Same floor, same appliances, same island footprint and same ceiling height but what an improvement! Doesn't it seem much taller now that the upper cabinets are gone? Much more bright, open, inviting and, most important, functional.
If you're assuming that storage was sacrificed, you'd be mistaken: there is a huge net gain in functional, usable storage. Here's why:
1. The floating shelves are 5' long and hold all the client's glass and tableware.
2. The fridge-depth cabinet adds twice the storage of the old, shallow cabinet, and it is easily accessed now, whereas before a big stretch or a step ladder was needed. Cutting boards and infrequently used appliances have a home now.
3. Swapping out the huge sink for a smaller one made room for an additional base cabinet.
4. We installed a pull-out garbage and recycling system beneath the sink and made sure the plumbing lines were as tight to the cabinet as possible to make the use of every inch.
5. The 10-foot island has 48" of cupboard space on the sitting side. Not only does this make the island seem less monolithic, it adds a ton of useful storage for wine glasses and bottles in one side and paperwork and miscellany on the other.
6. The working side of the island is loaded with drawers - no cupboards. Everything is visible and readily accessible. We meticulously planned what would go in each drawer so nothing was left without a home.
7. We designed an open shelf to hold the microwave at counter height in the island so we could do away with that dated and bulky over-the-range microwave unit.
8. A glossy backsplash reflects light. We tiled the side wall by the stove for easier cleaning and improved fire safety.
And let's talk about these walnut countertops for a moment, shall we? Remember that old curving granite top? It was cold to the touch and made a clattering echo-y noise when you placed a glass or plate on it. Oh, and it had a big seam running down the middle because no one can get a 10' slab in a 7' elevator so it had to be installed in two pieces and joined on site. Yuck. Wood is warm and soft, both visually and to the touch. It has great acoustic absorption so it's much quieter. And it was delivered in one great slab so no seams or joins to deal with. Price wise it was on par with quartz, so definitely not a budget option but I think it was a worthy place to splurge. Not replacing the major appliances gave some savings, so let's think of it that way :)