Kitchen Post #2 - Layout, Before & After

Way back in August 2009 we began planning our kitchen remodel. This is the awful floorplan we started with:
The kitchen is about 12 ft x 11 ft with one corner cut out. No windows. 3 doors to other rooms. A hallway in a sense. There was only one about 7 ft long stretch of counter/cabinets, with the sink taking up 3 ft of that. And then 2.5 ft on the other end was back in a corner that was hard to reach. The top wall in the pic above had a freestanding "cabinet" next to the corner cabinet, a portable dishwasher that we would store there and wheel up to the sink when needed, and a freestanding electric range. And then our fridge was parked over in a corner on the other side of the room by itself (till we added a freestanding hutch to contain our food in the kitchen - which was an improvement, you see, since we had previously kept all the food in the adjacent laundry room cabinets).

Here's a before photo to help you out.

Here are just a few of many things wrong with this space:
  • 18" of actual usable counter space crammed into a corner
  • We had to store nearly everything in the upper wall cabinets since mice seemed to continuously live in the base cabinets - during the remodel we found where they were getting in and blocked them off. It's much better now! PTL!
  • the breaker box was located above the dishwasher {we really wanted to hang wall cabinets on that wall but it was against code to have cabinets in front of the breaker box}
  • fake gray brick backsplash {Dave jokes that that's what sold him on the house-ew!}
  • wood grain outlet covers
  • bottom drawer wouldn't close, face of top drawer had fallen off on many occasions - hard to open with no drawer pulls...haha!
  • spray foam in the corner of the toe kick (our attempt at keeping mice out)
  • "faux" diagonal wood grain on the "sauder-like" cabinet doors {which wouldn't stay closed btw}

You can tell just how little storage we had when you look at the top of the cabinet and the fridge. Everything was always sitting out like that because there was nowhere to put it.

In the photo above you can see we also had a table on the other wall (to the left) for our microwave to sit on and some other food. And over by the fridge, you can see the mysterious red stain on the linoleum from the previous owners. We always assumed they had spilled koolaid or something. But, ew!

Here are photos of the overloaded wall cabinets:

Anyways, so as you can see, we had our work cut out for us in creating a beautiful, functional space.

First off, the room was just CRAVING natural light. So we decided to tear out half the wall between the kitchen and the small front room which has a huge bay window. It would flood the kitchen with natural light and help the front room to feel larger too.

Our awesome friend Nick came over one evening and helped Dave construct a temporary wall, tear out the top half of the wall, and build a header to support the ceiling joists since this was a load bearing wall. Turns out this process was not near as hard as we had imagined it would be.

And this is what we were left with after all their hard work! It was SO much more open.

Then it was time for me to finalize the floorplan. This is where I really got involved in the project. This is the kind of stuff I live for. If anyone ever mentions remodeling my mind instantly starts going crazy with ideas!

After much deliberation, we ended up with something similar to this:

I drew all the floorplans and elevations out by hand to scale on graph paper (I'd show you those but don't have a scanner - boo!) But for the blog's sake I drew these floorplans using Lowe's Virtual Designer on their website. It is a very handy tool that produces 2D floorplans and 3D visualizations. So much fun for a little design nerd like me...

We tossed around the idea of having an island in the new layout but it just would not fit. Someone once told me it's recommended to have at least 4 ft wide walkways on all sides of an island (especially if someone would need to use a walker/wheelchair around it and that's not even possible in our small kitchen). So we decided we'd install a peninsula separating the kitchen and front room where the wall had been. We would add a little breakfast bar counter to pull up some stools to in the front room.
Dave & I argued about whether we should move the sink. I thought we should leave it where it was, put the fridge where the stove was and put the stove on the peninsula looking into the front room. But he convinced me that the current sink location was in such a dark little hole and he wanted it to be on the peninsula facing our guests while entertaining and looking out the bay window. He did have a point that that would be nice. Nowadays I LOVE washing dishes and looking out the bay window at the Indiana countryside.

And he pointed out that the refrigerator would be best tucked into that cavernous hole where the old sink used to be. And the stove would stay roughly where it was. So here's a rough 3D visualization from the Lowe's site:

I also went through this design and imagined where I would store every single item that we wanted to store in our kitchen (small appliances, dishes, food, etc.) since we currently kept all kinds of kitchen related items all over our home due to a lack of storage in the kitchen and I realized that it would not be enough cabinet space so I added a 12" deep 36" wide floor to ceiling pantry on the wall opposite the fridge. So glad we did that. It provides SO MUCH storage for food, canned goods, etc. And there's just enough room to walk between it and the sink base.

Here are the after photos. I think the layout worked out quite nicely. We have a great "work triangle" with a nice cooking zone, cleanup zone, etc.

You know, we can fit literally 4 5-gallon buckets in the cabinet above the fridge alone! We joke that that cabinet alone is more storage than we had in an entire kitchen beforehand.

I literally thank my husband every day for this new kitchen. It is so much fun to work in!

Stay tuned later this month for more info on how we DIY-ed our own cabinets, countertops, etc. Anything to save a buck ;)


Colleen said...

Coming over from iheart organizing. love your new kitchen. Such beautiful choices!

Anonymous said...

WOW! What an incredible transformation! I saw your link on YHL - I cannot believe how much work you did yourself! Well done!

free standing pantry said...

Really nice kitchen can't take out eyes from it.

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