Monday, May 29, 2017

Kitchen Remodel: Part One

I thought I would kick off this series of posts that I will eventually be making on this subject unless other circumstances intervene. Above is our current kitchen layout that I drew using some software I bought online several years ago. Back then I was mulling the possibilities and wanted to put it out on paper. I'll walk you through what you are viewing. The rectangular somewhat outlined in purple is the outside walls of our house though the roof line continues over that area creating a porch. The porch has a poured concrete surface that I assume is anchored on the front by a footing. Our basement foundation walls follow the purple line. (Please forgive my colorblindness if it is actually blue.)

Problem one we have with the layout is the entryway shown on the right. It is very narrow requiring one to squeeze tightly against the wall to allow a guest to enter so that you can graciously shut the door behind them. Instead we usually walk backwards to the kitchen entryway and then go back and shut the door behind guests if they haven't already closed the door. It also faces a T-intersection in the street out front which according to my wife is just bad feng shui.

Although adequate in size, our kitchen in the center has a serious flaw and that is the entry points. The refrigerator on the right when open, blocks off one entry point and the double wall oven labeled U302490 above equally closes down the left entryway. Both points are narrow enough that when we had to replace our refrigerator, we had to special order it just to fit through the wider doorway on the right.

Other issues that are serious flaws but which we hope to correct is the pantry space. Currently, the only pantry space is a small floor to ceiling cabinet on the right side of the refrigerator. Most of our dry good occupy that space and most of our canned goods are in the basement, a long ways away. The microwave (not shown) is situated right above the cooktop on the right. Because the door opens from the right, it means that someone can't use the microwave while someone else is using the cooktop. It also means that when using large canning vessels which I do a lot of in the summer months, I have to put the jars into the canner and then slide it under the microwave to process and similar when emptying it. I need more vertical space between the stove top and the bottom of the microwave or better yet, move the microwave to an entirely different location.

Finally, By the time we have our can opener, spice rack, toaster, food processor, rice dispenser, coffee pot, container of stirring utensils, salt and pepper grinder and a few other things I'm probably forgetting sitting on the counter top, there is very limited room for anything else such as making pie crusts or sitting a warm pot while cooking something else.

So how to fix all these things? My first thought was to look over at the space to the left which is what one would call a breakfast nook these days. It would be cozy for two people to breakfast there but with two kids and a live-in mother-in-law, it would be cozy in more ways than one! The simple plan would just eliminate the breakfast nook and expand into that space. Currently it houses our china hutch and a catchall buffet table that we bought at an auction years ago. It also houses our shoes, my daughter's backpacks and sometimes stray coats because not shown is an entry door from the garage which is past the wall on the left.

If we expanded that way, we would get a decent sized kitchen, but would gain just a little counter space since one wall is still occupied by our china hutch and it wouldn't solve the narrow entryway or bad feng shui problems. It also wouldn't allow for a kitchen island which is probably one of the bigger selling points for remodeled kitchens and a place where we are guaranteed to have room to work on food that isn't cluttered up by kitchen accessories.

So I started looking about expanding out to the bottom of the above drawing. That presented it's own challenges to me. First, any plumbing expansion in that direction would end up outside our foundation walls and insulated envelope meaning I would at minimum have to create some sort of crawlspace to access and insulate that space. To get that deep, one would already be pouring 2/3rds of a basement so going ahead and expanding the basement footprint as well is probably going to be the best solution however, digging all that out, attaching it to the existing structure and making sure the loads are distributed were all things I wasn't sure I could handle. That is when we decided that if we were going to get serious, we needed to hire someone to help us out on that aspect. Stay tuned on the next post for the first draft of that.


Kelly said...

This is going to get interesting, I can already tell. Talk of expanding the basement below starts sounding quite serious (but then we don't have basements around here, so digging around underground is well beyond my expertise). You definitely need more workspace and pantry/storage. We have a butcher block island with storage below which works for prep and for dining.

Ed said...

Kelly - If it wasn't for the basement aspect, I think I would have attempted this project entirely myself from start to finish. But I've never "added" onto a basement in any way and have some concerns about how to go about it which is why we opted to at least get a professional involved in the design stage.