Planning our DIY kitchen remodel— tentative layout and design.
The kitchen is the only room in the house that has not dictated its own layout.
Even the bathrooms, which seemed to have no end to the decision-making, really only had three items that needed to be triangulated.
And even though the tile search drove me insane, I was not trying to redefine the CONCEPT of tile… I was willing to accept the theory behind a water-resistant material applied to the floor in a semi-permanent manner.
But with the kitchen, I wanted to redefine EVERYTHING… it became a grueling slog through ideas that went nowhere, Craigslist purchases that were misguided, and my fantasy of Newport-Gilded-Age-Butler’s-Pantry-of-Fanciness-That-Only-Cost-Five-Dollars.
Getting the piano as our island finally helped eliminate some options and we are planning traditional cabinets around the perimeter of the room.
Here are some details you need to understand to help make sense of the kitchen design… (if you REALLY want to understand the space, you can go back and look at these three posts: kitchen, addition, overall layout.)
— you enter our kitchen from the left of the refrigerator, and the sink wall is the first thing you see.
— did we consider swapping the sink and the range? Yes. But the current layout is the most visually pleasing to me: I do not want to walk into the kitchen and see the stove… I’d like to keep the width of the room feeling as open as possible.
— even though we are going to have traditional kitchen cabinets around the perimeter, I would prefer to keep anything distinctly kitchen-y out of the immediate line of sight.
— plus, our repurposed antique piano kitchen island is the immediate focal point when you enter the room, and I would like to complement that.
— the entrance to the kitchen is cut on an angle… (there used to be a swinging butler’s door.)
—in the mockups, the unused wall appears to be suitable for cabinets, but it is actually too tight to accommodate anything countertop-depth… (possible if we’d gone with a smaller island.)
We could do shallow, pantry-type-storage; either recessed (like our DIY medicine cabinet), or slightly bumped out, but with furniture-details to make it look built-in… even just 8″ deep would be a huge amount of storage when spread from floor to ceiling.
BUT I’m running out of wall space in this house. And at some point I will find something giant and fancy that I’d RATHER put there. LIKE THIS, so I am unwilling to commit to boring practicality.
Here’s the inspiration anyway… I don’t love the barn doors, but they illustrate a shallow space hidden by something repurposed. (I would do salvaged pocket doors instead.)
— my overall goal is to keep the kitchen as open as possible.
The room is long in relation to the width, especially if you consider the addition… I would really like no upper cabinets at all, but I’ve explored the extent to which that would be a LOT of open shelving. So we are going to do glass-front upper cabinets which should help make it feel less boxed-in.
—unconventional window layout.
On the sink wall, we have a window in the corner, and one to the right of where the sink will be. We’re not going to move either of them and we’re not going to add a window. We considered it. But ultimately, our house was built in 1890… not everything will be like new construction.
— the window in the corner is only 10” off the range wall, and goes nearly to the ceiling.
We considered cabinets with glass sides, and also having the cabinet end directly into the window, forgoing molding… but have decided that a short run of open shelving will be the best solution.
We can float the shelves, so that the window molding is uninterrupted, and we don’t end up with issues trying to connect the cabinet’s crown molding into the window’s 120 year old/totally different molding.
I’m still sorting out details; you can see I’m using a mix of designs and perspectives… the overall plan is working itself out now that I’ve accepted traditional cabinets, but I haven’t started on the specifics, which is the miserable part… for me, decisions = paralysis.
Where we are now/ what’s next:
– move the makeshift kitchen BACK to the kitchen area so that we can
– remove the half bath in the addition.
– gut the back wall.
– sheet rock the wall where we remove the bathroom.
– sheet rock the ceiling in the addition.
– install recessed lighting in addition.
– gut / sheet rock the sink wall in the kitchen.
– decide about kitchen floor.
– decide if we are taking up the flooring in the addition.
– paint back doors— inside white/outside color.
– paint everything else– no more orange!!!!
– make decisions about kitchen details/layout/cabinets.
– find piano drawer hardware.
– figure out some window configuration for the back wall.
– order windows.
– install windows.
– scrounge up matching molding for new windows.
Like this, but fancier:
September 24, 2015 @ 10:08 am
It’s going to look beautiful. I was planning on remolding my kitchen befire I lost my home due to illness. Keep up the good work. Your an inspiration.
September 24, 2015 @ 10:13 am
No built-in microwave over the stove? I think you’ll regret giving up valuable counter space.
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
September 24, 2015 @ 10:23 am
that’s in the uncertain-details-column… you can see it in the first two perspectives if you really look for it.
