We’ve been living in this house for 7.5 years, and I’ve dreamed of a new kitchen since the day we moved in. It’s not terrible. It was somewhat updated by the previous owner (new flooring, countertops, and cabinets painted white), but there is still the ancient (tiny) oven, and the Jenn-Air range which is great in theory, but in practice leaves me with only 2 stove burners.
This house is not ideal for living with 2 teenage boys, so we’ve been pondering how long we want to stay. But the fact is, we’ve worked on EVERY SINGLE other room in this house, and we’re not anxious to do that again. And to find a new house in the location we want that is already updated to our specifications is financially unrealistic at this time.
And so, we’ve decided to do a total kitchen remodel. We’re both a little gun shy, because we’ve done this before – on our previous house – and it was a TON of work. And we didn’t have kids then. Thankfully, our boys are old enough now that they’re pretty independent, and I’m home full-time so I can put a lot of energy into the project.
You can see the ancient stove on the left of this photo. It doesn’t hold a full-size cookie sheet, and the door doesn’t quite close right. It’s functional, but obviously not ideal. A little beyond that is the range, which has 1 large and one small burner on the right side, and a flat griddle/grill on the left side which (again) is cool in theory but almost never gets used.
Here’s where we’ve got some wackiness happening. See the opening where the red (pantry) cabinet is? That was the original spot for the fridge. But our fridge is so large that when it sits there, it feels really strange and claustrophobic. So we moved it down the wall, and you’ll notice it’s in front of a door to the backyard. This is the original back door. But you’ll also notice that just on the other side of the doorway out of the kitchen is a sliding door to the backyard, rendering the original backdoor entirely useless.
Part of our plan is to take out that original door behind the fridge and close off the wall. It’s also obviously not ideal having the fridge doors open into the entry to the dining room, so we’ll be getting a counter-depth fridge and moving it slightly to the left.
See that metal prep table? It totally changed and completely improved the functionality of the kitchen.
This is the other side of the kitchen. There are no built-in cabinets here, so we added this shelving and the prep table. The prep table is where the boys sit to eat breakfast and lunch, play with play-doh and messy stuff, and works great as an extra work area when two of us are cooking at the same time.
I actually really like the way the kitchen is laid out right now. It’s taken a long time, but I’ve finally tweaked the layout enough that it’s really functional for us. But it’s not pretty. It works, and if I had to live with it this way, I could. But I don’t, so yay! When I sat down to work on a design on the Ikea kitchen planner yesterday, I came out with a layout that is very similar to what we have now, while also solving a couple of problems.
I added a tall pantry cabinet to the right of the fridge to avoid the problem of having the fridge doors open into the doorway to the dining room. It does leave a wonky space aboove due to the soffit, but I’m thinking it wouldn’t take much to just build out the soffit to the pantry and put a small wine rack above the fridge to make use of that extra space.
I intend to put open shelving to the right of the window for dishes. The open wall space to the right of the stove and left of the window is up for grabs. Because the room is small, I like the idea of lots of open shelving, but I’m not sure yet. We’ll put in a built-in microwave above the stove.
This is obviously just a first shot at coming up with a new layout. We did consider taking out part of or all of the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. We’re trying to keep our budget as low as possible, and although I’d like to open things up a bit more, I don’t think it’s really necessary. The only other fantasy I have is putting in a larger window that would take up most of the open space on that back wall. I’ll probably look into it, because I think it would brighten up the room a lot.
We will probably be doing an Ikea kitchen. Our friend Joe is a master carpenter and has also installed a number of Ikea kitchens. We’re hoping to have him do a lot of the work, so we’ll definitely take his input into consideration.
I am leaning toward lots of white, because I think with such a small closed-in space, we need as much brightness as we can get. I hate how dirty white cabinets can get, but I think they’d be much easier to clean than the painted wood I have now. But all of that is up in the air.
I’m not really looking forward to having a torn up kitchen for months, but that’s how it goes. I’m not sure when we’ll get started. It’ll likely be another month or two of planning before we really start in earnest.
Oh, and thanks to Am-Fam who has done a lot of kitchen research and is pointing me toward some very helpful information!