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Happily Ever Rafter
One great space for relaxing, eating, and entertaining is at the heart of a Bay Area family's rustic-modern home.
The white-oak beams and floor add both warmth and a measure of sound absorption, which are important in a big, high-ceilinged room. The beams, flooring, and hearth are all made of reclaimed wood from a barn in Minnesota.
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Kara's a pastry chef, and her rolling bun rack is a go-to. One cabinet is a "garage" for parking the cart out of sight.
Try retrofitting an existing cabinet by cutting away the kick and interior shelves, or by purchasing a rolling cabinet cart.
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The Big Island
The island top has no sink -- "I wanted the entire surface for work and for my kids to do homework on," says Kara. Underneath is a bounty of storage.
Achieve the same by fashioning an island from Metro shelving and a butcher-block top.
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The family needed storage for tableware but didn't want to sacrifice natural light. So shelves were built around two windows (which now resemble portholes).
Copy this look with some careful measuring and store-bought shelves in various sizes.
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Appliances that scream "Kitchen!" -- coffeemaker, microwave, fridge -- live in the pantry.
Devoting a closet to that kind of hidden storage could give you the option of removing upper cabinets, so the streamlined look blends into the living space.
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The large subway tiles over the counters mirror the scale of the wide-plank floors.
Hampton Carrara polished tiles, 4" by 12", $14 each, tileshop.com
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Chalkboard paint on the pantry wall lets the family jot down grocery lists and recipes.
Chalkboard paint, by Rust-Oleum, $13 for 1 qt., homedepot.com
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Swing-arm sconces mounted above the shelving spotlight their tableware collection.
Boston Functional Library wall light, $336, circalighting.com