Feature Story: Kitchen Remodel Part I

September 2, 2011 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

I recently remodeled a cramped, outdated kitchen to meet the needs of a multi-generational household who ranged in ages from 2 to 62. The kitchen had multiple problems including small, dark cabinets that provided very little storage space and an oven so narrow that their cookie sheets had to slide into the grooves that held the oven racks in order for it to fit. The burners on the electric stove were lopsided causing food to burn on one side and remain undercooked on the other side. The refrigerator leaked and turning on the exhaust fan meant all conversation had to cease because it was so loud. But worst of all, was the wall that separated the main kitchen from the eat-in area and cut the space off entirely from the surrounding family and dining rooms. The only part of the kitchen that seemed salvageable was the window over the sink.

During the design phase of the project, I met with the family to discuss their desires for their new kitchen. In order to maximize the budget, we developed a list of needs vs. wants. The design of the kitchen would need to be functional for the grandmother, particularly as she aged and potentially became less mobile, as well as the kids, who were avid bakers. It would also need to be durable enough to take some abuse from the younger kids.

The first thing we addressed was the layout. We tore down the wall between the kitchen and the family room and instantly transformed the two small spaces into one large area for eating and entertaining. The absent wall didn’t diminish our storage space; instead we extended the wall of cabinets to the end of the new larger kitchen and practically doubled the storage space. We also eliminated the eat-in section of the kitchen and incorporated a large island which provided additional storage and workspace as well as a place where the family could eat.

On the top of the family’s needs list was storage, a pantry, workspace, and a single bowl sink. To accommodate these needs we designed a wall dedicated to storage which included a large pantry with pull-out shelves. The pull-out shelves in the pantry are on full-extension drawer slides so they come all the way out making it much easier to look for things. The pantry is 24” deep like the base cabinets so it holds a lot more than the upper cabinets which are only 12” deep. Also on this wall is the refrigerator and ovens, both with additional cabinetry over the tops of these appliances. We incorporated large drawers to store pots, lids, plates, etc. The pot drawers are conveniently located under the cooktop. Where possible, we used fewer large cabinets rather than several smaller cabinets because you can store more in larger cabinets.

So far, so good… come back to find out how we created more storage, updated their finishes and added functional lighting. Plus, you’ll want to see the “after” picture of this transformation!


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Before You Renovate Your Kitchen

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