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See this 100-square-foot kitchen go from bland to bursting with color

Clients with fun and colorful personalities inspired a bold blue color choice in this efficient Colorado kitchen.

Working with a room of just under 100 square feet, interior designer Margie McCulloch found that her first order of business was creating a thoughtful layout to open up the space. She added an ample, well-placed working island, carved out a much-needed pantry and improved the flow. Next she made the room bright and cheerful with brilliant blue cabinetry and personal touches, while keeping things clean by using modern lines and just the right amount of white.

The athletic couple who bought the house wanted a cheery weekend place to use as their base camp when skiing, hiking and biking in the Rocky Mountains. A full remodel was in order for the dated 1970s house, which didn’t have a distinct style. “My clients are exuberant and fun, and wanted to use a bold color,” McCulloch says.

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The designer replaced linoleum and wall-to-wall carpeting throughout the home with beautiful alder wood floors, stained and glazed to make them dark. “You need the glaze to make them darker than just a stain would,” she says.

The new kitchen is part of a full-house renovation. Most of the living space is on the first floor, and the master bedroom is in a loft upstairs.

Before, oak cabinets, pink laminate countertops and linoleum floors in the kitchen were past their prime. “The peninsula created a bottleneck between the kitchen, dining room and living room, which are both open to the kitchen,” the designer says.

On the right you’ll catch a sliver of the cookbook and wine shelves that face the hallway. “Books make a place so warm and personal,” McCulloch says. The side of the shelves serves as part of the refrigerator surround (see the first photo). The shelves also play off the new bookshelves around the dining banquette (to the left of the front door.)

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Similarly, two shelves along the island were originally intended for rocks and other nature finds from the couple’s hikes. However, they soon realized it was just the right spot for the antique cars and trucks one of the homeowners has been collecting since he was a kid. “It adds a nice personal touch that makes the space more interesting,” McCulloch says.

Red Pepper Design & CabinetrySaveEmail“An induction [cooktop] is more efficient with less oxygen than gas is,” says the designer of this choice for the high-altitude location. In a kitchen with limited counter space, the homeowners can also place things in the stove when it’s not in use. The induction cooker also lends a cleaner look to the small space, as do simple stainless steel shelves for cooking oils and herbs. A microwave-convection oven is tucked in the island.

You may notice that the island is at two different heights. Because one homeowner is 6-foot-4, McCulloch installed a tall walnut cutting-board section as his kitchen workspace, and a lower counter area that matches the rest of the kitchen for the other homeowner.

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The pendant lights have antiqued faceted mirrors inside. The outside of the lights pick up on the bronze drawer knobs and pulls.

The right side of this hallway was simply the back side of a bedroom wall.

The designer borrowed just a foot of depth from the bedroom to create this long, tall row of cabinets that measures 5 feet wide by 6½ feet high by 1 foot deep. “Originally the homeowner wanted the doors and trim to be wood, but I knew that would draw the eye away from the blue in the kitchen,” she says. The new doors blend into the hallway. Because the shelves are only a foot deep, it’s easy to find everything — nothing gets lost in the back.

Here is the reconfigured dining area and living room, which are open to the kitchen. A new bench seat and bookshelves surround the table and leave the views of the surrounding ranch and western landscape wide open. The once orangy pine ceilings have an updated darker stain. Once the couple preps a meal in the kitchen, they can enjoy it here while overlooking beaver dams, creeks and mountains. The land they look out upon is open space that can never be built upon.

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