kitchen before

As they say, “the kitchen is the heart of the home”. So obviously, a kitchen renovation is an ultra-important major project. And 50% of any major project is coming up with a plan. Without a plan, the project can become that much harder and ultimately take longer to finish. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working on a good plan for our kitchen renovation. Hopefully by now you’ve taken a look at the tour page and seen the before pictures. And just in case you need a refresher on what we had to work with in the kitchen, check out this picture:

Let’s back up to a few hours before this photo was taken. The day we got the keys, the very first thing we did was list the refrigerator for free on Craigslist. In the listing, we made sure to mention that it was in really bad shape and needed a very, very good cleaning. Within minutes of posting, we had several emails from people interested in taking it off our hands. We gave the first person a call and later that afternoon, she came with her pickup truck and a couple of people to help haul it off. In fact, the whole process happened so fast that the before photos are down one refrigerator. Behold, the power of Craigslist!

Over the next few days, we took some time to contemplate exactly what we were going to do with the kitchen. Our first thought was to paint the cabinets, update the hardware, replace the countertops and — of course — buy a new refrigerator. These changes would be relatively inexpensive and tide us over until we were ready for a big kitchen overhaul. But then there’s the layout. The layout wasn’t very “user-friendly,” as Greg would say. Here’s a look at what the layout entailed:

There were three major problems with this layout that needed to be addressed:

  • No working triangle. The placement of the appliances didn’t make for a productive cooking environment. You couldn’t even open the dishwasher while you were standing at the sink! To make matters worse, the stove was nestled up right next to the sink on the other side. We aren’t gourmet chefs but we really enjoy cooking together. Therefore, it’s important to us that we have a productive working triangle in the new kitchen.
  • Window vs. Cabinets. The window was taking up valuable cabinet space. Don’t get us wrong, we love natural light… probably even more than the average person. But this awkwardly placed window was taking up valuable cabinet space. Not only is there a window over the sink, but there is also a window in the door that is located about one foot from the island.
  • Continuity is key. The tile made the space look much smaller because it broke any semblance of continuity between the kitchen and the living area. The kitchen is relatively cozy, so we needed to do everything we could to make the space seem bigger. We decided that the hardwood floors needed to be continued into the kitchen. Even though the tile isn’t our favorite, we opted to keep it in the laundry room for the time being. Though hardwood floors would look lovely in this area, it isn’t necessarily practical for a mud/utility/laundry/high-traffic area.

With these three major dilemmas knocking at our door, the resolution was obvious: we needed to start from scratch. Yep. Scratch. The cabinets were in good shape, so we carefully removed them and gave them to a friend of ours that was nice enough to help us out with the drywall installation. (Mr. Miller, you are completely awesome!) As for the stove and dishwasher, those were passed on to a new neighbor who did most of the framing work throughout the house. (Woody, we are equally completely awesome!) It all worked out pretty well and we have some new BFFs.

After ripping out everything, closing up a window, taking out the ceiling fan, removing the chair railing, continuing the hardwood floors and painting the walls here is what the kitchen looks like today — right now, this very second.

In our opinion, it doesn’t even look like the same place! It may just look like an empty room, but we can already envision the new kitchen coming together. “What’s the plan?” you ask. Here’s what we have in mind:

As you can see, there’s a big difference between what used to be in the kitchen and our new plan. Here are a few of the notable changes:

  • Location, location, location. With the exception of the sink, the appliance layout has completely changed. The dishwasher will be conveniently placed to the right of the kitchen sink. We also decided to place the stove on its own wall — far enough away so someone can be standing at the stove while someone else is at the sink. Also, instead of installing a microwave above the stove, we are going with a range hood. We’ll clue you in on our idea for our microwave’s new home in another post.
  • Bring in the wide load. Another thing you might notice is the extra wide refrigerator. Yep, we are bringing in a counter-depth model. Though these are a little pricier, we feel that it will be worth the extra dough seeing as how cramped the space was with the old refrigerator in place. This will allow the kitchen to “flow” much more effectively and take up a smaller footprint on the floor plan, making having multiple people in the kitchen that much easier.
  • What do you call an attached island? A peninsula…? One aspect we decided to mimic from the original kitchen design is the peninsula. We love to entertain, so having the peninsula to use as a buffet is an extra perk. What’s going to be even more awesome is if we are able to squeeze in a few barstools there, but that’s up in the air at the moment.

So that’s the plan, Stan! Now that we are armed with one, we feel as though we have a good start on this major project. Next time we talk about the kitchen, we’ll discuss cabinets, fixtures, etc.

Do you have a before and after you would like to share with the 7HL readers? If so, send us an email with up to eight photos along with a brief description and important details (the name you want to be known as in the article, paint colors, materials, budget, etc.). We can’t wait to see your projects!

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  • Reply
    Linda b
    October 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Great idea about bringing in a counter-depth fridge. You won’t be sorry!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Dare I ask – where are you cooking? Eating all your meals out? I’d go nuts without my kitchen! Granted, it’s uber tiny and drives me crazy, but I can’t imagine having to live without one, even for a little while!

    • Reply
      October 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      Absolutely! My parents have been so very awesome as to let us stay at their place while we are knee-deep in renovations. They are in and out of town quite often so it hasn’t been as hectic has some might think. And it’s actually been kind of fun living like the Waltons, haha! Nevertheless, we are VERY anxious to finally move in to the house!

      • Reply
        October 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

        Gotta love parents. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    October 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I can’t wait to see what kind of cabinets you are picking out. Any hints as to what color you are going with?

  • Reply
    October 18, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    You will LOVE a counter depth refrigerator. We splurged for one last year and we are sooooo glad we did. Definitely try to pick one out with the bottom freezer.

  • Reply
    Gina G
    October 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Good call on the hardwood floors. And the working triangle. And… everything, lol! Can’t wait to see what cabinets you pick out.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    how did you guys make the transition between the tile to the hardfloor? did you take off the tile, prep and put in hardwood? or did you put hardwood over the tile?

    • Reply
      January 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      We took up the tile (down to the sub floor) and made sure it was on the same level as the existing hardwood. Luckily, it was! Then we had hardwood installed and stained the same time we had the existing hardwood re-stained. Hope that helps!! : )

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