1925 bungalow - kitchen remodel?

saintpflaNovember 5, 2008

I have a typical arts&crafts bungalow with a typical tiny, tiny 1925 kitchen. The kitchen is small, rectangle in shape, one window over the sink which is flanked by two original built in cabinets. The doors are long gone and replaced by modern, laminate cabinet doors with glass fronts. It looks 'okay' not great, but it's not original.

The built-in china cabinet is in the dining room but shares the kitchen wall. This creates a protruding abutment in the kitchen and makes it difficult to position the stove and refrigerator.

I also have a built-in ironing board cabinet (now has shelves and no ironing board) that now is used for storage (spices, etc) which also adds to appliance arrangement challenges.

So, there are several design challenges due to this layout.

Has anyone remodelled their kitchen and faced similar design challenges?

Also, it's been suggested to me to remove the "original" cabinets. There is only 18 inches of space between the abutement and the left cabinet. By removing the built in cabinets, I could flank the side walls with cabinets which cannot be done now as the original cabinets are in the way.

Basically, every option includes gutting the kitchen and removing the ironing board house, the original cabinets, etc.

I know...remove the original cabinets? What about the charm? The history? I have to say I'm torn between that aspect and the thought of one day not having a "weird", poorly designed kitchen.

I'm at the "information gathering" stage of my remodel idea. Once I have a basic plan, then I plan on looking into the builders, architects, etc.

I thought I'd start here first to see if anyone had resolved a problem like this as well.

Thanks for any insight.

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Unless you have an historically significant house, where you need to keep it in as original condition as possible, then I'd consider making it a really functional kitchen and try to keep to the 'spirit' of the era in choosing the new layout.

In almost every case, I am one of those purists who say "keep it original"....but not where kitchens are concerned. This is not a room one just lounges in. It is a room what must accomplish a function, and do it several times a day. It is also a room where the technology of the tools change almost daily. How does one pick out a Civil War Dishwasher? LOLOLOL

My 1820s kitchen could not possibly look a lot like it did 185 years ago. For one thing, I don't cook in the fireplace anymore. rofl. But when one comes through the door and enters the room, the "feel" of room is still there, because I've retained all the structural elements, and just added what I needed to make the kitchen work up to its potential.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 10:28AM
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Hi. 1913 bungalow here. Nothing original but the walls, windows and doorways was left in our kitchen so, we didn't have some of the heartache you have about whether or not to keep the original cabinets or ironing board cupboard. You are right to begin with a plan. I can't emphasize enough how important that is to ending up with a well functioning kitchen that still respects the character and history of your home. We planned for about 2 years! I ended up with a really great, functional kitchen that we love. Visit the kitchens forum. There are some wonderful old home owners over there who have lovingly remodeled/restored kitchens with varying degrees of authenticity and there are folks over there who do wonders helping others with floorplans. Start with the "if you are new, read me first" thread. Look at the Sweeby test to help get a vision. Then once you are ready to post questions over there, tell them about your vision, your sacred cows (if you have any) and post pictures and a current floorplan. You'll get amazing help. Also, it is easy to get overwhelmed on the kitchen forum by all of the amzaing 100K kitchens. Keep your budget firm and just let the others there know, if you have a tight one... wonderful helpful folks both here and on kitchens.

As for your specific questions here, it would help to have a scan of your current floorplan or some pictures so we can give better feedback. Everything calliope said is right on. If you can keep the original cabinets and still have a great functional kitchen adding to them, then do. If not, can you move them to a laundry room or bath to keep what you can of the original house? Be careful of some designers who might offer tempting ideas to knock out walls and expand your kitchen into the dining room though, because it sounds like that built in china cab in the DR might be a really nice authentic feature.

Not sure this is much help, but post more info and we'll try. Cheers, -Kim

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 11:07AM
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I was lucky in my 1922 house; the original kitchen had been mostly torn out in 1968. I didn't have to agonize about what to keep and what to take out. There was one drawer stack that was original, and I kept that, but otherwise, everything went.

That said, I did keep the original footprint and door/window arrangement, and that meant planning around 6 doors/doorways. Seven if you count the pantry door! My kitchen designer wanted me to remove what we lovingly refer to as "the column," but I refused. Functionality was a must, but I didn't want to end up with a big, open 2007 kitchen in my 1922 house. These houses have small kitchens, and that's the way it is.

