Hats off to deedles, re OCA kitchen
In response to my post on the "one cool asset" kitchen that is tying me in knots, I received a ton of progressively good suggestions. Near the end of the thread, deedles posted self-effacingly: "If you are going to shore up the mudroom and you aren't farmers, as someone pointed out, can't you get rid of the interior wall entirely and make the mudroom (or part of it) part of the dining room with one set of exterior french doors? Could that allow for the opening between the rooms to be a bit bigger yet? I don't know if that would help anything, just wondering out loud."
I was fairly consumed by the prospect of fitting arlosmom's stunning double-drainboard prince of a sink into the kitchen at the time. In any case, fear of reframing the flimsy wall of a rudely enclosed porch and removing the original exterior wall led me to run screaming for the hills from this suggestion.
Then, last week, when we took up the carpet and linoleum from the kitchen floor, what should we find but that the original oak flooring only reached about 2/3 of the way to the back of the kitchen. Behind that, were just rough boards over either a primitive subfloor or directly on the joists.
Suddenly it dawned on me that the kitchen must have been extended the same time the first floor bedroom addition was put on. The current back of the original part of the house runs in a straight line to the back of the addition. So the kitchen must have been extended when the porch-that-turned-into-a-mudroom was added. The original exterior wall at the back of the kitchen was taken down, and the house did not implode! O brave new world.
So now I am set on doing precisely what deedles recommended. The washer and dryer in the mudroom are going to the basement, the back wall of the mudroom will be reframed for greater strength, a set of exterior french doors installed, and the current back wall of the dining room will come down. .Here's the new layout, if all goes well.
The pale line marks what I believe was the back of the house originally. We will be able to remove the entire wall between the mudroom and the kitchen, bringing more light into the dining room. If I cannot find 130 sq ft of salvaged flooring that matches the oak dining room flooring, I will remove the oak in the kitchen to patch from the current mudroom into the dining room and use different flooring for the kitchen. The 11' wide DR will still be modest, but the additional length and the french doors will be a big improvement from this.
Grazie mille to Master Structural Engineer deedles. Had her suggestion not stuck with me, I would still be trying to figure out how the 1905 house evolved. And thanks as well to everyone who has contributed to this iterative process.
Here is a link that might be useful: long original post, from last month