Help with empty wall in kitchen (long but lots of pics)

farmhousemomFebruary 14, 2014

In December of 2012 we did a quick, one-month remodel of our kitchen. We have some lingering tasks that need to happen but they will have to happen in stages (as we have money).

First let me explain about the remodel..... It was a real puzzle because we started out planning to just reface the old cabinets, then mid-way through we changed and tore out the old cabinets and built new, but had to work with the same sizes because the doors and drawer fronts were already made.

The kitchen is a mismash as it is - we have a pantry built in 2009, some upper cabinets built in 2003, then the island and perimeter cabinets built in 2012.

There is an 8 ft 5 in wall that has uppers and no lowers (yet). We have new doors for the uppers, but I'm not sure we are going to leave the uppers there (may pull off and do something different). We cannot leave this empty because when there is nothing there, it becomes a landing zone for shoes, bags, etc. Long story why there are 10 year old uppers and no lowers. LOL

My family consists of my husband and myself, plus four children: three boys and a girl, ages 15, 13, 10 and 8. Whenever our extended family gets together, it's always at our house, so I'd like to make that empty wall something like a Butler's pantry.

What I thought of was a new, small (24 in wide) refrigerator, a second dishwasher and a prep sink. But, if I keep the refrigerator in the laundry room (not the one you see; that it our old one and too big for the space), then I could have a secondary pantry, more to hold small appliances and maybe a microwave. I don't know.

I don't know. I feel like I have SO much counter space as it is, I don't need any more and worry that by putting a sink and dishwasher there, it will just look like a ring of cabinets & counters. Should I just put a hutch there?

Things on our list for this year:

1. New floor - Marmoleum or cork
2. Hook up exhaust vent and install new vent hood (taking down OTR microwave).
3. Buy smaller microwave and put it somewhere.
4. Replace wood door with sliding, barn door with translucent panels.
5. Put in new under-cabinet lighting.
6. Finish that daggum wall! LOL

Okay, question for you brilliant kitchen gurus: What would you do with this space?

- More counter, second dishwasher and prep sink?
- Hutch-type cabinets, but no counter space?
- Bring 2nd refrigerator into kitchen or keep in laundry room?
- Anything else? Anything "outside the box?"

(We live on a farm in rural SC, so lots of flies during summer. If anyone is thinking open shelving, that is a no-go).

Some measurements.... there is 42" between island and sink aisle, 36" between fridge and island and 35" between range and island. If we put a 24" deep cabinet/counter along the problem wall, that leaves 46" between it and the island. (Yes, the carpenter built the island too big).

Translucent bard door (kind of) will slide inside the laundry room.

Below are some pictures of the space. Thank you so much for reading this far and any tips or advice you can send my way.

We had snow this week, which made the kitchen much brighter. We are in SC, and snow is not the norm. LOL

This last little note: we previously had cream uppers and lowers. The lowers got so dinged up and looked terrible, so when we went to remodel my husband wanted stained lowers so they'd hold up better. Our family and friends thought we had lost our minds. Low and behold, it's become a big trend now so we don't get crazy looks anymore. LOL

Very last note: In case anyone is thinking they've seen this kitchen before, I shared about the remodel last January under my previous user name.

This post was edited by farmhousemom on Fri, Feb 14, 14 at 23:19

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I don't have a lot to offer, but I wanted to ask where that future barn door was going to slide? It looks like your cabinets go to the wall on both sides. Are you building a pocket on the other side, or is there room for the barn door hardware on that side?

I can definitely say I wouldn't bring another fridge into the room. I don't care how sassy they are, they're still giant food coffins standing in the corner. Unless you go with one of those restaurant, glass fronted fridges. Those are too cool and very open. JMO, so it doesn't matter. :)

As one who does things as the money comes in, it looks like you've accomplished quite a bit. Nice cabs, pretty wood, and smart plans.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:01PM
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My sister put a baking station in a space like that. I googled baking stations to add a photo but it won't embed for some reason. But there were several good ideas on Houzz that came up. She loves it and it looks great.

I love how you did your lowers in stain and uppers in paint. Everything looks great. Great job.

This post was edited by gr8day on Fri, Feb 14, 14 at 23:32

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:28PM
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What about a nice boot bench/cabinet/coat rack system since it's already sort of a catch all space? Like this,

Your home is beautiful!!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:48PM
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What about a nice boot bench/cabinet/coat rack system since it's already sort of a catch all space? Like this,

Your home is beautiful!!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:49PM
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CEFreeman - the main fridge in there now is a counter-depth. We have two teenage sons, ages 15 and 13, plus a 10 yr old girl and 8 yo boy. We go through a lot of food and drink, that is for sure. LOL The two teens eat everything in site, it seems like.

The counter-depth is great and we love it but we find we need a bit more space. We've been using the one we replaced last year (switched to CD for space saving in aisle and stainless steel for looks), but we don't need two big refrigerators. We are buying a small one, about 10 cu ft, and it will either go in kitchen or in laundry room.

