Kitchen Remodeling Ideas for an Airlite Row Home


An Airlite is a specific style of row home, or town home, with many examples found specifically in Philadelphia, Penn. Airlite row homes became popular in the 1940s, and they are regaining interest for their space, efficiency and proximity to the city. They are constructed with a kitchen and dining room sharing space at the back of the house, and few windows. Remodel by using space creatively to modernize your Airlite home and increase its value.

Barrier Wall

  • Some Airlite homes have a barrier wall or partial wall between the kitchen and dining room, which enhances the closed-in feeling. Consult a contractor to determine if a barrier wall can be removed. It is a structural alteration that requires a great deal of skill, explains Ask the Builder. Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room makes both rooms seem larger. If a barrier wall cannot be removed due to structural limitations, removing the plaster or drywall and installing glass block between the studs will let light pass between the two rooms.

Cabinets and Counters

  • Paint existing cabinets a light color, or replace them with more modern-looking, streamlined cabinets. Large, bulky cabinets with lots of detail can overwhelm a small kitchen. Choose doors with glass inserts for some of the upper cabinets and install small LED lights inside to make glassware sparkle. Another option is to use simple, elegant shelves instead of upper cabinets. Solid-surface counters without seams give an uncluttered look, and light colors like creamy-beige granite or less expensive synthetic granite composite won't weigh down the room like dark counters.


  • Appliances are necessary, but they use a lot of space. Many appliances are available in sightly smaller versions that don't compromise function. Stainless steel appliances are expensive, but some manufacturers mimic the finish with other materials at a lower cost. The bright shine increases the open look and instantly modernizes any kitchen. White appliances are classic. Consider built-in small appliances like wall-mounted microwaves and coffee pots to open up counter space.

Wall and Floor

  • Airlite row home kitchens typically have only one window, which can create a dark space. Fool the eye with pale wall colors to make the room seem larger and brighter. White is sometimes harsh and can have icy blue or gray undertones. Pale cream has the same brightening ability as white, but with a softer, warmer tone. Light yellows also bring a sense of light to the room. A very sight sheen, such as an eggshell finish, is less institutional than glossy wall paint. It reflects a bit of light and allows for easier cleaning than flat wall paint. Paint trim a lighter shade than the walls. Large tiles installed diagonally on the floor make the room see wider and more spacious, explains Country Living.

Smaller Details

  • Extend the counter material into the backsplash for continuity, or use light-reflecting materials like mirrored tile, stainless steel or bright copper. Lighting is important in a small kitchen. Choose track lighting, available in numerous decorative options, and install high-efficiency LED bulbs for brighter light than incandescents and CFL bulbs. Small LED light strips affixed to the underside of upper cabinets light the counters and make them shine.

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