t usually extend to the layout of homes built at that time. Kitchens tended to be closed off from the rest of the home (rather than as a place to accommodate a gathering of people together). Similarly, living rooms were cramped and sectioned off, flanked oftentimes by unnecessary walls, columns, and doors to create a private area. In today’s world, however, having an open space that feels connected – from the kitchen to the living and dining rooms – is much preferred over separate smaller areas. Thus, remodeling the 90s-era layout is a must. If you’ve got a layout in need of an overhaul, you’re not alone. Read on for two of our project reveals where we did just that, and remember that a refresh is attainable – it just takes a touch of creativity!

Pheasant Ridge Road

While the original kitchen in this home had perfectly functional amenities (bar seating and an adjoining dinette space, to name a few), it felt cramped and too closed off from the rest of the space. The wall to the left of the sink blocked the view to the great room and the pantry and island on the back end of the kitchen left only a small and narrow hallway to get to the nearby dining room.

A sneak peek of our transformation from this 90s kitchen to its new open floor plan.

A sneak peek of our transformation from this 90s kitchen to its new open floor plan.

The solution was to open everything up while still maintaining the general layout of the original kitchen. We removed the wall between the kitchen and great room, which then allowed us to revamp the peninsula into a huge curved island that could accommodate our clients’ growing extended family. The original small kitchen island was removed as well, which instantly made the space feel larger and less cluttered, making way for easy access via both sides of the new curved island. Additionally, we replaced the original pantry with a much more user-friendly setup, including a coffee and wine nook that allowed for daily use and plenty of extra built-in storage (not to mention a more seamless transition into the dining room). Keeping to the grey and white scheme, we paired grey quartz countertops with creamy white cabinets and a coat of Sherwin Williams Dovetail on the walls for an overall chic, but welcoming, vibe.

BEFORE

In the original 90s-era layout, a solid wall separated the kitchen from the great room, causing the space to feel cramped and too small.

In the original 90s-era layout, a solid wall separated the kitchen from the great room, causing the space to feel cramped and too small.

Pre-remodel, the pantry was handy for storage, but without easy access or organization, it lacked functionality and felt overly full. Additionally, it was cumbersome with a swinging door and an immovable load-bearing header above and a mechanical chase in the corner (which we knew we had to later incorporate into our design).

Pre-remodel, the pantry was handy for storage, but without easy access or organization, it lacked functionality and felt overly full. Additionally, it was cumbersome with a swinging door and an immovable load-bearing header above and a mechanical chase in the corner (which we knew we had to later incorporate into our design).

The adjoining dining room was only accessible via a narrow hallway due to the placement of the pantry in the original layout, and the load-bearing header was visible just above the doorway.

The adjoining dining room was only accessible via a narrow hallway due to the placement of the pantry in the original layout, and the load-bearing header was visible just above the doorway.

This wall hid the great room just beyond, creating a dark corner and a kitchen that felt closed in.

This wall hid the great room just beyond, creating a dark corner and a kitchen that felt closed in.

This back view of the wall separating the kitchen and great room shows just how small the kitchen appeared thanks to feeling completely closed off from the rest of the space.

This back view of the wall separating the kitchen and great room shows just how small the kitchen appeared thanks to feeling completely closed off from the rest of the space.

AFTER

A large curved kitchen island offered so much more seating capacity than its previous set up, in addition to visually opening up the space between the kitchen and great room.

A large curved kitchen island offered so much more seating capacity than its previous set up, in addition to visually opening up the space between the kitchen and great room.

Creamy white cabinets offered a significant amount of storage options for the owners, along with ample countertop space for meal prep.

Creamy white cabinets offered a significant amount of storage options for the owners, along with ample countertop space for meal prep.

The new corner coffee and wine nook opened up the previously-closed off pantry space, providing essential daily function and a more spacious entrance to the dining room. In addition, we were able to keep the header in place in a visually appealing way by creating a soffit detail to hide it and make it appear as an intentional architectural element. Furthermore, the mechanical chase was strategically hidden by the slight bump out in the corner of the coffee nook between both cabinets.

The new corner coffee and wine nook opened up the previously-closed off pantry space, providing essential daily function and a more spacious entrance to the dining room. In addition, we were able to keep the header in place in a visually appealing way by creating a soffit detail to hide it and make it appear as an intentional architectural element. Furthermore, the mechanical chase was strategically hidden by the slight bump out in the corner of the coffee nook between both cabinets.

