When Francis Domínguez was tasked with overhauling a dark, dysfunctional kitchen in Miami’s MiMo District, he knew that major structural changes were the only possible answer.
“It wasn’t aesthetically appealing and the function wasn’t great at all,” remembers the interior designer and founder of EFE Creative Lab. So Domínguez eliminated dated finishes like a tan granite countertop, a beige backsplash, and brown wooden cupboards in favor of light, modern choices. He also tore down a wall and completely reconfigured the layout to create an open floor plan and a logical flow.
Gone was the small pass-through (once the kitchen’s only connection to the rest of the house) and in came an extra-long peninsula that looks out onto the living and dining areas. Domínguez also moved the dishwasher from its inconvenient spot beside the stove to be near the sink and relocated the refrigerator across the room for easier access. The result? A sensible kitchen with timeless style.
Opening Everything Up
As Domínguez started drawing up plans, he wasn’t sure whether the home’s construction would allow him to knock down the divider between the kitchen and the living room. “It wasn’t a shallow wall,” he explains. “It was all concrete.” He knew we would have to bring in a specialist to look at it.
Fortunately, the engineer tasked with the inspection deemed the demolition safe as long as Domínguez added metal columns beneath the sheetrock on either side to support the opening. “It makes a huge difference,” he admits. “The space looks much bigger.”
Once the structural updates were done, Domínguez focused on aesthetics. He chose rust-colored Chicago brick for the back wall and installed custom walnut floating shelves to tie the new kitchen in with the adjacent bar. “We wanted to marry the two separate areas and bring them together a little bit more,” he describes. Traditional Semihandmade Supermatte Light Grey Shaker cabinet fronts, white subway tile, and contemporary veiny quartz countertops created a welcome contrast to the industrial, reddish brick.
Integrating Hidden Storage
Behind select doors is where the real magic lies. To make up for the storage lost by tearing down a wall and an old closet, Domínguez maximized every nook and cranny. He built a cabinet behind the refrigerator, which includes shallow shelves on one side and a deep, pullout pantry on the other. Hardware-less panels beneath the seating side of the peninsula conceal multiple cupboards for infrequently used cookware, while the appliance garage in the corner keeps the toaster and coffee maker hidden away and off the countertops. “We really did use all the space that was available,” says Domínguez. There isn’t a wasted inch to be found.