Follow the link below for pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Finished Kitchen

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I love old homes, but there's no point in working in a space that won't work for how you use it. I'll echo kimkitchy with posting on the kitchen forum. If you can post pictures and a layout of your current kitchen with doorways, window, measurements, it would be a great starting point. You don't need to use fancy layout software. Just a pencil drawing on graph paper is fine. There are several layout gurus (Rhome410, Buehl, Bmorepanic)who would be more than happy to help out as well as many old home owners for design help. They're going to ask How many cooks?kids? What type of cook? boxes & cans? more fresh foods? Bake often? Entertain often? 5yr house? 10yr house? forever house? Add that info in your post.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 2:48PM
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Thanks everyone. That is really great advice. My neighborhood is a designated historic neighborhood. But, as far as I know, George Washington never slept here. My house doesn't have any specific significance other than it's an old house.

Here are some pics of my kitchen. I have been painfully removing layers of painted wallpaper between painted wallpaper. This is when I first started. I have now made it around the room and am close to being done (yaaay!).

Some of the prior paint is hideous. I actually did get down to the original paint which ironically, is not very different from the pale yellow that I am painting.

This one shows the right side of the kitchen and one of the built-in original cabinets.I don't have any pics loaded of the other side of the kitchen, but it has another built-in cabinet on the other side.

Close up on wall paint and wallpaper:

This is from a few years ago when I was renting the home to my tenant at the time. I lucked out - wonderful lady and took great care of my home. Pic of the built-in ironing board cabinet and swing door:

View of the china cabinet and the fridge in the kitchen; as you seen, the kitchen wall is on the other side of the china cabinet:

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 4:24PM
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You know, I really like your original uppers. I think I'd be trying to save those, if it were me. I would guess the ironing board cupboard is causing you more problems in design. If you can't plan around it, I would probably try and move it to a bedroom (which is where I iron most of the time anyway, not the kitchen) or laundry room (if you have one - we don't). I would definitely have the china cabinet as one of my "sacred cows" not to lose, but that's just MHO. Love the swinging door too. I forgot to add in my post above, check out the book Bungalow Kitchens by Jane Powell and Linda Svendsen.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 4:53PM
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You have a swinging door?! I used to have one of those; some POs took it out and put it on the curb! I could cry. They replaced it with a folding louvered door that I immediately took out and put on the curb. I want to replace that door. One of my future projects, I guess.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 5:10PM
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I took some pics of the other areas of the kitchen. I am ALMOST done with the painted wallpaper removal project and the actual painting part will be soon. So, the white walls are primer...the other is plaster and the 'finished' is a pale yellow.

Excuse the mess...I've been in project work mode.

Left corner of kitchen and abutment; you can see the 'problem' of 18inches of space and the bump out:

View of the front end of kitchen and two flanking built-in cabinets on each side:

Cheap & ugly box store cabinet...not my idea; came with the house; other stove was the original 1940s stove...not pretty and a fire hazard:

Fridge and behind it, built-in ironing board cabinet; awkward as heck placement but really no where else to put the fridge:

What's behind Door #1?...

So, you can see that this is a difficult design area. Again, open to suggestions.

Yes, the built-in china cabinet is the 'sacred cow'. My house was harvested of the other builts (bookcases, pillars...) so this and the kitchen items are all that's really left.

I'm torn between eliminating the 'charm' of this 1925 kitchen and keeping it. But, they had no storage space back then!!! I'd make the best I could out of what I have - but, it's a tiny disfunctional kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 6:01PM
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Pictures really help. OK, yeah, now I see your 18" and the bump out! Two questions. Does your house have a pantry or a back porch adjacent to the kitchen? The PO of our house bumped the kitchen out into half of a back porch and it really gave the kitchen much more space. If you have an extant pantry, can you do without uppers on that bump out wall? What is in the other bump out next to the fridge, behind the swinging door? A closet or a bathroom, I suppose... or is there any hope of gaining space there? You have a dining room, do you eat in the kitchen? Do you need eat in table space in the kitchen? You could gain some space without it. Some people put the fridge in an adjacent space (like a laundry room, etc).

Hmm, it is tiny. Again, I'd suggest visiting the kitchen forum. Read first, then post your current floor plan and list of issues. Bayareafrancy over there has a great tiny kitchen and maureeninmd is just starting a 1930s tiny kitchen remodel. Do a search on "bungalow" and several threads about 1920s and 1930s kitchens come up. I bet, you can learn from some of their ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: maureen's link

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 6:42PM
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Just for grins, here's another post maureeninmd made about her 1930's kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: 2nd post

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 6:47PM
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VJRNTS: yes, the swinging door is kinda cool, but, to be honest, I leave it open (courtesy of an eye hook behind the door...) most of the time. My cats can't figure out how to open the door and the kitchen is where their food/water is. LOL...

Kimkitchy: Great links! Thanks for sharing! Some of those kitchens looked a lot like mine. The bump out behind the fridge is a closet in the guest room. I 'could' lose some of that space, but rather not. It's one of two closets in my house. Thank goodness for the attic...

