Lisa Romerein/OTTO

On the southern edge of a California coastal town, the owners of a simple beach bungalow already had their dream home—or close to it.

“The clients approached me and said, ‘We love the ambiance of our little ranch-style place,’” says Nick Noyes, founder of San Francisco–based architecture firm Nick Noyes Architecture. But the one-level house and its clusters of tiny, closed-off rooms was starting to feel too small for the growing family that also liked to entertain and regularly host business clients.

“The couple wanted to maintain the original character of their home, but transform it into something that was more modern and relatable to their current lifestyle,” describes Noyes.

The renovation turned the kitchen and dining area into the central hub of the home. Noyes added only 300 square feet to the footprint, bringing the home to a total size of 3,142 square feet, but he reoriented the major living spaces to create a more open and seamless floor plan.

“The kitchen is in an entirely new location now, but a really important one because it’s directly between the entry garden and the large main garden in the back, so when you’re in the kitchen you have a lovely exposure to outdoor spaces on multiple sides,” Noyes says.

Large glass sliding doors along the southern wall allow the homeowners to open up the room and enjoy the balmy weather year-round—a feature that Noyes says the family utilizes almost daily.

The kitchen’s large central island is a focal point and creates a comfortable gathering space for family members to enjoy meals or conversation while cooking. The new open layout also connects the kitchen with a revamped dining area fit for entertaining.

“The family is in the liquor and distilling business, and they often have international clients visiting them in their home,” Noyes explains. “There are two barn doors that open up to a bar, with original art from the early days of their family business, which is a nice display feature for when they’re hosting and entertaining industry clients.”

To reduce clutter and keep the space from feeling small, Noyes added just one compact open cabinet for dishware that’s used daily plus undercounter storage in the main area of the kitchen. Other storage space is tucked away in a 120-square-foot mudroom and food pantry off the kitchen.

“We didn’t want it to feel too much like a traditional kitchen,” says Noyes. “We envisioned it more like a room where you’re comfortable hanging out and spending most of your time.”

The modern update combined with rich finishes created the old-and-new blended aesthetic the homeowners were seeking.

“Stylistically, the kitchen is pretty contemporary, and the wood flooring and cabinetry craft a fresh, beach lifestyle vibe,” says Noyes. “The richness and authenticity of the materials was important to the owners, especially to carry the exterior character inside the home—the outside of the house is very simple with deep redwood siding, so we wanted the inside of the home to be fairly spare and straightforward, but with a warmth to match their aesthetic.”