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Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Posted by Ang24 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 8, 12 at 15:09

So my mother has lived in her house for almost 18 years (the kitchen has looked the same since the day she moved in, just the appliances have changed over the years, minus the stove vent) and as you'll see in the pictures that is the best the kitchen/dining/laundry room looks on a good day and she is finally, officially, fed up. Her cabinets are showing the age and peeling, along with the counter tops are breaking away from the wall and chipping in places. Her flooring is peeling up and turning. She can't afford to place alot of money into this renovation, but she's wanting it to look different. My fiance is going to do alot of the work, he's done basically everything she's wanted done in the house, minus anything in the kitchen. I'm at a loss as to what to do in her kitchen, organization wise and redoing it. My fiance can build anything, so if it would be cheaper to build something than buy it, we'll go that route. I'm asking y'all if this was your kitchen what would you want to do? She always wanted to put a wall where the "eat at counter" is and wants to do something with that little curve counter beside the table. She also wished she could move the table, but there is no place else for it to go. Please any help will be GREATLY appreciated it!

Here are the pictures: Redo/


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Hmmmmm.... If your DH is handy then I would get rid of that floor first. There are great looking laminate floors to choose from that shouldn't be too expensive since you won't be paying for the install. Next, I would either paint or replace the cabinet fronts, update the hinges and hardware to ORB or something silver. The light fixture also needs to be replaced. I just updated my light with something cheap from Lowes and it looks great. Depending on the budget, Formica or WilsonArt countertops that mock granite would also look nice. Oh, I just noticed the wallpaper, that needs to go too.

I hope that doesn't sound harsh. I think you could save the cabinets (and lots of money) and simply paint them & update the hardware. If the wallpaper and floors are changed then I think it will make a world of change. The appliances are very nice so that's a big ticket item you don't have to worry about.

I would start with whatever you DH thinks is easiest (whether it's the floor, wall paper, or light fixture) and changes things as time allows. My kitchen remodel took 4 months but it was worth the wait.

Good luck! Show some pictures if anything changes!

You can always submit the kitchen to one of those TV shows and maybe someone will replace it 2-3 days when Mom is out of town :)

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Hi, Ang. Fun project. Unfortunately, I couldn't see any but the first picture. They all zoomed from right off the screen to the left as if I were learning to speed read Russian.

The table. I honestly don't know what she wished to move the table actually means. Needless to say, nothing can be decided about the kitchen until the issue of dining is addressed.

**Does she use it to eat when she's by herself, or does she normally eat elsewhere? From her lap, or is there a second table?
**If it's used for guests, how many does she need to be able to seat?
**What doesn't she like about it where it is?
**What would she put in its place in the kitchen if she could?

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Can you post a layout or graph of the kitchen. Something that shows dimensions, locations of windows, doors, and furniture? And what is on the other side of doorways into the kitchen--entry? closet? LR?

That would really help.

The answers to Rosie's questions would help, also.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

MrsShayne - My mom is planning on repainting the cabinets because she just can't afford to get new ones, along with changing out the hardware. She also is planning putting down a new flooring and changing up the counter tops, I'll check into the types you mentioned. Instead of taking the wallpaper down we're going to just paint over it. We tried in other rooms and it just didn't work out good. We're going to try to change out the light fixtures, depending on how much it'll be since there are 2 fixtures in the kitchen.

Rosie - She wished she had like an actual dining room but since that is not possible, the table has to stay. There are usually 4 of us sitting at her table just about every night, so we really cant downsize. She doesn't really like anything about it, it's really just in the way, but we've got to eat somewhere. I don't think she would put anything in its place, because really the kitchen isn't that big.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Not sure what the overall budget is for the remodel, so it's difficult to give a lot of concrete suggestions. A 5k budget is vastly different than a 10k budget, and worlds apart from a 20k budget...and each of those numbers can be considered "not putting a lot of money into the renovation" depending on the person. Of course, what you can get for your money varies from location to location, but it would help to know if cabinets are going to stay and just be painted, maybe refaced, or replaced.

Not really being able to tell how the cabinets are, it's hard to say if they need replaced or if refreshing with a coat of paint is possible.

If the layout of the kitchen remains, there is a lot that can be done by replacing the flooring, painting the cabinets, changing the hardware, taking down the wallpaper and painting, changing the countertop, and updating some lighting.

If you are replacing cabinets, getting on the IKEA website is very helpful - you can create your layout and get an idea of cabinet costs right on there once you finish your layout.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

You mentioned reorganizing. That's going to be very hard to do because she has very few shelves and they don't look removable. Everything is stacked on top of each other. Would those vinyl-coated tiered shelves fit inside her cabinets?

I know older people don't like to throw anything away. When I saw the Cool Whip containers on top of the fridge, it brought back memories of my mother. She had a whole set of Cool Whip containers--cottage cheese too! You might try to get her to go through everything she has and decide what's really necessary.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Could you replace the table with a banquette and chairs that looks smaller?

