LIKE MANY EMPTY NESTERS, Jean Franz and Robert Smith were planning the next phase of their lives. After briefly thinking about selling their charming 1938 Cape Cod in Silver Spring’s Wood- side Park neighborhood, they decided it made more sense to stay put. “We took
our daughter apartment hunting and
realized that our mortgage is less than
it costs to rent a one-bedroom,” Franz
says. Plus, they love their neighborhood,
friends and house, with its large lot,
ample bedrooms and bathrooms, and
The kitchen, however, needed
revamping. Franz is an avid cook who
enjoys entertaining, so she wanted to
revitalize the well-loved, but worn-out
space with an updated look and a spacious plan to accommodate the couple’s
;is wasn’t going to be the first time
Franz, 62, and Smith, 63, renovated the
house. In 1989, shortly after moving in,
they hired Kensington-based design/
build firm MGD to enlarge and modernize the original galley kitchen. “We
are both focused on the details, so Jean
and I hit it o; right away,” says MGD
President Michael Dent. “She has a great
design sense and excellent taste.” Over
the years, the couple used the contractor
for several smaller projects—finishing
the basement, enclosing a porch, adding
built-ins to the dining room—and he
became a trusted friend.
For this renovation, which took place
in 2015, Franz collaborated with MGD
project architect Shawn Staples. Elimi-
nating a wall between the kitchen and a
front bedroom, formerly used as a den,
increased the square footage, improved
circulation, and flooded the space with
natural light. ;e original coat closet
became a powder room, and a new
closet was built next to the front door.
Two-thirds of the 465-square-foot
space is now used for food prep and
storage, the rest for eating and entertain-
ing. ;e must-have list included counter
seating, a large and informal dining
table, and a sitting area with a television.
Because new, wider kitchen door-
ways connect the space to the rest of
the first level, the visual transition to the
A 39-by-90-inch pine trestle table anchors the informal dining area.
The custom-made table is from The Great British Pine Mine in Kensington.
Oversize pendant lights from Restoration Hardware hang above, and the built-in
banquette is upholstered in sturdy indoor/outdoor fabric from Perennials.