The Cost-Effective Way To Add More Space To A Small Kitchen, According To Keith Bynum

HGTV's "Bargain Block" hosts Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas often create amazing transformations in the Detroit homes they work on. In a recent episode, the show's real estate agent Shea Hicks-Whitfield and her husband brought in her co-stars to remodel a small home that had remained inexplicably unsold. The small home featured a closed-off kitchen, of which Bynum had the idea to open up into the living room space by doing one simple thing that would save the new homeowners some money. Instead of fully demolishing the kitchen wall, they only removed half the wall, creating a stylish peninsula that straddles the kitchen and living space. Because it made use of the existing half wall in the kitchen remodel, it was a much more cost-friendly solution to demoing the whole wall and building a freestanding island.

The addition of a peninsula opened the space into an open-concept floor plan, allowing both rooms to feel larger and for the light from the living room to permeate the previously dark and boxy kitchen space. With stylish new cabinets in a fresh green and wooden butcher block counter, the effect is the luxurious French country look that the designers promised Hicks-Whitfield.  The peninsula still creates a sense of different rooms, but offers a much softer and free-flowing transition between rooms.

Cost benefits of a peninsula half wall

Kitchen walls often provide necessary elements even in cases where they are not load-bearing, including hidden space for plumbing and electricity. In a full-scale demo, these would have to be lost and relocated, costing additional time and labor. Ripping out the entire wall would also lose of the cabinetry space that wall provided. By leaving the half wall, Bynum was able to leave these elements intact, adding additional counter and seating space while keeping the storage benefit of lower cabinets. By saving money on the demo of the wall and the construction of the peninsula, the homeowners were able to come in on budget for the most part, despite some expensive plumbing repairs in the basement. 

While the designers fully replace the kitchen's outdated cabinets, even more funds could be saved by using and modifying existing cabinets and adding a new countertop. It would also make a great option for retaining a range or sink on that existing wall instead of finding a new location in an already small kitchen. In homes where removing the wall is not an option due to load issues, opening the wall and leaving the main supports as columns built into an island or peninsula is another great way to save money and keep necessary elements or storage while still granting an open feel.