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University City Kitchen & Dining Room

Location: University City, Philadelphia

Building type: Rowhome

Renovation style: Traditional

This client renovated with us a number of times over the years. Of those projects, the greatest transformation was their kitchen at the rear of their historic row-home. It was last renovated in the 1970’s when our clients first purchased the home. The reason for the renovation was the birth of their first grandchild. To enjoy spending time with their new family member, they needed better connection between rooms on the first floor. The biggest challenge was an original double-stairwell in the center of the first floor which meant that this would not be a handyman project.

Opening Up the Kitchen Connection by Relocating Stairs

The long-awaited overhaul included demolition of multiple major structural elements. These included the old butler’s service stairwell going up to the second floor, which was stacked above the old stairs to the basement. This blocked all views and separated the kitchen from the dining room. The second structural element was to build an small addition with windows and a deck to the back of the kitchen. This required removal and restructuring of the entire rear masonry wall. The result was absolutely dramatic with increased natural light and views into every area of the first floor, making babysitting their grandchild safe and easy.

Breakfast Nook Addition with Patio Door

The addition we built included an 8-foot deep by 12 foot wide breakfast nook extension, perfect for a small table and 4 chairs. Natural light from the rear yard from a sliding patio door leading to the new rear deck. A baby gate off of the deck was all they needed to expand the space further for their toddler in nice weather. Our clients decided on a long "U shaped" cabinet layout with two peninsulas including bar seating. 

Read more about this home’s award winning facade transformation here.


  • New hickory cabinets with crown molding
  • Open “country” hutch shelving
  • Energy-efficient patio slider with sidelites
  • Dark granite countertops with radius edge