We bought our house knowing we would be doing (a lot) of work to it. One area in particular was the kitchen. I read somewhere on a blog that you should live in your house for a year with the current kitchen before you go gutting/remodeling it to find out what works and what does not (by actually living in it), hence the kitchen renovation layout plan. As much as I wanted to tear it apart right when we moved in, we knew the whole main floor reno would be a process, so we started to consider what we liked/didn’t like before starting our renovation.
Let’s start with the positive (glass half full).
- The cabinets themselves are made of real wood, solid oak. Very sturdy. This made it difficult for us to say “just gut them and replace with new ones” because a lot of new cabinets are pressed particle board and Matt just couldn’t not have real wood (which I understand)
- The cabinets went to the ceiling maximizing storage = win!
- The general “U” layout of the kitchen really worked well in the space. With the garage access door where it is, the window above the sink, and the sliding door in the dining area, it really utilized the footprint well.
Oh boy, I warn you, it’s a big list. A combination of both function and aesthetics.
- The cabinets (oh wait, I thought we liked those?) Well, we liked the real wood aspect of them. What we didn’t like was: the orange-y 80’s color, how the doors were flat and lacked depth, the hardware, and somewhat the layout (more on that later)
- The scallop above the sink, enough said
- The lack of counter space (hence our microwave sitting on our counter = pet peeve!)
- The Jenn-Air stove with its “easy-bake-oven” size oven (for real, pans had to go in vertically and it couldn’t fit a Papa Murphy’s family size pizza. Not. Ok.)
- The pantry (cabinet next to the fridge in the photo above) ate up valuable counter space/kitchen area and it was a black hole of no organization
- When you walked in from the garage (to the left of the fridge in the photo above), which is an access we used often, the fridge pretty much smacked you in the face (or so it seemed) since it was right up next to the door.
- Our garbage that sat out for the world to see (and smell) at the end of the cabinets. Ew.
- The 70s step down counter that was a dumping ground for junk
- The floor – 60’s yellow/orange faux cobblestone laminate just isn’t a dream of mine. “Shocking” I know.
- Lighting – Yep there was one overhead light for the entire kitchen space (one of two in the entire main floor, they didn’t believe in overhead lights back in the 1960s, lamps were the cool thing)
So first thing was first, were we going to gut and 100% start over with new cabinets/layout? Long story short, we decided no. It was a combination of the high cost of new cabinets, and knowing we had real wood solid oak cabinets that were super sturdy and had potential (I KNEW I could save them and bring them back to life!) But we did want to change the layout (slightly), so we knew we would be building a kitchen with a mix of ‘old’ and ‘new’ cabinets. Oh boy, here we go.
KITCHEN RENOVATION LAYOUT CHANGES:
As I mentioned in the list above, you don’t really how much you hate a refrigerator being right next to a door unless you experience it. Our light switches for the kitchen and garage were also BEHIND the fridge so you had to stick your hand behind there to use them. Just silly. So, we knew we wanted to move the fridge but our layout didn’t lend too many options. Therefore, we decided to slide it inward and put a 1 foot cabinet on either side of the fridge. To the left, there was now the 1’ cabinet right when you walk in the door from the garage (and we can access our light switches!) Also a great spot for coffee cups, charging phones, etc. On the other side of the fridge, it was the buffer between the newly placed stove and the fridge.
Stove Location (& Update)
Our retro Jenn-Air stove used to be on the peninsula side of our kitchen, leaving a scrappy amount of counter space on either side. Not ideal. We chose to move the stove location (and upgraded to a new dual oven, 5 burner gas stove. Swoon! Quite the upgrade) over to the garage wall side to free up much needed counter space.
Extend countertop for garbage/more counter space
At first I worried that we were extending our kitchen, but I think that now-a-days as compared to the 1960s when the house was built, the kitchen is so much more of a living space and social gathering place than a tucked away secluded area. Therefore, we decided to extend the former peninsula side of the kitchen out to flush with the new 1’ cabinet by the door to the garage. This also allowed us to build a pull out garbage drawer so that we would never have to look at (or smell) our trash cans out in the open (hallelujah!) AND gave us even more counter space, which let’s be honest, you can really never have enough of. Win. Win.
Add bar-height counter
I grew up in a kitchen that had a raised bar-height counter and I have memories of sitting there ALL the time. Homework, breakfast, lunch, sometimes even dinner, or just hanging out with my Mom while she cooked dinner (still in the kitchen to socialize but out of the way). I knew I wanted to add this to our kitchen and I’m SO glad we did.
Layout Before & After
So as not glamorous as my mockup plans are, this was really a huge undertaking to figure out the new layout of the kitchen without REALLY changing the footprint/designated space. (And now you have officially familiarized yourself with our OLD fabulous 1960’s orange-y kitchen as it was in all it’s glory. That will be clutch when you see the new reno and the huge transformation!)
I am so excited we are ALMOST done wrapping up our entire kitchen process that has literally taken a year to undergo (in our defense, we did a lot of the work ourselves, and had a baby Jaw-dropping before/after photos to come!!