September 24, 2015 @ 10:33 am
You are tall. put the microwave in the cabinet above the fridge. I hate hate hate my microwave/exhaust vent/stove setup. It’s ugly and gross (always splattered with cooking oil) but it came with the house. I think my next kitchen purchase will be a lovely proper stand-alone exhaust hood. My other microwave lives in the pantry where it is currently serving as a cabinet for the toaster…oh what a tangled web we weave… Once I tear the hideous microwave contraption off the wall, I will put the pantry microwave into use, but until then, it seems redundant and pointless.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:14 pm
Yes and then lift a full bowl of liquid into it and heat it up and then get it down and out without spilling it all over yourself….
September 24, 2015 @ 1:39 pm
Please, please don’t put the microwave over the stove! Believe me you will regret it. That is one thing that will ruin any class or vintage feel to your kitchen. I know it is hard to keep a new kitchen in an old house from looking new, and putting a microwave over the stove will write NEW all over the place.
September 24, 2015 @ 10:14 am
I am glad you are sane enough (?) to realize you want some kind of doors on the pantry area. Photos like the one above, where a person has 48 unopened bottles of Pelligrino and 24 bottles of unspecified juice or soda upset me because, come on… this isn’t how people use storage space. I know you will triumph over all of this kitchen stuff and manage to throw in a disco ball or seven, when we aren’t looking.
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
September 24, 2015 @ 10:25 am
the pelligrino people are planning a really high-end apocalypse.
September 26, 2015 @ 1:40 pm
October 7, 2015 @ 10:38 am
Don’t EVEN consider that. So so so wrong for any home except a tiny tract home in the suburbs with NO other venting options.
September 24, 2015 @ 12:21 pm
How about a microwave drawer? I love mine and it fits great into a cabinet base or retrofitted furniture piece. I only use it to warm things up or melt gooey stuff but the teenager uses it a lot.
September 29, 2015 @ 10:57 pm
I would LOVE to see a photo of this idea- it sounds so intriguing! I just can’t picture it 🙁
September 24, 2015 @ 10:27 am
I think this looks like a much more reasonable solution. When you see the kitchens with every inch some unique salvaged/customized detail…it can be a bit much. In a Victorian home, kitchens were simple and utilitarian because they were spaces for staff, not the lady of the house. There is something gentile about that… Not that we want coal stoves and water cisterns. I think you are achieving a lovely compromise. You want the kitchen to FUNCTION as a space to prepare meals, first and foremost. And I absolutely agree with leaving one wall “blank.” I did the same thing, covering it in a fabulous anthropologie wallpaper. It is enough of a statement for me, and I also don’t feel trapped by cabinets closing in on me.
September 24, 2015 @ 10:28 am
This plan will look so amazing! I agree with Dianne that you need to do the built in microwave. When do the pre-divorce proceedings begin, i.e., construction work. 🙂
September 24, 2015 @ 1:06 pm
You don’t know Paul…! He’s come too far to turn back now..! LOL He’s a SAINT..!! They make beautiful music together..!! (you should SEE them DANCE..!!) ????? BTW… microwave?? Put it in a place like the ‘regular’ oven… You’ll HATE it over the stove..!! LOOKS good, but useless..! Especially, if the ‘Kitchen Police’ get involved and you have to have it 32″ ABOVE the stove top..! NOT..!! (If you USE IT, put it waist height, or lower!)
September 24, 2015 @ 10:46 am
I have a small kitchen and love having the microwave mounted over the stove.
Kisses to Elvis!
September 24, 2015 @ 10:48 am
I see a light at the end of the tunnel! I’m sure you don’t though — such a long to-do list! Your plan looks great, and is a wee bit similar to my remodeled kitchen. We worked long and hard to try to figure out each detail perfectly and came close. But to forewarn you (and hopefully not burst your bubble), there is no such thing as perfection. And even if you do get it perfect, someone will come along and accidentally nick the marble or scratch the wood. Sigh!
September 24, 2015 @ 10:49 am
Picture 3 with the glass front storage makes me swoon. That is so beautiful and the drawers will hide all the less beautiful things that live in a kitchen. Your to do list makes me feel like there is hope for my house too. Sometimes I look at my list and want to stick a for sale sign in the yard and move on.
September 24, 2015 @ 10:51 am
Fun to see all of that. Where are the photos of the island you’ll be using? We NEED to see it.
September 24, 2015 @ 1:15 pm
OMG.. If you haven’t seen it, (the island) go looking at the older posts..!! It’s a gorgeous piano case with beautiful legs.. It’s retro-fitted (by Paul, as I recall!!) with large drawers..!! WHO KNEW..!!?? (except for Elizabeth.!!) To die for..!! Can’t wait to see the whole thing, myself.. I’ve been missing you.!! Absolutely LOVE the pantry in the second pic.. (right door open)..!! LOVE the color, too… (any names of the paint?) you’re inspiring me again..!! Keep up the good work..!!
