People always talk about their dream kitchen. Well, I got mine last year when we bought a house and remodeled it. For months, I had been spending a fortune on magazines, tearing out pictures of what I wanted my kitchen, bathroom and every other room in the house to look like. But the kitchen was special; after all, it’s the center of our home, where so much happens, and where I spend most of my waking hours. As a cooking instructor, I also had to have a large island where students could sit and watch me prep and teach. I had to have lots of storage, plenty of counter space, and great appliances. And, it had to be pretty. Because the kitchen opens to the family room and breakfast room, everything had to work together. Over the next several posts, I’ll walk you through our kitchen journey.
If you’ve ever remodeled any room, you know that you have to work within the confines of the existing structure. We didn’t need to move walls – there weren’t any to move. We didn’t want to move plumbing or gas. But other than that, anything was possible. The kitchen space is a big rectangle, almost like a galley kitchen, but much wider (we can dance in the middle of the kitchen!), with an island at one end.
Here are the challenges we started with:
1. Two islands: one housed the sink and dishwasher and separated the kitchen from the family room and breakfast room; that was staying, but it had a ledge which blocked the sight lines, took up space and wouldn’t work for my cooking classes; the second island was long and skinny in the center of the kitchen; it made moving around awkward; that one would go (but we saved the granite top for another use).
2. The existing double oven opened right into the side of the main island. It was only 27″ wide which wouldn’t work either. I need a standard 30″ oven for all the sheet pans I use. The oven would move.
3. The pantry was a big closet set on the diagonal which really cut into the space of the kitchen, and there was a lot of wasted space inside. It would be moved and reconfigured.
4. The vent over the stove top was a huge stainless monster. We couldn’t move it but it would be covered. We debated about the glass blocks behind the stove top. Eventually we decided to leave them since we wanted the added light from the south.
5. On the other side of the kitchen from the stove top, ovens, and refrigerator was a long counter with a wine cooler. We didn’t need the wine cooler in the kitchen (We were converting the dining room into a bar-but that’s another story), but the space was perfect for the under counter microwave drawer I’d always wanted. Also, the counter dropped down for a desk area. I wanted one height, for prepping and to use as a buffet. I needed more book shelves for all my cookbooks, so those would go in here.
6. The kitchen and breakfast room were slate which we swore we would never have again. Since the family room had beautiful hardwoods, we would rip out the slate and replace with hard wood for a seamless look.
7. The cabinets were stained a light honey color. My dream was crisp white cabinets. I was hoping that we could reuse some of the cabinets, but after our contractor and cabinet maker looked at them, they said the cabinets weren’t worth keeping. Out damn cabinets!
In the end, we completely gutted the kitchen. Best decision we made.
Stay tuned for more updates on the kitchen saga.