I have thought about expanding off the kitchen to gain space. I really hate to spend that kind of money right now, but may do so in a year or two.

I really hate the kitchen and all it's tiny, cramped space.

Below is the right side of kitchen...all free of painted wallpaper; wall is painted with my pale yellow, but need to finish the trim. Replaced other door with this 6-panel door (as it was in the house...) but may replace it with more authentic door.

'mud room'...small pantry behind first door on left; washer/dryer behind louvered doors on left;

It's a tad messy due to holding all my home repair items. The cats are indoor only...but, they try to look cute so I'll let them outside. ;-)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 7:47PM
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"Open Open Open"
Cute kitties!

You don't say what your budget is, but if I were you and could afford it, I would move the built-in wall over. I'd keep the cabinet and replace it whole in the new wall, but it would give you room for a real kitchen, a lot more choices, and you'd still keep the period piece you like.

As for the wallpaper, have you tried a steamer to get it off?

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 11:31PM
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OR you could move the china cabinet to the wall on the right and move the door to where the china cabinet is now. It would fit better where the fridge is to have the door in a different place, too.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 11:40PM
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Absolutely get the book Bungalow Kitchens by Jane Powell. You'll see lots of kitchens and ideas. Most libraries have it (to save the cost).

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 7:56AM
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This is a kitchen challenge! I had several thoughts while scanning through the pictures. These suggestions are assuming no structural changes.

- Move the fridge to the mudroom (hopefully it will fit).

- Take down those cabinets that are currently over the stove & put a shelf above the stove, it will make the room look much better. Have something not deep to set things down on to the left of the stove.

- Add glass knobs to the cabinets.

- small drop leaf table by the ironing board cabinet, may also be used as a work surface.

- I had thought you could make the current fridge area be a stove/cooking area with two cabinets on either side, and keep the current stove wall completely open with maybe just a 1/2 circle table, but that would mean relocating the ironing board cabinet and running electric for the stove.

If you buy any cabinets possibly Ikea until such time you really did a big wall moving kitchen over-hall.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 8:06AM
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Hey those links show my kitchen!

I've been agonizing over my kitchen for months. We've decided to rip it all out and start over. I do feel terrible. The original kitchen probably had giant radiator, giant pedestal sink, freestanding stove, a little cabinet and some shelves. These cabinets cannot accommodate any modern conveniences: built-in dishwasher, trash can under sink, more than a little bit of countertop, or a microwave. All the free-standing stuff makes it difficult to clean. I've decided to view my kitchen as a workroom (there's no table so no one hangs out in there). It needs to function well, since we cook all the time.

Many people on the kitchen forum suggested I talk to some custom cabinetmakers. That might be a great idea for you, so you could maximize every inch of space. You might not feel as bad about giving up your original cabinets if they were replaced with even better, hand-made, period-appropriate ones. (That option was not in my budget, unfortunately).

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 10:09AM
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I just want to say...you guys are AWESOME! I truly appreciate all of your opinions and advice! It is really helpful to get ideas from fresh eyes.

This kitchen has kept me awake at night as I design and re-design in my head while trying to fall asleep.

The wall on the right (next to the cabinet) is only 4-ft. Not much will fit there either

I had never thought about removing the ugly cheap cabinets to replace with shelving -- but, I really like that idea! It could improve the look while I save money and do more design planning.

How do you make it not look 'cluttered' with your dry goods on display? Glass jars for everything? You do not even want to know how smushed everything is in that cabinet...!

Budget? I don't need no stinkin' budget! Just kidding....my plan was to sell my kidney and possibly my left foot....ha! I wanted to figure out a basic plan forward to then determine what I can afford. Right now, I cannot decide on expansion or work within the confines of the space.

I am single so it's just my one and only income. I am working on the 'how to re-modeling without bankrupting myself' plan. Any major structual change (like expansion) will probably run in the $25-30k range, I'm assuming, anyway. You all probably have a better idea on costs. This is my guess-timate based on many hours watching HGTV and fantasing about the perfect kitchen.

I was hoping for a cheaper-budget friendly solution - but, with the square-footage of the kitchen (or lack of...), I may have no options but expansion.

Underneath the tile floor are two layers of linoleum and then, hardwood flooring of unknown condition.

Lauren674- I love your suggestions. I will consider some of those options as well.

Patster: thanks for the book suggestion; I will look to order it from Amazon;

Sautesmom: thanks for your suggestions as well and your nice comments about my kitties! :)

I did learn really fast that Diff does NOT work for painted wallpaper removal - at all!

