The existing kitchen in this 1920s house lacked size, natural light, and a logical connection to the outdoors. So, as part of a larger renovation, architect Todd Hansen opted to more than double the room’s square footage by extending it 18 feet into the backyard. The St. Paul, Minn., home sits very close to the property line on its west side, but Hansen managed to bump out part of that wall by 11 inches, gaining enough width to fit an island into the kitchen. He also added on a generously sized mudroom that helps organize clutter and improves the overall connection to the yard.

By emphasizing the kitchen’s long, narrow shape, Hansen turned its unusual proportions into an asset. “We tried to play up the length with things we did in the design,” he says. “All the horizontal elements are exaggerated.” At 12 and a half feet, the island is longer than usual, as are the kitchen’s drawer fronts, cabinet handles, and 12-inch subway tiles. And a 10-foot-long piece of steel affixed to the east wall acts as a magnetic frame for children’s art.

Throughout the kitchen and its surrounding areas, this theme of framed objects continues. Open shelving and glass cabinets provide display space for housewares, while bookshelves and ceiling panels line the room’s two major entrances. Wall and ceiling panels also set off the tiled bay along the west wall. And painted molding outlines the breakfast nook, turning it into another framed element in this skillfully knit composition.