September 24, 2015 @ 10:55 am
I think it’s going to look great! The inspiration photo I prefer is number 3. I can’t wait to see the finished kitchen 🙂
September 24, 2015 @ 11:43 am
We just moved our stairs and instead of drywalling the new wall, put floor to ceiling shelves between the studs on the side that faces our kitchen. We used 2×6 studs instead of 2×4 and I’m using mason jars (making me the ultimate hipster). So much storage without messing with my space. I’m sure it could be made fancier fairly easily too.
September 24, 2015 @ 11:51 am
You should seriously consider making ALL of the lower cabinets drawers. I know you’ve been to the place of TKO (totally kitchen obsessed) and drawers are the bomb!
The rest is amazing!
September 24, 2015 @ 2:32 pm
YES! We now have 24 drawers of various sizes under the counters! ALL of them are in use and NO ONE gets on his/her knees to find something!
The only not-drawers are under the sink (but we installed two pull-outs so we still don’t use our knees) and the corner carousel.
Years after we’re gone, people who buy this house will thank us!
September 24, 2015 @ 11:52 am
Your plans look great. It looks very functional and still nice. Have you considered staggered height/depth upper cabinets? I have them in my kitchen and it adds a nice bit of fanciness, especially with crown mouldings around the top. The staggered height means I get more crown moulding. Also, my over the fridge cabinet is 24″ deep which means its’ actually usable.
September 24, 2015 @ 11:53 am
I really appreciate the time and thought and effort you are putting into your kitchen. I want to you to rest in the imperfection that will be your gorgeous kitchen. There will be things you wish you had thought of but didn’t. There will be limitations of time, space, and budget that force you to compromise. There will be choices you later question. Your creative voices will want to re-think the whole project after the last dish is in place. And yet, you will have a FABULOUS kitchen.
September 24, 2015 @ 12:22 pm
I just love your entire esthetic. As someone who grew up in Newport and worked in many of the Gilded Age mansions, I completely “get” the allure of hand carved, big, dust gathering furnishings. My house is filled with them (even though I live in a beach community 15 mins from Newport my house does not lend itself to the large and blingy I’m still making it work). Keep going – can’t wait to see how it all turns out!
September 24, 2015 @ 12:26 pm
It’s going to be beautiful!!!! If you can just feel confident in the cabinet choices, your incredible design eye for detail will be the magic that will be seen.
I do this for builders all the time, so excuse the redundancy if you’re already aware…. make sure to put a filler or leave a small slice of space to the left of the refrigerator to allow door opening better and to pull out if needed. Staggered height on some of the cabinets looks really great if you want to add more specialness. Any consideration of a corner sink to take advantage of the window so you’re not staring at a wall in front of you? I hated that in one of my houses, but I know some people are just fine with it.
(Do you mind if I ask which program for layout you’re using?)
September 24, 2015 @ 2:28 pm
I was thinking the same thing about the sink and window. I would hate the idea of not having the window to gaze dreamily out of while sudsing up some pots and pans, or washing vegetables.
September 25, 2015 @ 12:42 pm
Me too, on the window over the sink! I would miss a view, not to mention the daylight.
September 24, 2015 @ 12:27 pm
“like this, but fancier” – Victoria, you’re so funny! 🙂 why NOT have your room off the kitchen look like something out of a palace! I think it would look great ! 🙂
September 24, 2015 @ 12:28 pm
Ok, sorry, ADD gal here…. one more thing: have you checked out the under cabinet base drawers that can be built into the toe kick area? I like to use these as they’re great for storing flat items like placements and linens or a pull out pet bowl, and that space is just wasted.
September 24, 2015 @ 12:47 pm
I love the look of pantry storage number 4. It is elegant, clean, neat, and will be relatively dust free. You are doing an amazing job Elizabeth. Keep up the good work. I am looking forward to the after photos.
September 24, 2015 @ 1:02 pm
I agree with Lisa. Just finished a new kitchen, cottage style. There’s not one lower cabinet door. They’re all drawers. I’m tall and old. My knees do not like to rest on the floor while looking for something. A friend, even older than I, gave me this advise and I’m still reminding her how grateful I am.
I don’t know what your heating system is like, but you might think about toe kick heaters, installed with timers for the kitchen. It ‘s very nice, on a cold morning, to have your toes warmed while the tea pot is heating.
I know you’ll do a beautiful job. Can hardly wait to see it.