I ended up with a spray bottle of water and Downey that was microwaved to a temp as hot as I could stand (rubber dish gloves certainly helped to not burn myself...).

Then, I used a scraper for the big chunks that would loosen up and scrubbed the walls with a nylon bristle brush which did eventually remove that adhesive gunk. Tedious doesn't even begin to describe the tourtures process plus how sore you are the next day.

The walls are in really good shape behind all of this and it is the original plaster. It looks very nice in the finished areas.

Lucky me, the two bedrooms have the same problem. Fun times....can't wait to tackle that. Surprisingly, none of my friends wanted to help. Probably because they haven't completely lost their minds like I have....

You are probably wondering why I bothered as the paint doesn't look bad in the photos. In real life, the paint is a beige (not cream or off-white, but a tan/beige color flat paint. Every finger print and dirt spec shows as it is a dirt magnet. Sections of the wall under the painted paper began to lift up. I began painting but the paint would not stick, so I realized it would all have to be removed.

The new color is Behr Provence Cream and I adore soft yellows. This tan-beige is through-out the entire house. But, I have been taking sanity breaks from the kitchen in other sections of the house and painting in complimentary variations of the yellow.

Again, thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I agree with MaureeninMD - it really IS agonizing as to how to plan a remodel and not end up worse off!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 12:14PM
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Hi, how long have you lived in that house with that kitchen? I'm a great believer in minimal alteration of a house - Im not exactly a purist but close - there is a certain "feel" or character or sensibility of an old house, and the more you futz with it and try to impose your 2008 standards the more you lose that feel... I don't care how sensitive or ultimately beautiful the renovation, that original feel is 0for better or worse - lost.

I've lived with kitchens that - were large but did not "flow" and were kind of awkward and in fact were kind of a p.i.t.a because you had to make these long hikes to get things from the other side of the room. And I've lived with kitchens that were small - one in particular was only about 7 x 7 but was so well laid out that cooking in it was a pleasure - everything right there, at your fingertips, no long hikes to the other side of the room, and a reasonable - not huge but reasonable - amount of counter space. YOu also can easily adapt to covering your dining room table to work on large cooking projects.

Anyway, re your kitchen - wonder if that dining room cupboard originally opened on 2 sides into the kitchen as well as dining room? What I would do - remove the awkward silly cupboards above the stove, install open shelves with brackets high up and/ or hooks for pots lower down on the wall. The ironing board is cute but oh well - take it out, perhaps save the door to build a freestanding cabinet for use somehwere. I can't tell in the photos which doors or orginal and which are not but if they are recessed panel doors (now called shaker doors) keep them, and/ or get new doors built in the old fashioned shaker style.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 12:49PM
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You could also get an above the fridge cabinet built - something custom again to match. By not futzing around with the layout and tearing out and rebuilding the framing, you can afford custom doors and carpentry to install them. What's the pantry like? Is there room under that window to left of door for an enamel top worktable or something?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 12:56PM
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Could you post a measured floor plan? Usually I can figure it out from photos, but not entirely this time.

Love your house! Even with all the drawbacks in the kitchen, it's apparent you have a way with old homes.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 1:55PM
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Yes, I was longing for a floor plan too. I always make one when I am contemplating moving things around. Saved my life on this last kitchen renovation......I had only inches, literally, leeway in jacking around twelve expensive oak cabinets and I found a way to make it work.

I am guessing that the space where your range now is was once, and not so long ago, where the fridge was. I have that configuration on my cabinets in this house, and in other old homes I've owned. It's typical. And your range was in another spot. I see it's electric and theoretically would be easier to move around the wiring than gas pipe plumbing.

That mud room would be my pantry. One wall is not being used to its capacity. I would also miss the ceiling high cabinet space. Yes, it's a pain to get to, but that's where you park the stuff you don't use often, like punch bowls, and canning supplies. My mother had most of her old ceiling high cabinets removed and replaced by modern ones and it seriously compromised her storage space. BTW, I notice the ceiling high cabinets are making a come-back.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 3:39PM
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Okay, a couple more thoughts since you liked the first ones!

If you cannot move the refrigerator out of the kitchen I would put it where it was when the tenant was there (just over to the left of where it is now?) so it doesn't block the spice cabinet, and then put a small table by the ironing board cabinet...doesn't have to be round, but something that fits and serves as a place to sit while in there.

Calliope is so right about that wall in the mudroom, make it the pantry. Move that above stove cabinet in there and add something more to hold excess kitchen supplies.

As far as that kitchen goes, less is more. At least you have a dishwasher! That's more than most tiny kitchens.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 4:43PM
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How about moving the stove to the wall with the ironing board cabinet. Run base cabinetry and shelves along that wall. The spices will be right where you need them. You may need to to stop short of the window or put a shallow cabinet at the window.

