Final decisions - cant decide

karenlk10September 8, 2013

Well this is my third time in several years to try and get my teeny little kitchen redone. The space has very little room to adjust it without losing something else I like (such as my dining room), but I've decided this will be my growing old home and so will need to do SOMEthing to make it better as well as "old person" friendly.

Here is what I'm starting with....a 10x10 kitchen (in a 2000 sqft home) with a 10x7 breakfast area that opens to a 17x15 den. The kitchen is broken up by the garage door on one wall, a door to the dining room, the openness to the den, AND a huge support beam that dissects the entire area.

Looking from the den that it adjoins:

From the edge of the peninsula looking towards garage door:

From the fridge/table looking towards peninsula and den:

An older photo from the same position, but gives better example of openness to den:

From garage door looking towards breakfast nook and door to dining room:

From edge of peninsula looking at breakfast nook:

I would love to remove the beam, but the last quote I got a few years ago was about $6000. That's a lot of money, especially considering the first kitchen remodel estimates I've gotten range from $35-50,000. Geesh.

So... my new plan is going to pretty much keep the same floorplan and footprint. Flipping breakfast and kitchen doesnt work, I refuse to give up my dining room, and I can't afford to bump out behind the kitchen window wall. I just have to make a nicer, more organized version of what I have.

I was unsuccessful with the online design softwares I tried, but did layout the planned floorplan in excel and made a photo of it.

The original measurements (without the niche) are:
Width: 120" from garage wall to edge of peninsula (10 ft)
this wall has the dw, 33" double sink, 33" window.
Breakfast space is shortened by a 33" door opening.

Length: 117" from kitchen back wall to edge of peninsula
cabinet (on fridge side, there are support beams in
the wall/ceiling at the same place).

80" from brkfst wall to support beam spot. The
fridge hangs over into the brkfst space right now.

56" from support beam to door that leads to garage.
33" door + frames. Only 1 inch between door frame
and edge of kitchen countertop on window wall.
Cabinet depths: 24" on bottom and on wall oven cabinet.
A challenge with the fridge niche is that I have to allow for a 4" insulation wall surrounding it on the garage side. That impacts where it fits on the kitchen side as well.

APPLIANCES. I already have a Kenmore dishwasher and bosch 800 induction cooktop. I just bought a new Samsung side-by-side counterdepth fridge (36x24x70 - closest I could afford to a built in). I'm still shopping for the oven and will need a new teeny microwave. Wish I could afford the gaggenau oven with a side door, but I can't.

PLAN. The new plan I'm considering keeps the same basic floor plan, but pushes the back wall into the garage about 15 inches to build a niche for the fridge and a pull out pantry like this one

This way all the cabinets on the back, garage wall side are the same depth (12"), which wont squish the breakfast space AND won't block the window light. Making the room brighter is really important to me.

DECISION - OVEN/MICROWAVE PLACEMENT: My biggest quandry. The oven will need to move to the peninsula under or beside the cooktop. I worry about it being so low to the ground. One of the options I could consider is extending the peninsula about 8", raising the cabinets at the end and puttign the oven there as in the photo below - but I worry it will just look hideous in real life....

If the oven doesn't go on the end, then I would like to add a bookcase extension to the peninsula and put the microwave in there. It might/might not be raised slightly. Here's an idea:

I could make this work if I pull the cabinets into the kitchen 4", to get them in front of that damn support pole which goes from floor to ceiling. If I do that, I loose a little cab space by the blind corner. But a plus would be that I could build a raised retainer wall topped with crown molding to separate the peninsula from the den furniture right behind it. AND there would be a place to put OUTLETS!!! That would be nice! Here's a blurry example of what I mean by a retainer wall on the peninsula.....

Another option for the microwave would be to insert it in the bottom of the upper cabinets to the left of the sink... but that takes up some of my precious little cabinet space.

A third option for the microwave is to build out another little niche in the garage wall at counter height (to the right of the garage door) so that the microwave doesnt take up cabinet or counter space. This would require that the water heater on the garage side of the wall be relocated, but I do need a new one anyway.

Plus, under the microwave niche in the actual garage I could add a small cabinet to store appliances that are not often used, like the crock pot and blender.

I hope to be able to build the upper cabinets on the window wall in small "L" shapes. I also like the idea of glass on the side and front of the cabs closest to the window like the one in this subzero ad:

I can't really figure out cabinets and drawer space in the peninsula until I nail down the oven/microwave questions. Though I do hope I can afford the kornerking rotating drawer gadgets in the lower blind corner.

I wont have a vent. Haven't had one for years and dont miss it. Will put in just a ceiling vent to satisfy code/resale issues. The broan L300KMG with a grease trap will do just fine.

The breakfast space is still a little vague in my head, I admit, but the idea is to add floor to ceiling cabinets on the left/right of the space... with glass and lights to brighten it up. I want to keep some space in the middle for art/color. Not sure how to coordinate that with a table yet... I keep coming back to these types of looks:

tho another option I dont have a photo of has a table built-into the wall in between the cabinets - the table between teh cabinets works as more counter space.

I will have to add more lights - it is too dark in there - but cannot add more window space to make it brighter. Behind the top right cabinet is the power/fuse box. Besides, just putting in a new window that is 6" longer (down to the top of the sink) will cost $1000 per one contractor. This is due to the brick on the outside of the house.

How do the rest of you afford to do what you do? Everything costs sooooooo much!!!

Anyway - I'd really like to hear your thougths on the oven/microwave decision..... or anything else.

Sorry if I wrote too much.

