Kitchen remodels can breathe new life into outdated homes, and this stunning transformation of a 1950s Texas ranch house is no exception. The original closed-off kitchen was dark and cramped, but the redesign opened up the space and unified it with the rest of the home’s mid-century modern aesthetic.

Challenges of the Original Kitchen Layout

The existing kitchen in this suburban Dallas home was very typical of its era. The space featured classic 1950s design elements like mint green metal cabinets, checkerboard vinyl floors, and glass block walls dividing it from the dining room. However, years of renovations had left the kitchen disjointed and dysfunctional.

Some of the specific problems with the old kitchen layout included:

  • Clunky Peninsula: A large peninsula jutted out from one wall, making the traffic flow awkward and limiting work space.
  • Poor Lighting: The room felt dark and gloomy due to the glass block walls and an inadequate number of fixtures.
  • Dated Materials: In addition to the dated cabinets and floors, the countertops were worn laminate and the appliances badly needed replacing.
  • Closed Off: Solid walls separated the kitchen from the rest of the open floor plan, creating an isolated, cave-like feeling.

Clearly the space was ripe for a renovation to create a lighter, more unified and functional kitchen.

Design Approach: Opening Up and Streamlining

The homeowners wanted to fix the kitchen’s flaws and integrate it with the home’s original midcentury architecture. To accomplish this, the designers focused on:

  • Removing Barriers: Taking down the walls around the kitchen opened sight lines and made the space feel more connected.
  • Allowing More Light: Putting in large windows and skylights brightened the previously dim kitchen.
  • Simplifying Layout: Getting rid of the peninsula and unnecessary cabinetry freed up room to move around in.
  • Adding On-Trend Touches: Details like brass hardware, subway tile and open shelving gave the kitchen a fresh, contemporary edge.

Transforming a Dark, Separated Kitchen into an Open, Bright Gathering Space

Eliminating the Peninsula

The remodelers removed the bulky peninsula that jutted out from one wall, visually separating the kitchen space. This opened up the traffic flow. New countertops were added against the walls, creating ample workspace.

Opening Sight Lines

Taking down the ceiling-height walls around the kitchen instantly made the space feel less isolated. The glass block wall looking into the dining room was replaced with a wide opening lined with trim.

Letting Light In

Previously, the only natural light came from a small window above the sink. The redesign brought in sunlight with new windows and 3 skylights in the ceiling. This made the previously dim galley kitchen feel bright and airy.

Rethinking Storage Needs

With the walls gone, there was opportunity to rethink the cabinetry layout. Unnecessary upper cabinets were removed. This kept sight lines open without sacrificing storage. New cabinets offered better organization.

Adding On-Trend Finishes

The homeowners wanted to move fully away from the outdated 1950s look. New touches like marble-look quartz countertops, brass hardware, subway tile backsplash and open shelving gave the kitchen a fresh, contemporary style.

Tying Design Together

To unify the new kitchen with the midcentury modern home, details like wood ceiling beams, globe pendant lighting and bi-fold doors were incorporated. The open layout also blended the kitchen seamlessly into the living areas.

Outcome: A Unified Cooking Space That Pays Homage to Its Roots

The transformation unified and modernized the once closed-off and outdated kitchen. By opening up sight lines and letting in natural light, the space feels connected to the rest of the home. Strategic layout changes and an updated color scheme and finishes give the kitchen contemporary functionality.

At the same time, the renovation honors the integrity of the mid-century ranch house. The open concept floor plan and signature architectural details work together with the home’s original charm. This harmonious remodeling project achieved a brighter, more livable kitchen without compromising the house’s roots. The end result is a distinctive cooking space the whole family enjoys.

Frequently Asked Questions About Unifying Kitchen Remodels

Kitchen remodels that aim to unify old, closed-off spaces are complex projects requiring strategic design choices. Here are answers to some common questions about opening up and harmonizing kitchens.

How Much Does It Typically Cost to Unify a Separated Kitchen?

The cost can vary greatly based on the scope of work needed. But expect to invest $30,000 to $60,000 to open walls, update finishes, improve lighting and streamline the layout. High-end appliances and custom cabinetry will increase costs.

What are the Most Important Design Elements for Connecting a Kitchen?

Removing physical barriers between the kitchen and other living spaces is key. Strategically placed windows, skylights and fixtures open up sight lines and introduce natural light. A cohesive color palette and complementary materials also help the kitchen feel connected.

Should Appliances Be Matched When Unifying a Kitchen?

Matching major appliances with the same finish creates visual harmony. However, mixing metals like stainless steel and black or white finishes can work in contemporary kitchens. The overall aesthetic and function are more important than perfectly matching appliances.

How Can Storage Be Maintained When Walls Come Down?

Cabinetry can often be reconfigured to add functionality to remaining kitchen walls. Island bars and peninsulas make great additional workstations. Open shelving maintains visual lightness. Strategic organizational accessories maximize vertical storage on existing cabinetry.

What Flooring Works Best for a Unified Kitchen Design?

Materials like hardwood or luxury vinyl plank flooring can provide durable, attractive continuity between a kitchen and adjoining living spaces. Tile is another great option if consistent grout lines and tones are used throughout the open floor plan.


The kitchen remodel of this 1950s Texas ranch house demonstrates that opening up closed-off spaces and unifying them with surrounding rooms can have a transformative effect. Strategic design choices such as removing barriers, enhancing natural light, simplifying layouts and adding on-trend accents can harmonize old and new elements into a cohesive whole. While such an extensive renovation requires a significant investment, the rewards are invaluable – a welcoming gathering place where family and friends come together.