Then move the dishwasher to the right of the sink. Ditch the right base cabinet L. Put in base cabinet to the left with a shallower cabinets along the "bump" out flush with the corner cabinet. Then maybe shelving or shallow uppers on the "bump" out wall with brackets to mimick the other two upper cabinets.

Now where to put the fridge? Hmmmm.... that is always the question in old houses. Could you recess it into the mudroom? You may need to move the door to do it. Or like was said previously can you move it to the mudroom?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 5:11PM
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OK, now I see it. The pantry is the door partially open next to the siamese cat, but we don't see inside it. It is on the same wall as the washer/dryer closet, right? I would definitely see if I could put a fridge in the mud room. A counter depth fridge would take up less space (there are just two of us and that's what we got to make our space work - and while they have less cubic feet of storage, it is enough for us). A counter depth fridge opposite the w/d might work if the window would not be blocked too much. French door models require less space in front of the fridge. A counter depth fridge (not counting handles) is about 27 1/2 inces deep; Fisher & Paykel makes one that is only about 31 inches wide. Would you have room for that? If you could get the fridge out of the kitchen, it sure would free up some space. The pantry is in the mud room anyway, with a fridge out there, all of your food storage is in one place. And, it is only steps away from the tiny kitchen, so it really wouldn't be inconvenient.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 5:50PM
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Could you do a stacking W/D unit? That could free up some room for the fridge. Also some fridge models are taller (kind of like a column) to give as much storage with less floor space.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Hi everyone! Thanks again for all of your fantastic suggestions. Sorry to disappear last night, but I had dinner plans with a friend.

I will take the measurements today and post them a bit later.

Here's a picture of the mudroom. As you can see, one wall are windows and the exit door. The other contains w/d behind bi-fold doors. The first thing I did when I bought the house was had the pantry installed.

It was simple...just revamped the closet. It's nothing fancy, just shelves in a closet plus a stackable shelf on the floor from HD. The space goes all the way up to the ceiling like the kitchen cabinets. I don't have a picture but can take one later today and post as well.

The mud room is an odd addition on the original 'porch?'. Honestly, it's bizarre. They only added about 4-feet to this back porch. I'm glad for the xtra space of course, but cannot figure out why they didn't make it bigger if they were bothering with this? In Florida (where I live) they call it a 'cracker porch'. It's kind of slapped together and has zero insulation.

If I do expand the kitchen, this mud room will be gone.

Part of my remodel plan of course includes new appliances. But, again, until I have a "real plan", I'm not buying anything.

Here's another pic of the mud room:

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 10:39AM
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I love the bungalow style.......we have a 1926 in Orlando with many original features....I have some different opinions about your kitchen....

I like the frig where it is....remove the built-in for use elsewhere and add a cabinet/counter to provide a "landing zone" for the refrigerator....LeftorRight depending on the best door swing....and add a full cabinet above for odd/holiday storage.....

The stove wall is under-utilized.....(depending on the measurements) add additional U-counter to the stove-right....Loose the DW and replace that base with a huge PotandPan storage.......Above: add new shelves/faceframes to the existing LeftSinkCabinet to fill the area above the Microwave....and new small open shelves and hood over the stove.....

The Sink wall looses the far left upper cabinet door with the new intersecting L-cabinet......the remaining cabinets can stay....

The real difference is the last "pantry" wall......I envision a faceframe mounted flush to the plaster wall.....with the cabinet box INSIDE the pantry room......
The box could have an open back for stocking from the pantry.....FIFO

Obscure glass in the doors could mask the contents....additional storage/shelves would surround the box on the pantry side......

Size the cabinet to mimick the existing/adjoining cabinet....allowing counter space for the doors to open....

The base cabinet needs to be modified to accept the Dishwasher........

Of course this option needs a structural header installed in that formerly exterior wall to allow the "cut-thru" to the pantry.....

Good Luck

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 6:43PM
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That is a tough one. Here are my thoughts, for what it's worth.

I agree that removing the dining room built-in is not a good idea. It doesn't look like it's actually that deep, so it wouldn't gain you much.

I don't see a pic of the area to the left of the stove...I agree with someone else that maybe you could move the stove there, or possibly over where your table is now, with cabinets to accompany it? Is there a chimney somewhere? That would tell you where the stove was originally, if that matters to you at all.

As for the bump-in wall, how about a grid with hooks and turn that whole section into vertical storage. Not "period", of course, but not damaging to the house either, and you would actually get a lot of storage out of it (pots, pans, big utensils).

