Now that is has some shiny shelves?
I’ve talked about the kitchen and future plans for it before, but not for a long time, and of course they’ve changed some since then, so I’ll just go forward assuming that either you haven’t read that post from awhile back or that at least you didn’t memorize it and spend every moment since wondering when we’d get around to stuff.
Our kitchen is one of the rooms that had been updated at some point before we moved in, so everything in it (except the appliances, which apparently the remodel budget didn’t allow room for) is fairly new and fairly nice. The finishes aren’t things we would have picked out ourselves, and part of me is kind of sad that I don’t get to make over a kitchen from scratch. But not enough of me to tear out, say, good quality cabinets and the marble backsplash. Also, another part of me enjoys the challenge of working with some constraints and still coming up with an end result that we love and that feels like us. And, as I’ve mentioned before, the kitchen is growing on me. The speckly granite still hasn’t won me over, but I really love the light wood cabinets these days.
But, even with hideous corner cabinet ripped out and replaced, the layout doesn’t really work for us as is. So I have some relatively small short(ish) term plans and then a grand, expensive long term plan to talk about.
Here’s how the kitchen is looking right now:
And here’s the other side (this is an older picture, but it’s the same now. Except paint keeps chipping of the chairs. Grr….):
What you can’t see in either of these is that the refrigerator sits on the other side of the island, across from the sink and that window to the sun room. It’s the only thing on that wall, and it has a weird built in cabinet thing around it. I am going to make you a diagram. Oh, but first, here: I found a picture where you can sort of see it.
Here’s the floor plan of the first floor as is….I think you have enough information to fill in where all the counters and appliances and stuff are with your imagination now:
Okay, so I hate the refrigerator being on that wall. It just chops up the room in a weird way; I feel like it would seem much bigger and more open if there were a clear path between the dining room doorway (and the other half of the kitchen) and the hallway (that hallway has a half bath off to the right, then straight ahead leads to the den and the front door and foyer are to the left).
The eating area is fairly small, particularly for our family of six. We built the table specifically to be narrow and just long enough for six chairs so it would fit the space well, but that area is still kind of cramped. We also have a table and chairs in the dining room right next door AND another one in the sunroom (although we use that more as a desk/extra seating for guests, not as a table for eating), so three tables in three adjacent rooms is kind of overkill.
Our short term plan for making this room more suited to our needs is to move the refrigerator over to the wall where the table is now and expand the island so that it’s big enough to have both a food prep area and seating for at least six.
(A note here: I’m not entirely sure if this is a “good for resale” kind of decision. I’m sure there are plenty of people who want room for a table in a kitchen and don’t see counter height seating as a reasonable substitute. It also means putting the refrigerator a fair distance away from the stove and sink (although there would still be the coveted “triangle”). We did run an earlier version of these plans past the realtor we worked with when we moved, and she seemed to think they were reasonable. But mostly, I’m relatively confident we won’t be going anywhere for a very long time, which gives us some freedom when we make decisions like this. I don’t want to do insane, irreversible things that would make the house hard to sell, but I’m fine making changes that work for us but are not necessarily “safe” or universally beloved).
The long term plan is to also knock out the wall where there’s a bay window right now to give us a little more space in here and to make the sunroom and kitchen more open to each other (my primary frustration about our floor plan is that the half bath in the center hall makes it pretty much impossible to open the kitchen and den up to each other. But our sunroom is really the room we use as a family room, so we could have the same basic idea by opening them up more; they already feel fairly connected now, with the open doorway plus that window). Long term plan would also give us more natural light in the kitchen, as right now the only window in there opens onto a covered porch.
This is where we’d like the kitchen to wind up eventually (I have NO clue how much this sort of project might cost. Moving exterior walls is not a DIY project we’re comfortable with. As such, I couldn’t begin to tell you when this might happen):
(I should note here that my plan was to have Dave make this future kitchen layout pic for you with some degree of competence. But he’s very busy with AP exams coming up and all, so I had to do it myself. Minus the competence part. I apologize. Maybe it will make at least a tiny bit of sense:
Umm. So, yeah…..the black lines are the existing walls and I went over it with pretty colors where we want to make changes. So the bay window would be gone, replaced by two windows side by side there looking right out onto the open deck (at the same time, we’d close up the weird gap between the deck and the sunroom by expanding the deck over a few feet. Because it’s just weird right now). Then a door out onto the porch (right now it’s screened, but I’m thinking we’ll leave it covered but take down the screens at some point). Big opening between kitchen and sunroom and a glorious wall with the refrigerator plus built in storage. Storage!
For awhile I thought we needed to wait to make any big changes in the kitchen until we could do the whole thing…but the more I thought about it, the more reasonable it seemed to go ahead do the move the fridge/expand the island part sooner rather than later. Eventually we’d like the wall of built in cabinets around the refrigerator, but in the short term I think some freestanding storage and maybe some shelving would work fine and could look good.
I’m hoping we can get this part done this year or early next year. It’s still a pretty big project. I think we can handle expanding the island ourselves, but replacing the counter top will be a big expense. I’ll save talking about different countertop choices for another post….obviously the current granite on the island will need to go, so I’ll at least get a chance to reduce the amount of speckly granite in here. There are some other little, more aesthetic changes to talk about, too (like that chandelier will be leaving, so lighting will need to be addressed)…..maybe I’ll stuff all of that into the countertop post!