The worktable is portable, Reitz noted, and this will allow future owners the option of an eat-in kitchen while still giving her the perfect spot to put a Mixmaster and a Cuisinart and to roll out dough.
To create even more counter space, she moved the refrigerator and replaced it with base cabinets custom-made to match others in the kitchen and the upper cabinets salvaged from the refrigerator's new location.
For the floor, Reitz chose an espresso-stained, hand-hewn oak laminate, which matches new floors in the rest of the house and is coated with aluminum oxide, which makes it hard and durable.
The existing cabinets were sturdy but boring. They took on a dramatically new look with oil-based lacquer applied by professional painters. Oil-based paint has since been outlawed in parts of California because of environmental concerns. But Reitz said she believes it's a superior product to water-based paint from a durability standpoint. "You'll use a water base and repaint every four years," she said, "or use oil base and repaint in 12 years."
To choose the cabinet color, which she called "a Vicki invention," she darkened creamy white paint with drops of chocolate-brown tint until she had a variety of subtly different colors that she then painted onto cardboard. Reitz taped the swatches onto cabinet doors and observed them in the morning light, checking the ones she liked best, then observed them again in the evening light, noting which of those she liked. She made her choice from the samples that got two checks.
The final major selection was the granite for the counters. Although the worktable has granite with dramatically swirling veins that give the feeling of movement, she wanted something more uniform for the long expanses of counter. "I want peace and quiet in the kitchen," she said.
After looking at slabs at several of her favorite stone yards, she chose a blackish-brown granite with low-key speckles.
To finish off the kitchen, she got several new appliances, including a stainless steel KitchenAid cooktop, Broan range hood and Fisher & Paykel two-drawer dishwasher. She used a stainless steel refrigerator from her former home that she had been storing in the garage.
Her prize appliance is her new $1,600 KitchenAid double oven that gives her four ways to cook: conventional, convection, steam and microwave. She paid more than $1,000 to upgrade the electrical panel to provide the 220-amp service needed for the appliance, a cost she does not begrudge.
The final touch is a graceful lamp — hanging over the corner sink — that is made of Swarovski crystals.
The finished room is sleek, stylish, budget-minded and, most important for Reitz, functional.
"I have work space," she said.
Although Reitz was able to realize some savings due to her know-how as an interior designer, the main way she kept costs low is one many other homeowners can emulate: "I have not changed the footprint at all."