Cross post: rearranging the kitchen, how much will fit?

jessicamlJune 22, 2011

I'm not sure what the protocol is around here for cross posting, so please let me know if this is a no-no...

I posted a question in the Kitchen forum thinking about switching my refrigerator with the cabinet next to it to make the kitchen area more functional (before we get new countertops), but wasn't sure if it's worth losing the "landing zone" for the front door, or if better "landing zone" options exist (and whether there's room when we get a kitchen table again).

It just hit me: this is mostly a space issue! Perhaps the Smaller Homes folks will have great solutions! Have you run into this problem, or do you have any ideas to share?

Here is a link that might be useful: Where is the countertop most functional?

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Well I am clueless about cross posting and always happy to have some one posting here so post away. :^)

I really like the back to back bookshelf idea. I would hook them together some how.

We have a non existent space beside fridge, 8 or 9 inches, and is also the landing space from coming in the back door. I have a small but tall shelf there, about 10 inches deep. I leave the top exposed but have a lace curtain hiding the storage on the other shelves. They gather clutter. It actually goes in front of the door trim but I do not care. It is just away from the trim a few inches on the side as it is not as wide as the fridge.It is backed up to the fridge.

My suggestion is to move that larger cabinet and switch it for fridge and either put really narrow shelf there against fridge or the double book shelf by your table. A drop leaf table would be nice in that table spot too.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 5:47PM
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I'm going to move your photo over here too so people won't have to go back & forth to view and then leave a reply.

Is that the door guests come through too, or just the family?

I think switching the fridge and little cabinet is a great idea. Does your drawing indicate that you will put the microwave under the upper cabinet where the fridge was?

I felt like playing with Paint and took some liberties with your photo. It's probably not what you want at all, but it might give you some ideas.

I moved the little cabinet over, put the micro above it, put another upper above the fridge, and put a wall beside the fridge. The wall can be open shelves facing the door which could provide landing spot, charging station, etc, or it could be a sheetrocked wall with insert like this Bertby from Ikea which I found on Ikea Hackers, or you can make shallow cabinets with doors and keep your keys and papers out of site like this (full size of wall though):

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:14PM
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Thanks shades_of_idaho! I just realized my microwave is too deep to go nicely where I wanted it (where the fridge is now, on a yet-to-be-built shelf). I should have thought of that sooner, given all the posts I've seen searching for a compact microwave. I'm still stuck on the idea of gaining counterspace, though. I wonder if it would look weird to have a shelf there with cookbooks? Or leave it open and hang something? I don't know...that might just look unfinished.

If I can find an attractive way to move that cabinet and not have it look "off", though, I will definitely be playing around with bookcases!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:15PM
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Marti, you're brilliant!! I'm sorry for being lazy and not moving the main pics myself...except kind of not sorry now that you've done such a cool mock-up!

It would definitely look better if I was able to continue the uppers over the fridge, but I'm not sure that's possible. I guess I'll have to look into what cabinets are available and see if there's an option that would match our old cabinets (which I'm painting white). If I don't move the uppers but slide the fridge over, do you think it will look funny?

If you read the post I wrote while you were posting, you'll see that our microwave won't fit where I thought it would...but I think I'll look into replacing it with one like you put in the mock-up. On the one hand, I was trying to keep this as cheap as possible but make it prettier...on the other hand, if I can make it a lot more functional for just a little more money, it could be worth it.

The cabinet from Ikea hackers is awesome! Shelves would be easier if I'm putting something next to the fridge, but that'd be the most attractive. If I can't use that idea in this kitchen, I hope I can use it someday in a future home!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:24PM
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I'm glad you liked it.

I'd leave the small upper cabinet there and like you said, put a shelf under it, either for a microwave or cookbooks. They make really small microwaves now, and priced under $50, so unless you use your micro to really cook with, you could replace yours with a smaller. We moved our old micro into the garage and dh makes popcorn, tea, & who knows what other snacks to eat when he's working out there. Fine with me, popcorn stinks. lol

Depending how long you are staying in this house and how much you want to do, you can either search for another small cabinet to put over the fridge, or you can put boxed in bookshelves above the fridge. Not handy for short people, but it would bridge the gap between the other cabinet and anything you put on the other side of the fridge.

I like that hackers idea too. I looked on the Ikea website and that recessed shelving unit isn't on there anymore. In fact there was some kind of recall. But it wouldn't take much to make something like that from scratch, especially if you are building a wall. I've got a place I want to put something like that too, now that I've seen it.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 7:17PM
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Oh, and to answer the question you asked, it's the door for guests and family both. Technically, we do have another door...but it goes into a funny little alley-type space between us and our fence with our neighbors, so no one uses it except the occasional confused delivery man.

