Best Use of Space 2022 Winner

Take a look inside the Best Use of Space in the 2022 Design Awards.

by Heather Kane Kohler

Dec 2022

Best Use of Space 2022 Design Awards winner
Photos by Jeremy Mason McGraw, Global Image Creations and Colby Kern

Winning Designer: Toni Echols, Obelisk Home

Project Goal Summary

When remodeling Design Assistant Toni Echols’ own kitchen, it was important to maximize storage and keep countertops free of clutter. Valuable square footage was discovered in the garage and was being unused, so the designer created her dream walk-in pantry by utilizing that wasted space.  

During a full kitchen, dining and living room remodel of Echols’ personal home, she knew she needed a pantry to maximize space and declutter the kitchen area. “Everyone loves a pantry,” says Echols. “I kept thinking of ways to create one.” It wasn’t until she started looking at a recessed space in the garage that she had the idea for a walk-in pantry. “The space had an old workbench and was just useless,” says Echols. The area just happened to run behind the kitchen and after some thorough measuring, Echols knew the footprint would work. 

A project like this doesn’t come without its challenges. “The garage floor was a foot lower than the kitchen, so we raised the pantry area up a foot, which made the pantry ceiling height 7' instead of 8',” says Echols. “I also had to make sure the doors would open into the pantry and not cause a traffic jam in the kitchen.” The cabinets were designed to blend into the cabinetry in the kitchen and easily open inward to reveal the hidden pantry storage. 

Echols’ new kitchen was designed with white oak floating shelves and modern black cabinetry, so the pantry played an important role in maintaining the clean modern look in the kitchen. “I don’t like my appliances on the counters,” says Echols. “In the pantry there’s a water filter, a bottle filler and two different coffee makers.” One wall is devoted to floor-to-ceiling pantry storage. Echols strategically carried the design of the kitchen into the pantry using durable Formica countertops that look like white oak. The space was finished off with a unique art piece by local artist Christie Snelson. “I’m an art lover, I have art all over the house,” says Echols. “This piece from Christie Snelson matches my style.” 

Photos by Jeremy Mason McGraw, Global Image Creations and Colby KernWith a mix of glass and solid wood cabinets, Echols is able to display dishes and serveware, while keeping everything else tucked away and out of sight.


Interior Designer
Toni Echols at Obelisk Home

Photographer of  Project
Jeremy Mason McGraw, Global Image Creations and Colby Kern

Harry Cooper Supply
605 N Sherman Pkwy, Springfield, MO 65802

Cabinet Concepts by Design
4123 Hwy H, Springfield, MO 65803

Custom Granite
1445 W Chestnut Expy, Springfield, MO 65802

Canales Wood Floors

Sherwin Williams

Custom Woodwork
Chris Christensen

Christie Snelson