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One grand kitchen in place of three rooms.

"Sticker shock" hit Aileen and Mike Green when they priced new Orange County houses with the open, contemporary feeling they sought. Shifting their sights to older tracts, they landed a 1979 house in Laguna Niguel and started to remodel. Because community codes made it difficult to change the exterior, the Greens confined structural changes to the inside. Across the back of the first floor were a dining room, kitchen, breakfast area, and family room. The dining room shared a cathedral ceiling with the living room (and was open to it) at the front of the house. A wall with louvered doors divided the breakfast area and entry hall. Mrs. Green took a course on kitchen design at a local college; then she and her husband turned the complex of rooms into one 55-foot-long space (see plan). With the help of a contractor, they took out the kitchen ceiling and the nonbearing dining room wall; they also opened the breakfast area to the entry hall by replacing the wall and doors with a 4-by-10 beam. To brighten both kitchen and living room, they set a pair of triangular windows in the side wall's gable. The former dining room is now part of the kitchen; an 8-foot-tall wall with a pocket door separates it from the living room. Between the breakfast area and family room, they replaced an iron railing with a 2-foot-tall wall with a broad oak cap. The refrigerator, cooktop, and two large ovens line the kitchen's interior wall. Past the pocket door to the living room are a coffee-making center and corner pantry. On the garden-facing wall are the main sink counter, a dishwasher, trash compactor, and appliance storage; sliding glass doors to the patio remained in place. Above the sink, the Greens replaced a small window with a 10-foot-long one that can serve as a pass-through to the patio's new buffet counter. Cabinetry is plastic laminate with oak trim to match new flooring. A 12-footlong island has an auxiliary sink and butcher-block inset; tiling extends to cover an octagonal dining bar. Deep drawers facing the cooktop hold pots and pans. On the other side, shallow cabinets hold tableware used outdoors; drawers above store silverware a step away from the dishwasher.
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Date:Dec 1, 1990
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