If you're thinking BIG changes, then my advice would be to consider lining up your back door with the door into the dining room so that traffic takes up the least amount of space possible. You would lose that back window in the kitchen, but you could use a back door that is half-glass (very period appropriate) to make up for the lost light. You could then move your fridge over where your back door is now, so you would have a nice U-shaped work area, and make everything on the other side of the traffic lane into pantry space. Hope that makes sense. That's what we did with our kitchen, and it works very well.

I agree with previous posters that as much as we'd like to have a "period" kitchen, it's just not practical. Often the icebox was on the back porch, but we have these behemoth refrigerators that need a home near the stove and sink. And a dishwasher, with enough clearance for its door to open. Maybe a place for a trash bin AND a recycling bin. I think the best we can hope for is to create something functional that wouldn't look TOO odd to someone from the early 20th century.

One other thought...Jane Powell does consulting. Probably money well-spent if you find yourself really stuck.


Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 2:31PM
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I really appreciate everyone's comments and taking the time to offer me suggestions. I really value all of your opinions. Sometimes it really helps to get a fresh take on a space that you have looked at for so long.

Based on your suggestions and taking my inspiration from the August/September issue of Cottages & Bungalows (magazine cover and p.54), I am implementing the shelf and bracket set up in the kitchen over the stove.

So, yesterday, I took the box store cabinet down. An side note, you wonder why some tasks take so freakin' long vs. what they show on HGTV? My cabinet had ONE screw that refused to come out. It had bent behind the lath. It took me 2 1/2 hours to remove the bloody thing. Then, I had a large chunk of plaster break around the screw...so, I had to patch that area as well.

I have to say, the patch job came out pretty good. I've posted pics of what the kitchen looks like now. It really opens the space. I bought wood shelves from HD and will paint them white. I orderd some antique brackets from eBay to support the shelves.

All the items from the cabinet are in a big pile on my dinning table right now....lovely. Funny, when I started this, I just was going to paint the kitchen....

I worked for 10-hrs yesterday on this kitchen. I am sooo pooped today. A nap sounds really good right now...but, those walls won't paint themselves!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 3:24PM
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That is a great improvement! It really changes the look, as you can better see the balanced two cabinets on the sink wall, and makes the room seem wider.

Where did the renter have the refrigerator in that first photo?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 7:27AM
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Wow! Taking down the cabient from above the stove makes a HUGE difference. I think your kitchen has amazing potential for charm.

In the original kitchen in my house I had a shelf with glass jars of pasta and other misc. above my sink. It really held a lot and I thought it looked good in the space.

If you are able to move the fridge out to the mudroom/pantry area, I think it would make your kitchen feel and look much bigger. Here are a couple of photos of my kitchen both when I first moved in (the previous owner had the fridge in the kitchen) and after I moved my fridge to my tiny mudroom. I added much needed pot and cookbook storage to the wall where the fridge had been, and it improved traffic flow into the kitchen and back stairwell:

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 8:43AM
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Lauren674: it's really amazing how bigger the room 'feels' with that stupid ugly cabinet gone. By the way, I cannot express how sore I am today from lifting that stupid cabinet and carrying it to the curb.

My renter had the fridge against the window. There is enouugh clearance there to access the spice cabinet and squish a table. But, it is tight.

The thing is, I really enjoy sitting by the window in the morning, drinking my coffee and watching the birds at the feeder and looking at my garden. Yeah, I know, life is about compromise. The fridge blocks the view out the window.

Arlosmom: LOL...love your kitty pictures! what a cute kitchen! wow-- is that the original sink? Yes, that is what I'm looking to do. I have orderd some cute brackets from eBay and bought pine planks. They are now primed in the garage and waiting for the final coat.

I think I over did it this weekend. I cannot tell you how exhausted I am today.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 11:08AM
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I love the shelf idea; I think it will look very nice.

Since you like having the table and chairs in the kitchen, could you put a shallow pantry to the right of the iron board cabinet, facing the window. And then put the fridge in the pantry with a cabinet above for the bulky items? The pantry could even have a small counter area for a toaster.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 12:16PM
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The mudroom is too small for anything except a bench. One side is all windows and back door, and the other side contains one door for the pantry and one for the w/d.

At the pantry door, it is 4ft. wide (original footprint of porch). At the w/d closet, it is 4 1/2 feet wide. It is 8 1/2 ft. in length.

The pantry itself is narrow, but tall. The doorway of the pantry is 2 feet wide and the fridge is 3 feet wide. It's 3 1/2 feet deep to the wall, but to the first shelf, only 1 1/2 feet deep.

