A DIY family transforms a cramped kitchen and underused hallway into efficient cooking and catch-all spaces.
The challenge: Tom and Heidi Fahey were expecting their second child, but their kitchen setup was inadequate for their lifestyle and growing family. The couple were determined to find a way to expand storage and countertop space in their tiny kitchen, as well as design a back-entry pantry and mudroom for coats and shoes. Plus, they wanted to do the remodeling project themselves.
The designers: Homeowners Tom and Heidi Fahey, and Tom’s parents, Zelda and Patrick Fahey.
Baking and babies: Tom and Heidi liked everything about their 1950s three-bedroom rambler in Edina — except the cramped and poorly laid-out kitchen. Baker Heidi had to store all her mixing bowls, cookie sheets and utensils in the hall closet. “Since there was no counter space, I rolled out my dough on a small table,” she said. “With baby No. 2 on the way, we also needed space for bottles, baby formula and jars of baby food.”
Grand plan: Heidi and Tom worked with the elder Faheys to devise a remodeling plan they could do themselves.
“We talked about what space we could use without taking out exterior walls and having to put on an addition,” said Heidi. “We drew up a rough draft on a napkin in the restaurant.”
The design was based on designated “centers” for the baby, baking, coffee and mudroom. First they would tear down the wall between the kitchen and dining room to open it up. Then they would gut and remodel the kitchen, using the gained space for a peninsula.
They decided to convert a back hallway leading outdoors into a mini mudroom and pantry — after they tore out a large closet. “It was wasted space and always cluttered with stuff,’ said Heidi. “It was right off the kitchen, so it was perfect.”
Later, Patrick, who is an engineer, drew up the blueprints and directed the remodeling project. “I’ve seen Pat’s work, and I knew we were capable of doing this,” said Heidi.
Kitchen magician: The remodeling tripled the cabinet and counter space — with a granite-topped counter extending to the hallway mudroom to create a coffee and snack station. “My mother-in-law came up with that design,” said Heidi.
Perfect pantry: Patrick cut a hole into the garage wall to build a pantry, then installed shelves and sliding doors; the pantry now holds baby food, formula and bottles.
Baking central: The cabinets inside the new peninsula store Heidi’s baking supplies, and the surface serves as a dough-rolling station.
Multifunctional mini-mudroom: After Tom and Patrick tore out the closet, “I was ecstatic at how much space there was for coat cubbies and a big bench,” said Heidi.
Devoted DIY-ers: The whole family helped with demolition, even Tom and Heidi’s 5-year-old son. Tom and Patrick installed custom cabinets, laid the tile floor, and put in the stained glass and white subway tile backsplash. The remodeling project was completed in seven weeks and cost $22,000. They kept within their budget by doing the labor themselves and shopping around for materials, said Heidi. “It was very dusty and I had a new baby,” she said. “But seven weeks of your life, when you get a beautiful kitchen for a lifetime, is not that long.”
Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619
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