Started tearing out the other side of the kitchen. I'm waffling!

marti8aJuly 30, 2012

My first and favorite inspiration picture was this.

But since the wall dividing our kitchen and living room is a load bearing, that meant a beam and I didn't want a keyhole look. Also, dh didn't want to take the whole wall down to put up a beam. Dh & I pulled all the appliances and cabinets over the weekend, and I started pulling sheetrock today. And guess what? There is already a beam! It goes from arrow to arrow in this picture.

You can see that they had a pass-through window at one point. Odd. Glad that is gone.

I was also concerned that the view from the living room would just be of the refrigerator and freezer, but with the sheetrock removed so far, you can't even see the appliances unless you are next to the fireplace.

Then I saw this picture today on Kitchens and thought it didn't look like a keyhole at all.

Traditional Kitchen design by Dallas Interior Designer Emily Johnston Larkin

Dh thinks that is because their ceiling so so much higher, and that's probably part of it, but I think part is because the opening is so dramatic. Anyway, I'm rethinking the more open concept now. What do you think? Stick with the plan or open it more?

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marti8a

btw, please ignore the mess in the background. I ran out of places to put all the stuff that came out of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:38PM
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desertsteph

I think I'd like it at least partially opened up. Is that enough of a beam to keep things from caving in on you? doesn't look like the beam is big enough or hooked to anything once the studs come down.

the LR looks rather skinny - or is that an optical illusion/camera thing? If skinny, it'd make it seem more spacious.

You'd also be able to see the FP when in use from the kitchen while you're cooking and visit with anyone in the LR.

btw, I didn't see any arrows. not unusual. they could be huge and I'd miss 'em.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:48PM
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marti8a

The arrows are red at the top of the photo.

The beam is actually two 2x12's nailed together, with posts on each end holding it up. That will support the wall.

Yes, the living room is fairly narrow, about 14x21 I think.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:13AM
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Shades_of_idaho

LOL Marti I had to go back to look for the mess. I was too busy looking for the arrows. I see them now.

That sure is a pretty inspiration picture. I agree the higher ceiling would make a difference. That is great you already have a beam in place. Now all you have to do is make your decision. I remember you had a concern seeing too much into the kitchen from the front door? Right. That was you?

I would think if you have an actual bar area there in an opening you all would be looking right into the kitchen all the time. But then it gives a nice conversation space. How often do you have the situation arise to have people sitting at that bar if you had one?

Hummmm Glad it is your decision.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 9:29AM
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marti8a

Yes, that was my concern shades. But I'm also wondering about resale, especially with dh's recent job scare, and he's not really out of the woods. It seems that people buying homes (reading here & seeing on tv) want an open floor plan, and that's not really what we have. But I also wonder if opening it up more would make our house seem smaller, iykwim?

About sitting at the bar, no, except when company comes over and sits at the bar while I work, very few people would sit at the bar. Dh & I might once in a while to eat breakfast, but we had a bar in here originally, and now that I'm older, I don't find bar stools really comfortable. With the table a few feet away now, I think we'd much prefer to sit there.

Another thing, that I realized last night, is if we put a bar in there, it will prevent me from putting another table beside my dining table for big dinners.

So between the keyhole look and that, I think I've talked myself out of it. Waffle, waffle. I should go into politics. lol

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:05AM
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lavender_lass

Oh, I would definitely open it up and make it like your first picture...and I like the colors and fabrics, too! It opens up the space and you can see the fireplace, from the kitchen.

For holidays (when you have all those extra people around to help) what about moving the tables into the fireplace room and having the seating area in the dining space? Then, you can switch it back, but it would give you a larger dining area, when you need it...and you're not the one moving furniture :)

As for the bar, I like it and I think it will be great for resale. My advice...invest in comfortable, heavy duty, metal stools. Kids can climb up them and people can lean in them...and they don't fall over. Make sure they also have foot rests and ideally, swivel...at least a little. Lots of people seem to 'skimp' on barstools, but they can be such a safety factor...and you want them to be comfortable, too!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:25PM
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desertsteph

"The arrows are red at the top of the photo."

well, DUH on me! I should have looked again...(tho I think I did!) face it - I'm blind.

14 wide isn't really that skinny. My old (in 70's) LR was about that x 24. kitchen was the same.

Were you going to keep the soffit area up there?

How about a partial bar area? I don't care for bar type stools either these days. My sister has them but I've never seen them being used. Maybe when her kids come visit. They aren't really young anymore either. Her youngest is 30. The oldest is pushing 50! Maybe the gkids - her youngest is 19.

I do think opening it up some would be good. More open area for you and dh. You won't be so closed off in the kitchen.

Why would it keep you from adding another table next to your DR table? The LR doesn't connect to the DR space. Does it?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:27PM
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marti8a

No, the dining table would expand into the kitchen. We're going to keep part of the soffit, but the part where the sheetrock is gone will come down.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Shades_of_idaho

We have an 11 foot opening from living room into dinning room kitchen.There could have been a bar and I nixed it. I wanted the open feeling more than a bar. Our ceilings are 9 foot high at top of the vault. From my chair in living room which would be at your fireplace I totally look at all of the kitchen. Partly why I built that goofy mosaic lamp. I was not a fan of looking at the coffee pot. Even so I look at it some but the lamp does make a bit of a room divider for that part of the counter.

I was totally anal about doing the dishes. That is until my hands got so bad. :^( Gloving up and all of that is such a pain I will usually leave the lunch dishes until after dinner , down in the sink, or wash them up while I am gloved to cook dinner.

I do enjoy people sitting in our dinning room to visit while I cook. Even my husband sits there some times.

Great idea to be able to expand table from dinning room into kitchen for large gatherings.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 4:47PM
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EATREALFOOD

I agree with Lavender--open it up.
Anyone who buys the house will like the openness. I do not like open plans in large houses, they are not comfortable. You can always create "comfy" delineations of space when it's open.(LL's plans have a lot of these areas I noticed) I think of it this way, pubs when done correctly manage to create areas for conversation, areas for card games and drinking/eating. Yes I admit it pubs are my model for home design...I've been to the most basic old style pubs(original worn floors, original cabinets) that rival many houses I have seen for "warmth".
If you leave the walls partially closed it's more trouble and expense for the next owner.
I knocked out one tiny (TINY)coat closet in my kitchen entryway and I COULD NOT BELIEVE THE RUBBLE that poured down(from the space above).
If you decide not to do a bar, can you somehow place comfortable chairs/small couch facing the kitchen(maybe w/ a sofa table behind the couch). I love the idea of having someone near or in the kitchen while I'm cooking. When we were working on the other rooms we kept moving the furniture around out of the way. Everyone loved to sit in the upholstered chair squished into the corner of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 5:07PM
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lavender_lass

EAT- Thank you...that's very nice of you to say :)

I like your idea of comparing cozy/comfy spaces with pubs! That is so true. Pubs are a great inspiration for home design, IMHO.

Marti- If you don't want stool seating...what about bookcases instead? Then, you'd have room for display/storage if you need it...and still have a more open space. Not exactly your cabinet style....but something like this? Either open shelves or with glass doors.

From French Country Kitchen

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:41AM
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EATREALFOOD

LL you and boxer pups post the best photos.
*when I buy a (small--ha ha!) house you will be called upon for design/inspiration photos, you have great taste! But we just got the counters in & now I can't bear to give up this kitchen...well we didn't buy anything yet so no panic needed.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:27AM
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