Kitchen pass throughs, aka window-like openings in the wall between the kitchen and dining room, aren’t a common house feature these days. But they can be found in many mid century homes – ours included. While I’m all for keeping quirky old-school details, this particular quirk in this particular house needed some reworking. With the way our kitchen is laid out, there is no way this ever made sense as a convenient place to send food (or drinks, or whatever) into the dining room. Being one of the first things seen when you walk in the door, I wanted to find a way to keep the void but make it feel more purposeful and intentional by turning it into a design element – a mini room divider! – instead of a unused opening.
When we bought the house, we removed the bifold doors that originally hung on each side of the pass through so quickly that I have no photos of it. The previous owners kept the doors permanently closed and covered the hole on the dining room side with a large china cabinet, but we happily embraced the quirk and let the light flow through, even trimming out . Here’s how it has looked for the past few years we’ve lived here: The first step in this project was to remove the trim and framing on both sides, including a kitchen-side ledge. We wanted to 1. see if expanding the opening was a possibility (it wasn’t) and 2. reframe and drywall the opening to make it flush with the wall, streamlining the look. That process took a lot of invisible effort, but went a long way in making it feel less like a random hole and more like a funky design element that’s always been here.
I really wanted to put breeze blocks here, but it just wasn’t workable with our given dimensions. So we decided to build a design out of wood. I used lo-fi drawing tools in IG stories to mock up all our ideas on a photo, and we slowly eliminated designs from there.
We landed on simple asymmetrical rectangles. We used pre-primed wood trim boards since we were going to paint them anyways. Getting the boxes square with the materials we had on hand (could not find our square clamp anywhere!) was a challenge, but we did alright. It all came out so clean and crisp! And the best part – two rooms got an upgrade from one project!Room sources if you are looking for anything:
entry sputnik light
nelson bubble light
bookshelf – husband built it :)
dining room table
dining room chairs – Ikea, no longer sold :(
ceramic wall hanging – MQuan Studio
painting – DIY
copper nest thermostat