DH told our neighbor the other day that he'd like to have a "real house" some day (instead of our 900 sq ft, 2 br trailer...our garage is actually bigger), but that it might not be for 5-10 years. Since this place is paid for, it makes sense to stay here as long as we can to save money for our next home, and if it's pretty here, I'll be happy and not push to buy too soon. Thus, it's worth it to put some money into it, but only so much. It also takes off pressure to make it perfect, since everything we do is an improvement!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Marti- I really like the way you changed things! It looks so nice and very functional :)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Thanks LL.

Jessica, sounds like you have your priorities in order. Good for you. Actually, for 900 sq ft it looks really roomy. With your goal, and considering the resale of mobile homes, I wouldn't spend time looking for matching cabinets. I doubt if you'd find any that match really well, and the cost wouldn't justify the limited use of cabinets that are hard to reach.

But if this is a door used by everyone, I'd probably want something other than the side of the refrigerator facing it. But then, I'll admit that cleaning the kitchen is just not something I rush to do, especially if I am working on a quilt, the garden needs work, or I'd rather sit in front of the computer (which is most of the time).

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 8:09PM
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LOL Marti, I just remembered aliris' thread on the kitchen forum about boxing in her fridge. After reading that, I had the same thought! "Oh no! The side of the white fridge will greet everyone at the front door!" Time to go paint cabinet doors and water the strawberries and think of something else for a while.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 8:42PM
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I bought a 39 dollar microwave 6 years ago and it is still going strong. The upside is it is small.

Forgot to say I love your kitchen counter. It looks purple to me on my monitor.

Another thing is I know with manufactured homes they do screw the cabinets to the floor. You will have some small screw holes when you move the cabinet. Not a big deal. You can seal them with a product that cost about 25 dollars or just do not worry about it as the fridge will be covering the holes anyway.

We lived in a 800 SQ FT and a 864 SQ FT houses for over 6 years. There is no shame living in a small house. Being a manufactured home is fine too. We have one too. It is a double wide. But it is what we wanted. We were able to make the changes we wanted in having it built and it is totally paid for.

I love the horse shoe shape of your kitchen. They are nice to work in.

Again welcome to the SH forum. So glad you have come this way. We love to brain storm small house problems.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 9:39PM
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I just reread my last post, and I didn't mean to dis manufactured homes. I've owned one too although they are greatly improved since the 70's when we had one.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 11:42PM
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The trailer I'm in is from '73 and about 750 sq ft. Your place looks super compared to the one i'm in. I figure this one might be good for a guy to use as a hunting or fishing 'cabin' when I move out. dbf plans to take it, gut it, redo the inside and use for an office. He does a lot of that kind of thing.

If you're gonna build the fridge in and paint the cabs white - you'd still be facing white when coming in the door. If you do have enough room to add a shallow cabinet on the end of it, you could do something like the pic posted (keep that clutter hidden) and on the bottom (2 doors to it) it could be shallow 'pantry' area. It only takes a few inches to be able to line up cans of soup, veggies, cake mixes, a box of rice etc.

As for over the fridge w/o matching cabs, how about making it open for display? I have a pic somewhere of a fridge with arched opening up there for display. will look for it and post. I love it!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 10:32AM
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Shades, I know, aren't horseshoe/u-shaped kitchens great? Everything I need is just a couple steps away. I've grown to somewhat appreciate the purple counters (the way they tied in with the fruit wallpaper, at least), but on the other hand, if they were neutral rather than purple, I'd probably try to save them! How do they put it on Designed to Sell? Too "taste specific" for me? :p DH bought this trailer when it was 2 years old. It had splashed paper in the master bedroom & bathroom, floral border in the living room and back bedroom, fruit wallpaper in the kitchen and laundry area, mauve carpet throughout, and burgundy & multi-stripe valances and shower curtain. Very busy! I have fun coming up with back stories for it got decorated, since I have a hard time picturing someone choosing some of the combinations. Fruity wallpaper kinda grew on me...but I'm so much calmer with the walls a solid color!

Marti, I didn't take your comment as a dis on manufactured homes at all. Reality is trailers depreciate rather like cars, even when on a foundation like ours. I've heard resale is somewhat better with modulars. While I'd love to be an "old house snob" like some of the folks on the Home Decor forum, I appreciate the layout and affordability of our home. If it was bigger, I'd probably even plan to stay here "forever". As it is...we'd like a little more land and possibly room to raise kids someday (a decision coming up sooner than I'd like...but not quite yet).

Desertsteph, I'm in love with the idea of trying to eke out a can pantry next to the fridge. Hopefully my brother can come over in the next day or two to see about options for moving stuff around. If you do find the post of the display cab over the fridge, I'd love to see it! Right now I'm thinking maybe just a shelf to bridge the current cabinet and the hoped-for skinny cabinet. It's been many years since woodworking class in jr. high, but I'm convinced I might be able to make a simple cabinet (possibly delusional...).

