You can remove walls and cabinetry if you have the space and the budget to do it. You can even combine this space with the dining room for one large, unified area, instead of having a bar or tall wall separate the two. If you live in a condo, check building codes to make sure you can knock out walls. Also, consult with a contractor, as they could recognize that the wall is connected to a supporting beam.

The homeowners replaced the awkward upper cabinets with shelving that makes the most of the kitchen's pitched ceiling. They also ditched the lower cabinets for freestanding components, including a stainless steel rolling island and a mango-wood Crate & Barrel console fitted with a marble top. A red Aga gas stove offers a serious upgrade over the old electric model.

Squeeze a narrow cupboard in next to the stove, if possible. These cupboards are generally used to store shallow pans and cookie sheets vertically. Some of them have a slide-out spice rack, too. Even if the cupboard can be only 9 inches wide, that gives you additional storage space and a 10-inch wide counter next to the stove for an additional $150 to $200.
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