The now-opened up hallway between the kitchen and dining room became a new focal point, allowing for a unique display of our clients’ vintage wooden boards and paddles.

The now-opened up hallway between the kitchen and dining room became a new focal point, allowing for a unique display of our clients’ vintage wooden boards and paddles.

The new sink view provided a seamless transition between the kitchen and breakfast nook.

The new sink view provided a seamless transition between the kitchen and breakfast nook.

Arabian Court

As you may have seen from our recent Jordan Whole Home Project Reveal series, this home was firmly rooted in 1990s-era style, complete with individually partitioned and separated rooms, cherry trim and cabinets, and heavy built-ins throughout. And while the house itself was quite spacious in terms of square footage, it was hard to tell since everything was so segregated. There was a lack of flow between the kitchen and dining room (a difficult situation especially when hosting), and the kitchen’s island bar was far too small to accommodate our clients’ family size (let alone offer a space to comfortably prepare each meal). The living room, too, felt far too small, barricaded in by angled walls and wood columns. What the space needed was to be opened up dramatically to really take advantage of what it had to offer.

We made several drastic improvements, including removing the wall between the kitchen and living room, as well as the wall going into the dining room. In fact, the entire space was opened up fully with no walls separating any corner at all. Rather, furniture was strategically arranged to provide visual separation, and because of this, the main floor instantly felt enormous by comparison to its previous arrangement. Natural light was able to flood unobstructed into every nook, and the layout’s flow made far more sense for keeping things organized and free of clutter. The kitchen, too, received a major upgrade with a spacious kitchen island that comfortably sat six and a smooth transition from the newly-remodeled kitchen to the airy back screened-in porch. The overall effect was welcoming and bright.

BEFORE

The original living room flowed into the kitchen, but despite the large entryway, it felt closed-off and too dark.

The original living room flowed into the kitchen, but despite the large entryway, it felt closed-off and too dark.

AFTER

Without a single wall separating the living room and kitchen, the space felt open and airy, yet still intimate, thanks to the strategic arrangement of the furniture and decor.

Without a single wall separating the living room and kitchen, the space felt open and airy, yet still intimate, thanks to the strategic arrangement of the furniture and decor.

BEFORE

Multiple walls separated the living room from the kitchen and entryway, with outdated and unnecessary intricate combinations of arches, columns, and built-in nooks.

Multiple walls separated the living room from the kitchen and entryway, with outdated and unnecessary intricate combinations of arches, columns, and built-in nooks.

The view from the kitchen to the living room was blocked by bulky walls and outdated light fixtures, making the space feel smaller than it actually was.

The view from the kitchen to the living room was blocked by bulky walls and outdated light fixtures, making the space feel smaller than it actually was.

The archway and built-in wine and coffee nook in the original kitchen had the effect of creating a cramped space, and while it was functional, it was not aesthetically pleasing.

The archway and built-in wine and coffee nook in the original kitchen had the effect of creating a cramped space, and while it was functional, it was not aesthetically pleasing.

This space was the former home office, so in order to create a roomy dining space and larger kitchen, we opened this wall up and transformed it into a dedicated dining room.

This space was the former home office, so in order to create a roomy dining space and larger kitchen, we opened this wall up and transformed it into a dedicated dining room.

AFTER

The new dining room was open and connected to the rest of the main floor, allowing for easy access from the adjoining kitchen.

The new dining room was open and connected to the rest of the main floor, allowing for easy access from the adjoining kitchen.

An extra-spacious kitchen island anchored the newly remodeled space, providing seating for up to six people and plenty of room for meal prep and entertainment needs.

An extra-spacious kitchen island anchored the newly remodeled space, providing seating for up to six people and plenty of room for meal prep and entertainment needs.

A set of new sliding doors created a seamless visual transition between the kitchen and screen porch, allowing endless natural light to fill the space.

A set of new sliding doors created a seamless visual transition between the kitchen and screen porch, allowing endless natural light to fill the space.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to take the leap and transform your 90s-era layout? Contact us today to hear all about how we can help you achieve the space of your dreams. It’s never too late!

By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Sneak Peek Design

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  1. June 28, 2020, 1:17 am
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  2. June 28, 2020, 3:40 am
    1. June 28, 2020, 12:41 pm

Hi, I'm Carla and I've been creating unique and creative spaces all over the USA for over 20 years.Read More

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