The challenge: The kitchen in a small 1920s Arts & Crafts bungalow was typical of the period — minimal storage, only 4 feet of counter space and a single bank of cabinets. A cast-iron sink hung on one wall, with no adjacent counters. And three doorways in different corners of the room consumed wall space. Homeowners Marilyn and Clarence Turner wanted to modernize the kitchen within the existing footprint, while blending with the home’s Craftsman charm.


The design team: Architect Mark Nelson with Brad Belka, David Heide Design Studio, Minneapolis, 612-337-5050, The contractor was Next Level Builders, Minneapolis.


The solution: Nelson closed one doorway between the dining room and kitchen, gaining more usable space in the corner. He reconfigured the new kitchen and created a U-shaped functional work area with 13 feet of counter space. “With only one doorway to the dining room, the traffic flow is kept out of the work triangle,” he said.


Pass-through window: This handy feature replaced the original doorway to the dining room.


Euro-style refrigerator: To save space, the Turners put in a European style, cabinet-depth, 24-inch wide refrigerator.


Period details: Off-white painted clean-lined cabinets, white subway tile backsplash and gray-green soapstone countertops evoke the decade when the home was built. The Turners display their pottery on visually appealing open shelving. They also removed layers of vinyl and refinished the wood floors.


Modern flair: Mosaic accent stripes in earthtones, greens and blues add splashes of color to the neutral backdrop.


Smart storage: Nelson designed an elevated platform to hold the microwave oven and coffeepot. There’s still usable countertop space next to the utensil drawers in the platform.


Design trick: The radiator was built inside a cabinet under the apron front sink. The simple cutout design in the door, typical of that era, allows heat to flow out. “Usually the area under the sink is underutilized,” said Nelson. “Radiant warmth surrounds people as they wash dishes and look out the window.”


Rule of thumb: “It’s important to look at the cards we are dealt and how we can rearrange those cards to solve a problem,” said Nelson. “Today there’s plenty of period products available and contractors who understand a historic house.”


The result: The new kitchen is fresh, functional and modern, said Nelson. “Yet it feels like it was always part of this traditional Minneapolis bungalow.”