Help me lay out a difficult old house kitchen

chesters_house_gwFebruary 1, 2013

Time has come to redo a problem kitchen. We've lived here for about 10 years. While we don't plan to be here forever -- we have other retirement plans -- the current space isn't very functional. The idiot previous owner (IPO) redid the kitchen in the late 90s. He was tall, and didn't cook.

Constraints: we'd like to keep costs down because this isn't the "forever" kitchen and because whoever buys the house down the line will probably bust out the back and add on. It's a brick house. Windows and doors can't move. Windows are 22 inches from the floor, including molding.

Possibilities: There's a full basement so utilities can move. The north facing window can be covered from the inside. We can't remove it per historical district guidelines, but pulling down a shade and blocking it is fine.

Goal: To get more prep space and rational storage.

Style: It's a pretty utilitarian house built in the 1880s. The kitchen area was an addition that dates to 1900s-1910s.

For a time we thought about keeping the layout and updating: losing the tile counters with nasty sharp edges, replacing the upper cabs over the sink wall that are 24 inches above the counter and feature two 12 inch face frame cabs. But by the time we'd do that, it seemed to make sense to redo the whole space.

It's actually a large room, but it makes sense to keep the kitchen in its current roughly 11x10 place because the IPO took out paneling or something on the non-business end of the space, thinking he'd expose the brick. Turned out that the brick didn't look good, so he covered up with drywall (fine) and then stone facing to about 3 feet from the floor. Nasty stuff. Removable, but not by us.

Here's what I've come up with so far. Plan A keeps a step in pantry, which repurposes what was the second doorway/entry into the house. On the other side there's a bookcase built in at the bottom of the stairway to the second floor.

Plan B covers the north window and the pantry/former doorway. We'd open it up from the other side and turn it into storage. And that would help, since there are no second floor closets.

Am I missing a plan C? In plans A and B, we'd take the cabs on the sink wall to ceiling, either using 42 inch cabs and a shelf underneath for everyday dishes, or a stacked arrangement. The fridge wall side can get a little longer. What I have in the Lowes planner as a big pantry will actually be a hoosier cab with a nice zinc top. In both, the stove sits between the windows (36 inch stove with 36.8 inches of space). Two freestanding tables, probably stainless, would go on either side. I own a couple of freestanding butcher block tables that I can float as would suit to provide a bit more prep space and separate the dining end from the business end.

Currently the range is in a peninsula that juts out from the fridge wall.

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Can you give us bigger & more clearly labeled floorplans? I think I figured out where the refrigerator is but I'm at a loss on the sink and range. And I can't tell the difference between doors and windows. I sorry for being dense, but I'm just not getting it...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Hope this one is better -- if not, on to graph paper. It reflects the current thinking, which is to block the north facing window and the current step in pantry (opening it on the other end for a closet).

And here are a couple of pictures of the current layout, on a day when we were gathering up recycling, so it's even more cluttered than usual.

Problem corner:

Longer view:

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:13AM
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robo (z6a)

Are you sure you can't remove the stone facing? Especially if you're just going to put 3 foot high cabs in front of it? It looks like you have a LOT of stuff and it would be worthwhile to consider expanding the space. Do you have somewhere else to eat in the house? Would you consider using some unfitted cabinets like IKEA VÄRDE? They seem like they could be a good fit for the age of the home and could sit in front of your low windows with no problems. They could also sit in front of the stone.

I rarely see a VÄRDE kitchen I like but I think they can be attractive when done well especially mixed with Adel off white for fitted cabs. This option would also be more attractive if you really think the kitchen won't affect resale because I think buyers don't get Varde and could be turned off by it.

One of the few varde kitchens I could find in the wild.

Here is a link that might be useful: Description of Varde system

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Thanks -- yes, I've looked at Varde freestanding units for the windows but they are a little long. I was thinking about the more flexible sizes in restaurant supply stores (24 inches deep, anywhere from 24 inches wide on up). Some units have drawers.

Love the sink in that picture!

All the clutter is around because except for the pantry, there's not much storage. Two 9 inch wide uppers; three corner units that can fit one glass per shelf.

But there is too much stuff, and a weeding will go on. First up: the slicer.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:18PM
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