Shades, thanks also for the heads up about the screwed in cabinets! I was worried they might be glued down. Holes I can handle, and our flooring is actually TrafficMaster Allure Vinyl on top of the original linoleum. We have extra, so we could feasibly fill holes and cover it with a flooring panel if need be.

I can picture this turning out so pretty! Hope reality doesn't get in the way.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:13AM
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here's the display shelf over the fridge - thx for reminding me - it'd slipped my mind (it's slippery in there!)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 3:22AM
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Could you possibly take out the hood over the stove and put in an over the range microwave in there?..would free up some space where it is now for a shelf or something...just a thought.

If you are new to "Small Houses", you will find they are a very friendly, helpful group of people....I always enjoy their posts and replies.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 4:00PM
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desertsteph, thanks for the pic! That arch definitely dresses up the open cabinet and makes it look like an asset rather than unfinished.

phoggie, you couldn't be more right about this being a friendly, helpful group of people! I check in from time to time and don't always have anything to share, but I notice this forum has an overall friendlier vibe than some of the others.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 10:27AM
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jessica - that idea could be redesigned in many ways to someone's ideal. not everyone might like the arch. I envision that if it's a deep 'shelf' (out to front of fridge) that there's space in the back to use - for hiding. a false back behind the display items and you could hide your stashes of jewels and cash in there. no one would ever find it. If it were me, i'd even forget it's there and that I hid anything there - lol!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 4:16PM
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Marti, I really am pleased with your mockup, I was thinking something similar to that, then scrolled down and VOILA there it already was. You can blast it out of the park for us folks, then fret over your own. Trust your instincts....they are sound....and workable.

If the front door is right there, and you have 22 inches of wall space available, I think you could find a 15 or 18 inch wide tall cab that is like 12 to 18 inches deep. Not a full depth cab,...And if you keep a long door on it, that could provide a place for a couple of hooks, to hang raincoats, back packs, whatever if you have kids, or have your guests hang their coats there as they come in. Just something wide enough for someone to rest their derriere if need be to take off muddy shoes?

I also think you need to claim the counter space from your DH who is usurping it at this time. I realize how convenient it is for him, menfolks can become such creatures of habit. But my thinking is, you need all the counter space you've got for kitchen prep work.

And, having the counter space on the side of the fridge that has the door handle. THAT is the perfect option. In my case, we have a French door fridge, and not being able to set something down on a countertop is making me consider having a stubby peninsula between the fridge and the sink, so it sticks out enough past the open doors to give me a spot to put down groceries or whatever. With a single door fridge, you know which side to make available for staging the groceries going in or out of the fridge.

And Jessica, you are so right, this is a splendid group of friendly people.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 11:00PM
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Steph, I love that display shelf over the fridge. Now that I know what you are talking about, I'll post a couple of pictures I've been saving in my inspiration folder. I want to do something with the fur down that is over my cabinets, but dh doesn't want to take it down.

And I totally agree, this is a great group of people on this forum.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 11:55AM
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WOW Marti Gorgeous pictures. I love display cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 2:08PM
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Wow Marti! All sorts of ideas to play with...thanks! :)

My dad and I are going to try to move the cabinet next week so I can get the countertops ordered and go from there. Right now my focus is to finish painting the uppers. I'm tired of this project taking over my life...I just keep telling myself it's going to be pretty! (and with this particular change, more functional, too!)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:03PM
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I know what you mean about it taking over your life. We still haven't finished our laundry area.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 8:28PM
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Jessica, if you are painting all of the cabinets white, you will have a lot of flexibility making your switch and new cabinet. We did that; DH made the new doors from good quality plywood, cut to match the others. (We got an extra cupboard from CL.) If you are not going to add wood to the side of the fridge after you move it, you can always use small magnets to put a big poster there. That way, the guests see the poster when they walk in. My kitchen is U shaped too, and I love how easy it is to work in.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 9:52PM
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Jessica, you are moving right along now. I'm always doing things the same way as you, a bit at a time. It is my observation that you can move a mountain one teaspoon at a time if you have the plan in your head. We are nibbling away at our home remodel projects, with the kitchen being the next and largest inside the house. I HOPE it can be done next winter, but we'll tackle a few of the FRINGE pieces of the job on our own, not pay the contractor to do it.

It is great that your dad can help you swap the fridge and cabinet, so the countertops can be done. It will make such a big difference in your appreciation of the kitchen.

And Marti, tell your DH that taking out that thingy will be a big improvement, just to trust you and he'll see. You have good taste, lady.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 3:08AM
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