The barn door will slide in the laundry room. I would take it down altogether so we could have the light from that back door, but we need it as a sound buffer when washer/dryer are going and during the winter, to keep some of the cold out.

I'm thinking of something like this:

Traditional Kitchen by Grand Rapids Architects & Designers Visbeen Architects

This post was edited by farmhousemom on Fri, Feb 14, 14 at 23:16

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 11:13PM
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LCaroline - you know, I've always wished I could have something like that but never thought I would because we don't have a mudroom or entrance where they usually are built. I never thought of putting it in the kitchen.

I am going to play with this idea some. I would still have the issue of tons more cabinets but at least no more counter.

Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 11:23PM
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Second fridge - consider a beverage fridge built into that space rather than a full size fridge. Or else put the fridge elsewhere. I agree that a second large fridge in that space will look like a stainless steel coffin.

Where does the stuff go that is under your uppers once you put cabinetry there? I'm in SC too, and I know there is no such thing as a mudroom here! I like LCaroline's idea, with the stacked look. I'd put doors on the middle section too though, so all that junk is behind closed doors. We did something similar, but not as tall, and it now contains backpacks, purses, etc. Must better than having that stuff thrown on the floor.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:02AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Other than being a too-convenient drop zone from the back door, what is the traffic pattern? When you entertain, do you serve at table, or do you set up a buffet? I like the idea of a baking area which can double as a buffet counter--I have a similar wall of cabinets, specifically installed for those two purposes, and it works very well.

Incorporating Lcaroline's and Cindy's ideas, you could adjust the depth of the lower cabinets to fit the area (more shallow than standard, to allow more floor space), and build in whatever type of storage you need--a deep drawer for each kid's backpack, pullouts for shoes and boots, or bins for recycling. Lol, keep a top drawer empty so you can open it and scoop everything on the counter out of sight. When a child comes looking for whatever he left there, you can give an appropriate lecture. "Dear child, why was your priceless ______ left on the counter?!" ;)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 8:56AM
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farmhousemom, think laundry, kitchen, bathrooms, closets, mudrooms, etc. Anywhere there's wall space, a barn-style door can go. I've got 15 pocket doors, but I almost wish I'd done a few barns! But in 2006 when I put them in, they weren't so commonly found.

I agree with the base cabinets perhaps being more shallow. I have a wall of upper cabinets I stacked floor to the ceiling to give me 5' x 8' of extra storage space. What's 12"!

I have a thought for you regarding laundry and heat. I'm going to look into this for myself. It's so logical!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dryer heat thing

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 3:59PM
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Beautiful kitchen!
I am watching this thread because I have the same layout but my empty wall is totally empty! It drives me crazy figuring out what to do with it. I need storage though, so I want a pantry there...

I love the mudroom bench idea.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:02PM
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You've done a fantastic job with your kitchen. I look forward to seeing what you decide to do with your wall in question. : )

As an aside about the dryer vent heat thingy. I would be extremely leery of that. My dad installed something similar in a newer construction home, and it caused moisture problems in the house. Maybe if it had been in a leaky, old house it would have been better, but I think I'd rather not risk it.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 8:46PM
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CEFreeman - thank you!! That dryer heat thing is just what we need for the winter!! Awesome!

I agree about keeping the cabinets shallow, especially the first three feet.

Thanks to the feedback here, I've decided to definitely keep the 2nd fridge (will be a 10 cu ft one) in the laundry room and not in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:21PM
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Laughable - thanks for the kind words about the kitchen. I cannot wait to be completely done; it feels like we've been working on it forever.

About the dryer thingie that someone shared. Your point is valid about the moisture. I read about it and that's a concern in locations that have humid winters. We are in SC and have pretty dry winters so I think it might work. I'm going to show it to my husband and let him investigate.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:26PM
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gr8day - thank you so much for the awesome inspiration photos!! If I didn't already have a home office (I have an online business) I'd definitely put a desk in there.

I'm thinking of a shallow hutch for half the space. I don't know. Maybe something like a mudroom wall but with closed cabinets.

This is so hard! LOL

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:34PM
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mamagoose - The traffic through that space is only ever to the laundry room for washing/drying clothes or accessing food/drink in the second refrigerator.

We homeschool so there are no book bags to hang up daily. The door that is used the most is the side door (between dining area and sitting room area). We live on a farm so the kids usually take their shoes off at that door.

We do not yet have a buffet for the dining room area, but hope to later this year. Right now we serve from around the island or take everything to the table.

My original goal for that wall was a small sink and second dishwasher so that all plates/glasses/flatware use for meals was washed there, then stored in cabinets somewhere in that wall. I'd like for my big sink and dishwasher to only be for prep and clean up.

While I've really enjoyed the idea of a second sink and dishwasher, I can let go of it if a better solution for the wall is discovered.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:40PM
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Here is a picture of the space from a slightly different angle, just in case it helps.

I really appreciate all the thoughtful tips and feedback.

(Don't you love the bare outlets???)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:48PM
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