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San Diego homeowners Betty McManus and Cecil Lytle wanted the kitchen in their high-rise condo to better reflect its cosmopolitan setting, so they enlisted designer (and trained chef) Sandra Tierney. Her first move: ditching the cramped galley layout in favor of a harder-working U-shape plan that boosts style and storage.

Materials Matter
Tierney chose dark quartz-surfacing with a subtle pattern, above, for countertops. “The visual movement and artistry of granite isn’t always right for a small kitchen,” she says.

Tall Order
Increasing storage called for a floor-to- ceiling pantry, opposite, to fill dead space at the end of the work core. It’s flanked by appliance garages, which take advantage of space beneath upper cabinets and help keep counters clutter-free. A ceiling-mount pot rack puts cookware right by the range.

Simple Shift
Moving the refrigerator slightly outside the work core increases work space. The new location, opposite, makes the appliance handy to both the kitchen and dining area, while its paneled front chicly integrates it.

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Balanced Storage
The kitchen offers a strategic mix of open and closed storage. Touch-latch drawers beneath the banquette, far left, are ideal for discreetly stowing linens and additional dishware. In the work core, a suspended glass-and- chrome custom shelving unit above the sink, left, creates a glamorous display and an easily accessible home for glassware.

 

“My kitchen designer is also a professionally trained chef. It was the best of both worlds: I got a gorgeous kitchen that uses every inch and cooks like a dream.” —Betty McManus, homeowner

 

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Frosty Facade
Translucent doors on the pantry and upper cabinets, right, create interest and make supplies easy to find—but not too visible. “The glass provides visual relief from solid cabinet fronts,” Tierney says. “The translucent glass obscures cabinet contents slightly but allows the colors of the objects to enliven the kitchen—much like accessories.”

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Calming Color
A warm neutral palette of taupe and gray goes a long way in helping a small space live large. “Minimizing contrasts creates continuity and makes the kitchen feel uncluttered and more spacious,” Tierney says. Metal accents lend sleek styling.

In-Kitchen Dining
Bench-style seating, opposite, puts corners to good use by increasing sitting opportunities around the dining table while occupying minimal floor space.

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