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does traffic come in thru garage door routinely then on to where? can't tell which way thru den people move to.....or through dining room to living room and then bedroom wing?Traffic winds thru kitchen....also-the arch window above table-no light coming in-is it a real window?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 7:00AM
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Yes... traffic comes in through the garage door - usually into the den as that is the route to both the upstairs bedrooms and the downstairs bedrooms. We go through the the dining/living OR the den to get to the front door and check the mail.
However, at present, I live here alone... my son is gone to college and only home in summers and holidays. So there's no problems with with doors being in the way of traffic thru the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Sorry - didn't answer your other question - what you see in the breakfast nook is a mirror. Which I love. It reflects a little of the light and makes the space feel bigger

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:22AM
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I really think because of a 2000 sq foot home you have to think more than "just yourself" living there. Situations really can change....this is a family home,meaning design this with 4-5 people in mind. A mirror on the wall would not prevent me from thinking of other things to do with thewall. Extend the kitchen all along garage wall, and think about an island in the foreground to den ..enough space for traffic to move around island and do away with the obligatory wind thru middle of kitchen. You can keep sink at window, cooktop on island or elsewhere, and use table area walls for storage. I just don't think I would cut back into infrastructure of garage,unless I changed the flow and enhanced the space overall. There's a few ways to do things without "swapping kitchen with table area".The window to left of dining room passage-is it a "mirror" as well?In truth, if I were on my own, I might leave the space as is, save the money except for a new bottom freezer fridge, range inserted into cooktop space since you aren't concerned about venting, place the ge spacemaker mwave mounted under a wall cabinet or place a small mwave on the money of a kitchen redo and travel or do other things,if you're not going to do a kitchen that really enhances flow and works with the den being adjacent.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:13AM
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You have a number of good features beginning with an open plan, but I would like to see more of your first floor and garage layout to be able to offer some suggestions on how to get the most out of it.
I'm not seeing design value in the flow and interaction of what you have now. I wouldn't build that today.
35-50k without some layout work seems like much of that would be lost at resale. What are you getting for that money?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 12:47PM
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Herbflavor -

I do agree about adding storage to the breakfast area... maybe that didn't show up well in my plan above. I do want to add a couple of tall cabinets which will add a LOT of extra space. Honestly, adding modern cabinets (mine are original to the 1950s home) with more efficient storage space and drawers will make a huge difference all by themselves.

As for an island, I've worked out several plans for this over the years, but do not feel they work. And not just for cosmetic issues related to the silly beam that runs through the rooms.

Since the den wall near the dining room door often has furniture on it, the island cannot be much longer than than the existing peninsula or it would block walking space.

Meanwhile, I would lose 3' on the opposite side (by the outside wall) to allow passage from the den. Plus, any open cabinets on that outside/window wall would block entry to the kitchen.

If the island includes an eating bar, then I have to allow 50-60" of clearance between the edge of the bar and the den furniture (to allow for chairs and walkway space. That would leave less than 10-11' of width for the entire den.

That's too tiny for me, for ADA reasons and as the stairs are in the back corner of the den- meaning we need a walkway on the far wall of the den as well. In fact, the den needs the MOST access ... Every "corner" is either stairwell, patio window exit, doorway to front hall/bedroom hall, or opening to kitchen/dining, so I dont want to make it get ANY smaller. Here's a sketch - hope its not too small to see:

And here's a photo of the wall with the stairwell that requires access from the front hallway, patio, and kitchen (kids rooms are up there right now).

Lastly, we very much like having seating in the kitchen area. And like that people can face each other while sitting there. And I like that I can sit there to eat, while working on my PC doing homework (grad school), and periodically glancing at the TV in the den. Yes... too much multi-tasking. :)

Traffic from the garage door is a LOT less problematic than the traffic through the den. Trust me! :)

Plus... I've lived here 24 years. I plan on living here another 10-15. So with a few nods towards resale, I do want this remodel to be all about me. My turn!
(BTW - the family before us had 6 kids. And some friends with 4 kids have the same floorplan - kitchen traffic to the garage is a very minimal problem.)

So - given the basic floor plan will remain - have you ever seen a raised counter for an oven? Its ADA compatible... but I'm not sure how it will look/work in real life. Thoughts on that?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 12:59PM
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no,I would not do the raised counter for the oven.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Dan -

I was also very surprised by the large costs quoted to keep basically the same tiny footprint. I've nothing to compare to but it does seem high.

That said, I would be excited to hear any different floorplan ideas but I've been through a lot of them and there are some things I really prefer to keep.
1. I like that I can watch TV while cooking at the peninsula.
Moving the cooktop to the back/garage side wall would limit that.
2. I like having an eat in kitchen that allows face2face conversations. Keeps everyone connected. No backs to the family room.
3. Can't move the sink or dishwasher without incurring huge $$ to reroute plumbing under the slab.
4. Replacing the peninsula with an island would incur big $$ to reroute the electrical under the slab. Assuming the cooktop stays there. (To say nothing of impact on space).
5. Not willing to give up formal dining room space. It is open to the formal living room (which is more formal) and I enjoy the different personality of all my rooms.

I don't mean to sound churlish... but I have been around and around with ideas on what would fit/work in this space. It's designed weird, current cabinets were custom built into the odd spaces (cabinets/drawers wrap around the support post, for example).

I also cannot afford to totally rebuild the space. The house isn't appraised that high!

That's why I finally gave up and decided to find a way to improve on the footprint the house was built to have. Just make what I have work a little better. THAT's when I got stuck.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 2:11PM
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