Visited an open house today, to give me perspective

marti8aJune 5, 2011

This was a house built less than 10 years ago, and the homeowner was supposedly a home builder. The living room was smaller than mine and had a strange shape so there was no way to group the furniture without a walkway between them, and no way to face any of the furniture directly at the tv.

The kitchen had nice cabinets, they looked like Craftmaid or similar, in a white-washed finish with granite look Formica counters.

But what grabbed my attention was the counter between the kitchen & living room. It had a raised bar on a pony wall and shaped just like I wanted to do. But I didn't like the overall look. I don't know why. Too open maybe? Too empty?

Now I'm reconsidering what to do with my kitchen. After seeing this house, which had less sq footage than mine, a smaller lot, and smaller garage, I don't care quite as much about having to have the latest upgrades in order to be able to sell when the time comes. That house needed carpet and new paint, and IMO was priced at the top of the market, though the lady said it was comparable, even considering there are so many repo's out there right now.

I think the problem is that I see so many great kitchens on the forums here & HGTV, and had begun to think we wouldn't be able to sell our house at all without new tile & granite, and I really don't want granite, especially with my old cabinets, which I am keeping because I LIKE them. So...whew! I feel better about my house now.

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Marti- It's great to get some perspective. So, are you planning to change the idea of a half wall, between the kitchen and living room? Maybe a smaller opening, on the end of the kitchen, with room for a few stools?

I know what you mean about the forums and HGTV. It seems like we all see such lovely photos that it's difficult to remember whatever we do will probably look very nice and fit right into our areas. Honestly, I don't know anyone (outside of the forum) who has marble countertops with white cabinets. There are a few with granite, but most have solid surface or formica. They really don't seem to be that aware of finishes...they seem happy with whatever the builders put into the home.

It sounds like this house makes your house look even better! I'm looking forward to seeing what you decide to do with the kitchen and I think the dining room is going to be wonderful! It will really open up your house to the beautiful views in the backyard :)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 12:24AM
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I'm thinking now of a larger framed opening, or maybe a wood post and wood trim to separate the spaces. I'm also thinking of wood counter material on the upper part of the bar, and squaring off the shape of the bar instead of angling it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 12:51AM
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Yep, Marti, occasionally visiting on the other side of the fence reveals more than just looking at the pictures. Glad you have that in your head.

Also, builders are not always up on things either. They just want something that would be easy to build and fit the most potential buyers. I don't think the folks who visit these forums and watch HGTV religiously are the typical buyer. I also think that you having a more positive attitude about what your house DOES have to offer, will make a difference when it comes time for you to sell. Having a positive attitude counts a lot....everything else being equal.

About granite. I know some of the HOUSE HUNTAERS shows on HGTV has all the buyers wanting the counters to be granite. BUT....I don't want it. When we do our kitchen next winter, it will be sort of a galley style kitchen, and one side will be Silestone quartz, white with flecks of gray and sparklies in it. The other side where I cook will have a stainless steel counter top. The appliances will be stainless. Not matching appliance brands either, just chose the ones that I liked the best or that fit in a small space. My cabinets I'd like to be IKEA, but DH says he want wooden cabs, and for sure they'll be white. So basically this kitchen will be a bit old fashioned with painted white cabs, hardwood floor (yeah I decided on Bellawood ash or golden teak) new throughout the house replacing the old hardwoods, and then some builtins to link the dining room to the kitchen by a widened doorway.

Essentially what you are describing as your opening with a post, not at an angle, a small 2 stool bar over the pony wall which hides the stove from view in some ways.

Kitchens are working spaces. They are not just show pieces, so I don't worry about mine being messed up. Right now, I have flower pots sitting on the counter beside the sink, a big bag of dogfood on the floor beside the sink, and a big shipping box on top of the trash can until I take it all out later.

I know, Marti, that you worry about your kitchen mess showing from the living room. Well, is there any way that you could put a couple of bifold shutters that would be pulled closed when you expect guests or whatever? They could even be bifold FRENCH doors, and have frosted glass like my master bath door and closet doors. Light comes through, but not a clear view. Think about it anyway. They are not that expensive and the look is great.

Hmmm, I saw a room in the May issue of Architectural Digest in the doctors office today. I sort of BORROWED her issue until I could scan it and show everyone how the narrow French doors hung separately (not bifold mount) would look in a narrow doorway. Sort of like the way old exterior shutters look flanking a long window, quite charming. I also want Lavender Lass to see it, since she is mentioning French doors for her sun porch.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:39PM
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Okay, I had to take my camera because the scanner needs reinstalling. Curses.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:02PM
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that was a good idea to go looking... and to see it done as you had wanted in advance. It wouldn't have been good to get it done and then not like it! This way you can look in mags or online for a different way to do it.

and do it the way you want it. I can only think of 2 people I know w/granite counter tops. my sister who built new about 3 yrs ago and my friend/x boss who retired and remodeled her kitchen about 3 yrs ago. She just has a tiny U kitchen off of the dining area attached to her LR. maybe a 1400 (or less) sq ft house. Her house was a dev builder special type about 30 yrs ago. very basic and cheaply done. It was a good house for her (single mom) to raise her son. now that he is grown and gone and she is retired she felt ok spending some money on it. I think she'll never move from there anyway.

I see a lot of granite I'd love to look at every day - but not have as a counter. to cold, too slick, too hard. don't worry about resale - most likely someone will buy it who doesn't like the way you've done it anyway. Many here put in granite (and stuff) that I'd hate to have.

ML - I like those doors!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:56PM
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Steph, I know, the doors are great. You don't need a wide doorway to install French style doors. One set that we put in is only 24" wide, and they swing/open to either side. Just like the photo, only we did not pay a high price for them.

If it is a close fit, you don't need to use the door stop on either side of the door casing. We just put the stop across the TOP of the doorway, which is where we install magnets to sort of latch them when they are closed. And then you can put in a small cabinet knob as you like. They make threaded "studs" (I buy them for making bird toys) which can go through one hole in the door and accept a knob on either side. If you like, you could also put a knob on one half the door, and then the second knob on the other side of the other half of the door. Make sense? One on inside, other on the outside, so to speak. We're talking about interior doors here, not exterior doors. That style would be a lot different sort of hardware.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 3:47PM
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Do you have a source for the narrow french doors?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 9:18AM
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