The family can have casual meals at the kitchen bar—a takeoff on an original Eichler breakfast table—or use the dining area at the far end of the concrete-block island. Kyoto counter stools are from Design Within Reach and the new ball lights are from Stanford Electric Works in Palo Alto. The streaks on the stainless steel backsplash are from under-counter task lights. Bill likes the look; Kim, not so much.

The Pfanhnls said “goodbye” to their Craftsman home of 15 years to buy a dream-house come true (part 1). Their new 1959 Eichler a-frame house needed some work, but the couple stepped up to the plate to bring it back to life. Eichler homes weren’t a mystery to Bill and Kim, who wanted to plan their decor around the existing design of the house, particularly the kitchen remodel.

“We designed the space so that nothing blocked the view from the front door through the atrium and living room and out to the back fence,” Bill says.

The public rooms are the biggest departure from their cozy, dark bungalow and overstuffed Arts and Crafts furniture. The kitchen particularly represents a leap, with its cement-block island topped with SlateScape counters. The wall that’s now lined with tall cabinets has a commercial-grade stainless steel backsplash and counter with an integrated sink. All of the appliances—a GE Monogram refrigerator and wine cellar, a Bosch dishwasher, and a wall oven, restaurant-quality cooktop, warming drawer and microwave from Viking—are stainless as well.

“Our previous kitchen was smaller and more modest, and we’d always had used appliances,” Bill says. “Here, we closed up a small window where the sink is now, first blocking it off with cardboard to see if we missed it. Because it just looked out at the neighbor’s fence, we decided it wasn’t really a loss.”

The couple had trouble locating affordable cabinets, but during a spur-of-the-moment trip to IKEA, realized they had some good-looking choices, including the Akurum line in birch and beech that they chose. The Pfahnls let the dimensions of the kitchen be dictated by the cabinetry, directing the IKEA installers to start at the dining room’s mahogany wall and work toward the family room. That way there was no problem with fit, and they credit the crew with doing a great job in just two days.

Using cement blocks inside “was a gutsy move,” Bill says, and one that tends to elicit comments from visitors. “The kitchen does everything we need it to do, and the mahogany wall warms the area up. Our teenagers can lean on the counter without worrying about it at all, and the stainless is starting to acquire a patina. We didn’t want a kitchen that was hands-off; this looks great but it’s easy to live with,” he concludes.

With the kitchen remodel complete, it was time to put the finishing touches to their home. Find out what the next step was for the Pfahnls in part 3!