The fuse box is on one wall and shelves on the back wall and one side wall (opposite fuse box). I've priced moving it and the electrical work is like $1200...so, on hold for now.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 2:08PM
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Was just browsing American Bungalow's website and see that there's an article about St. Pete's bungalow revival in the current issue. I haven't picked up the magazine yet, but there are usually great interior pictures with their articles. Might be something else to look at....

Here is a link that might be useful: Amer Bungalow St Pete

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 2:30PM
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Might or might not work or look right, but how about if you turn the fridge on an angle so that the rear corner clears the hinges of the cabinet rather then blocking them. You might be able to open the cabinet more and it might look better than partially blocking it. Maybe put a plant behind the part of the fridge back that then sticks a bit into the room...

I agree that the view out the window while having tea is more important than a blocked spice cabinet.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 3:13PM
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....or could the fridge turn sideways and not block the cabinet?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 3:15PM
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This is completely off-the-wall, but... If you were to demo the right return counter (right of sink), could you make an opening in the wall in which to fit your refrig? I'm hoping the other side of the wall isn't the outdoors, but rather part of your pantry closet in the mudroom?

Then maybe you could relocate range to wall where frig now is. Since ranges are usually less deep than refrigerators, it might hide better. Then you could add cabinetry under window to enjoy the morning. (I'm assuming there's enough space, but maybe there isn't?)

On the wall where your range currently is, you could build in shallow cabinetry or open shelves, and hopefully encompass the relocated ironing board/spice cabinet.

Love your kitchen -- I'll look forward to seeing what you do with it.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 5:16PM
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I'm having a hard time without a measurments/floorplan. But as a general proposition. You could take the swinging door out and put it in the basement/attic as a treasure for the next owner to uncover. For that matter, if you decided to remove the original cabinets, maybe you could store them too.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 2:46PM
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saintpfla, are you keeping the light fixture? It's great. It needs a little clean-up and possibly re-wiring, but it's really a beautiful light.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 6:17PM
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Hi Everyone!

I swear I will post measurements very, very soon! Thanks again for the kind words and the advice. The kitchen is cute...but, just not very functional for this day and age. So, as you have seen, it poses a lot of challenges.

I've been in panic mode trying to finish the painting and hanging the shelves before Thanksgiving.

I've special ordered shelving hardware so it takes several days for it to arrive. Then, painting, sanding the shelves, etc. I've finished priming the walls FINALLY and today (fingers crossed...), I'll actually PAINT the walls with my color.

I'm doing all this while working 60 hours a week....no wonder I'm pooped.

MJLB: thanks for the suggestion. I've actually considered that as well. That wall is shared with the very small pantry (former coat closet...former exit door from the mud room).

VJRNTS: funny, it's actually new (as of 8 years ago anyway) and from Lowes. The former owner installed it. It does look original though.

I really appreciate the suggestions for spiffying up the kitchen on the cheap. Later, I'll bite the bullet and spend the thousands of dollars to expand, but not in this economy!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 11:21AM
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Hi Guys!

Sorry that it took me so long to show my updates. With my work schedule and trying to finish this kitchen project prior to Thanksgiving, my time was pretty limited.

I still don't have the measurements but will be taking some time off for Christmas and will get that done during my vacation.

Thanks to all for your suggestions. This was a nice and inexpensive way to improve the look in the short-term while I put plans together for a more long term remodel.

I hope you like the results. :)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 11:29AM
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That shelf looks great! And what an improvement!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 11:48AM
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"I hope you like the results. :) "

You bet! Shelf looks SO much better than what was there before, and the way you arranged your utensils, etc. looks great.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 12:01PM
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Your new shelf looks perfect! What a difference that makes!

You kitchen looks a lot like mine. My stove is where yours is, my original cabinets are almost identical in placement to yours, I don't have any cabinets to the right of them, but my frige fits across from the stove on the wall opposite. The kitchen is only a little over 10" square and I love it. To the left of where your stove is, I have a set of upper and lower cabinets that are like the one you removed. I added some rope trim to them and they look much better. I still don't have enough counterspace for our big holiday meals, but I can make it work and refuse to tear out my original cabinets, which you see in the attached picture. I am lucky though, because there is an addition to the house on the otherside of the stove wall and in it is a big built in china cabinet where I keep dishes, glasses and serving pieces. I could not do without it. Could you add something like that to your mudroom? BTW, I don't have a dishwasher and really don't care about that. It is not worth it to me to remove an old cabinet to put one in.

href="http://s274.photobucket.com/albums/jj263/PowerMuffin_photos/?action=view¤t=Kitchen4.jpg"; target="_blank">

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 12:51PM
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Thanks everyone! Looking at the shelf, one would think, 'gee...how hard is it to hang a shelf?..', but, I also was removing wallpaper, replastering, priming and painting.

