Holly Elmore loved the 1956 ranch-style home in Edina where she grew up and where she and her husband, Bob, raised their kids. But besides a family room/dining room addition 30 years ago, not much of the house had been renovated.

What bothered them most was the crowded, pass-through galley kitchen with old cabinetry.

"When I was preparing things, it was a traffic jam in there," Holly said. "People were always walking through to get to the family room or walk to the garage. It was very cramped, and it was always very frustrating. The drawers were original and bracketed together because they were falling apart."

When it was time for the Elmores to update their kitchen, they brought in Crystal Kitchen + Bath. In addition to an updated design that flowed better, Holly and Bob wanted to make better use of the original dining room, seldom used since the family room/dining nook addition.

"We basically combined those two spaces together and created one larger kitchen," said designer Mary Maney of the Elmores' home, one of 38 remodeling projects that will be spotlighted in the Parade of Homes Remodelers Showcase Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (paradeofhomes.org).

Building walls

To start, Maney closed off one of the kitchen entrances and put a wall up between the living room and the new kitchen space to provide more continuous countertop and cabinet space. The second entryway was widened to better connect the family room to the kitchen.

Letting the light in

Despite adding walls, Maney found ways to bring in natural light. In addition to light coming in from the wider entryway, a sizable pass-through window between the kitchen and family room was created. The Crystal team also enlarged a kitchen window, which provides views of the garden as well as plenty of light.

"Now when you're in the kitchen cooking food, you're part of what's happening in the family room," Maney said.

Defining spaces

Maney strategically located the workhorse part of the kitchen — the sink, appliances, prep areas and cooking station — on the right side of the kitchen upon entering. Pivot left, and there's a serving/buffet area that includes a custom hutch.

"There are drawers for napkins, small plates and silverware, things like that. Then, some of the hutch is behind glass to show [decorative] pieces," Maney said. The hutch was designed so "it stays cohesive with everything else that's in the kitchen," she said.

Tea time

Speaking of customizing, Maney knew that Bob liked tea, Holly liked coffee and they both disliked clutter. She designed a countertop-height hidden cabinet that holds appliances for making their beverages of choice. The cabinet is close to the sink for ease of use.

Gathering spaces

Ask the Elmores what they like most about their new kitchen, and they say it's hard to choose. Holly loves that the former 10-by-10-foot kitchen has doubled in size. Having designated spaces for different functions in the kitchen — the utility part on one end and the buffet/serving area on the other — counts for a lot.

"Mary really helped us with flow issues when she designed the layout," Holly said. "It's changed the way we hang out in the space. We have four adult kids, and when they come over and the grandchildren come over, especially for the holidays or indoor things, there's more room in the kitchen to hang out."

Holly also loves that the space keeps her love for seasonal decorating in mind, with a white color palette serving as a neutral backdrop.

"I like to decorate with different colors," she said. Plus, "my utmost goal was to have a very traditional classic designed kitchen that would look timeless in 10, 20 years."


What: Parade of Homes Fall Remodelers Showcase, a weekend event as part of the Parade of Homes 2023 Fall Tour. Self-guided tour.
Where: Twin Cities metro area.
When: Noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
Info: Free; (paradeofhomes.org).