Before Kate Haynes’ clients approached her about renovating their kitchen, they had considered just simply moving. But after much deliberation, the couple opted to enlist Haynes to transform their cramped, dated kitchen into the family gathering and entertaining space they’d been wanting. “As empty nesters with three grown kids, they wanted to expand their kitchen so that it was a comfortable gathering space for everyone during the holidays, family gatherings, and other events,” Haynes says. Here, Haynes details how she brought her client’s vision for a family-friendly kitchen to fruition.

An all-white kitchen may be classic and timeless, but Haynes wanted to bring some visual interest into the space as well. “Where the coffee bar is currently situated, there was previously one of those ubiquitous desk areas native to the gracious ’90s kitchen design,” Haynes says. Because she had already nixed the traditional band of upper cabinetry in favor of a window of tiles, she thought the former desk space could be used more appropriately as a bar area. “The homeowner loves a good hunt, so she searched everywhere for architectural salvage and found these antique doors on Facebook Marketplace,” Haynes says. “A white kitchen can become visually sterile if not balanced with warmth and tactile surfaces, so I was really excited about the homeowners’ enthusiasm to bring in something antique.”

“I love to create a kitchen that has the built-in functionality to hide clutter,” she says. “All of those gadgets and tools that we need and love can be accessed easily from a central location, and then just as easily shut behind doors.” So Haynes designed a space off of the kitchen to hide utilitarian items like the coffee pot and microwave. “This means that instead of a toaster on the counter, we get to enjoy a beautiful antique bowl brimming with oranges or a stack of textural wooden cutting boards leaning up against the backsplash.”

“We wanted to frame the views out of the back of the home in a really bold way, so we did several conceptual options for this space. The thread of continuity between them all was the prominence of windows at the back of the kitchen,” Haynes says. “I think this is the most successful part of the renovation because the natural light that floods the kitchen is so inviting. And the architecture created by these oversized windows was a great advantage over traditional ones.”

With such a large extended family, the homeowners insisted on having enough space for everyone to gather comfortably. Haynes designed the long window bench with this in mind. The bench includes ample storage underneath, as well as a soft perch on which to enjoy morning coffee. The homeowner made the French-tufted cushion herself, using a low-key ticking fabric that fits in with the pared-down sensibility of the space.

The homeowner wanted the quartz-top island to feel like a stand-alone piece and feature furniture details like square bin-style drawers. With their large extended family and grandchildren, the island needed to accommodate big groups, so Haynes expanded the kitchen by bumping out the back wall to accommodate the nine-foot by four-foot island.

The homeowner was set on having shiplap run to the ceiling, but Haynes felt it might be shiplap overload. “A design element should not be used in an amount that is too much,” the designer says. “I felt it was a more compelling design move to use tile; it almost becomes as visually effective as wallpaper. Tiling to the ceiling feels like more of an architectural approach rather than a decorative one, and I find it is one of my favorite tricks to elevate the look of a space.”