I bought the brackets from eBay (was outbid on some vintage Eastlake brackets...darn the luck!) and had to paint those white - once they arrived. I bought the wood at HD, sanded it, painted it, then hit it with a hand sander after the paint dried to 'antique' it and to remove the pointy corners that I would eventually smack my head on.

Whatever they made the stud boards out of (cedar? granite?...kryptonite?..) broke my first drill bit. My first attempt, I miss measured and drilled holes too far apart and now had to fix the wall AGAIN.

It was actually alot of work to hang this shelf. Much more work than they ever tell you on HDTV!

I have another shelf and bracket set which I'm considering putting on the opposite wall. I don't want to over crowd the kitchen, but could use one more place to store items.

PowerMuffin: wow - your not kidding! OUr kitchens are very similar! Personally, I cannot live without a dishwasher as I loathe doing dishes. Are your cabinets doors original? I always wondered what mine may have looked like as my cabinets are original but not the doors.

I'm thinking of removing the doors and putting a fabric curtain below the sink. Then, for the cabinets on the right, removing the doors and adding wooden wine boxes into the cabinet. I would add pull out drawer brackets to the bottom of the wine boxes (install them as drawers, essentially). I like the French Provence look so I thought this might be cute.

For now though, I need a rest from home improvement projects to gear up for painting all the trim in my house.
To be clear, my house trim is already painted, but old and chipping...I'm not painting on beautiful old, virgin wood. It just needs a refresh.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 1:24PM
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Yes, the cabinets in the top picture are original and they are the same layout as yours. I stripped and repainted them, which made a big difference. I also cleaned the paint off the original butterfly hinges and sealed them. I don't have anything built on the wall where your mixer is.

The bottom picture are the cabinets added later that looked like the one you pulled out. The rope trim really dressed them up. In the end we spent I like the look of a curtain under the sink - go for it. I love your yellow paint color in there. Very cheerful. You may end up loving your kitchen too!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 2:48PM
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It looks very pretty! I like the yellow/white paint and the shelf visually widens the room. I like your ideas for the bottom cabinets. You're doing well the 'less is more' approach to this small room to make it cute and functional.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 8:13AM
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Thanks, Lauren674! :)

With the economy the way it is, I don't want to take on an enormous amount of debt at this time for a 'real' remodel. So, I'm trying to think of creative (and inexpensive) ways to make changes.

The wooden wine boxes are free from Costco. Today's modern cabinets now mostly have pull out shelves (on wheels), so that's where I got the idea.

To your point, with a small space like this, it's really important to keep clutter and knick-knacks to a minimum. Otherwise, it over-powers the space. In fact, normally I don't have quite that much 'stuff' on the counters as it shows in the photos.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 9:53AM
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Saintpfla.....nice work! It makes a huge difference and I like it! Love your idea to put fabric on the cabinet under the sink. I did that and bringing some fabric into it really helped the overall look. I used a barkcloth reproduction fabric. Threw in some rickrack too, just for fun. There is also nice original vintage barkcloth on ebay. If you want some links to some great reproductions, let me know and I'll dig them up.

I know what you mean about the reluctance to jump in to a big remodel. Today on "Design on a Dime" I saw them redo laminate countertops with a concrete overlay liquid product that came out great. If you decide to wait a while, something like that on the counters might be a good deal to tide you over. I also saw something recently about painting counters and then doing an epoxy clear-coat and it looked really interesting too. I can try to find some links if you are interested.

Powermuffin----wow! Just wow! That looks great. Love the gutsy red on the sink cabinet too.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 12:01AM
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If you were going to replace the counter tops, another idea is going with inexpensive wood counters from Ikea or maybe tile would look cute. With a subway tile back splash...

Here is a link that might be useful: Rejuvenation Inspiration Photos

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 8:46AM
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You know, when I re-do the kitchen, I actually want marble (yeah...I know!...$$$) counter tops. My kitchen table is white marble with grey/black marble details.

I would like counters that match the table. (the small corner table is not mine, but my previous renter). Also, marble is fairly neutral and would go with any paint color. Now, the yellow is not an ideal match to the current beige counters.

I have been looking at Ikea...they do have pretty good prices!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 11:11AM
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Lauren674- thanks for the link! Wow! That is a very cute kitchen! I never thought about painting the wall color into the cabinets. I like that idea!

One interesting aspect about the backwall of my cabinets, is it has the old style 'faux' tile. You know, when they used to imprint into the plaster a tile shape, in order to save costs? I'm always amazed at the level of craftsmanship in old architecture.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 11:24AM
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