Everyone these days wants an open-concept floor plan. I’m no different. When I remodeled my family’s home, the first thing I wanted to do was to open up the kitchen to the living room.

Notice in the before photo how the kitchen is closed off from the rest of the first floor? It’s tucked away in the back, almost like an afterthought, with a swinging door blocking one opening.

My decision to open up that wall between the two doorways was an easy one. In fact, most people would do the same thing. My tip for you here is to really think about what that opening could be.



A simple cutout in the drywall to create a window into the kitchen would have drawn it into the larger space. But against such large expanses of wall, floor and ceiling, this functional feature had the potential for a much larger impact.

So I decided to frame the window in a wood veneer facade. This created architectural interest that the space sorely needed: The warmth of the wood contrasts with the creamy walls and floors, and the lit niches elevate the opening to a focal point.


So look beyond the obvious. The next time you think about opening up your own space, consider the possibilities. Can you turn that window into its own beautiful view?

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit And keep up with Cathy’s dream home makeover at her photo blog, Homefront.