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Bellsmom - This is the layout, or as good as I could draw it.

andreak100 - My mom is adamant that the cabinets are staying, in my opinion they need to be replaced, but she's sticking to the fact that she can't afford new cabinets, so we're just going to either reface them or repaint them. The layout really can't be changed, wish it could but it just can't besides putting a wall at the "eat at counter facing the living room and doing something about that curving counter facing the den.

may_flowers - Yes, she really does have very few shelves and I haven't tried to see if the tiered shelves would fit but I'm going to look into them. She is the type who holds on to cool whip and cottage cheese containers because she swears she uses them for left over food and sending food home with people. I'm going to go through and throw things away once we get everything we need to do this project.

lazygardens - The table is about as small as we can get. There are 3 of us who are just about eating with her every night and we've barely got enough room at the table as it is.

Additional shelves in existing cabs can really make a difference

I so much admire you for wanting to give your mom such a wonderful present. The present is both the kitchen and your time and love.
And you really can make it look and function like a new kitchen.

As GWers have suggested, new lighting, a new floor and painting the cabs and walls will make a huge difference in the APPEARANCE for not a lot of money.

I just can't get the layout of your mom's kitchen in my head. But here are some off-the-wall ideas that might help improve the FUNCTION of the kitchen.

1. Is there a curved recess near the table? I can't tell its size or function from the pics. Could your BF build a banquette inside the curved wall? Seldom used ''stuff'' can be stored in the seats of a banquette, the table can be shoved against it when no one is sitting there, and only two chairs are needed. The carpentry for a banquette is not difficult and, if someone in the family can sew, the cushions aren't hard to make. And then paint does wonders.,

2. Shelves could be added pretty easily to most of the cabinets. There is a lot of unused space above most shelves I see in your pics. You could probably increase storage nearly 50%. Just nail or screw strips on the inside cabinet walls and cut plywood or mdf shelves to sit on them. Cheap and effective. (Be SURE to paint the insides of the cabinets!! Make em pretty.)

3. I really don't like wasted space in cabinets. To explain my solution for this, I am including some pics from my kitchen.
A. To make easier access in a base cabinet, you can use plastic bins from the Goodwill or Target to make pullout ''drawers''. Add some shelves to eliminate wasted vertical space, then put the plastic bins on top. They pull out sorta like drawers. Here are a couple pics.


B. Again, here's another cabinet repurposed with shelves close to each other and pull-out ''drawers.'' If you cannot find plastic bins that fit, build simple plywood boxes, mount them on inexpensive undermount drawer slides and mount those to shelves. A few pics will explain it:

Here are some of these ''boxes'' loaded with little items that didn;t need much vertical height:

Here's a cabinet (used to be a tray cabinet with no shelves). I added 4 shelves, you can see two with the boxes pushed in, one with the box pulled out for access.

Hope this makes sense.
I really think you can make a huge difference. Keep looking for ideas--and paint colors.


RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

If it were me, I'd take down that wall between the kitchen and laundry room and put up a new one right next to the dryer. That additional space would let the dining table move over more out of the way.

Then I'd take that area to the left of the back door and put some shallow pantry cabinets there. That would let you take out the current pantry and move the fridge down to have more counter space next to the range. I'd also eliminate that L corner by the living room and straighten out the whole run. Corners are a PIA.

Then I'd go to Ikea and pick up all new cabinets. As small as this kitchen is, you can probably do the whole thing for under 3K, including laminate counters. I'd also pick up one of the mobile carts that they have, because by moving that wall and scooting the dining table over, you now have enough room for a small mobile island that can move where you need the prep space the most.

All in all, with the labor provided, I'd bet you can do the whole room for under 5K in materials, flooring included.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

If your mom just wants to spruce up her cabinets, that's what she should have. I'm wondering just how old this dodderer is, though, and how many more years she'll be living with them, with her table problem, and with anything else she's never liked or doesn't work well. My age, so another quarter century at least? A decade or two younger? Or has she advanced to a walker, with family worrying about how long before you have to take away her stove? In any case, if she can still see a keyboard she might just get on here herself looking for ideas for what to turn her SIL loose on. Wish I had one like that too!

Well, first off, if a wall is built closing off the living room, a couple of new cabinets with counter extension could go against it for more work space. Of course.

Curved counter/table area #1: Could you take everything out and widen the opening to make more room for the table and chairs? Maybe the table could be turned 90 degrees even? That little piece of wall could be changed to an attractively finished support post. This version would have the kitchen, dining, and den open to each other.

That thick, vertical chunk of wall to the right of the table looks ominous--masonry something? If no one wants to tear it out, could the dining-table doorway be widened on that side too, with the built-in cabinet on that side replaced with a modern one with pullout shelves that is repositioned further into the kitchen? If you can visualize, I'm imagining a bit shorter cabinet pulled forward into the kitchen so that its back is now against a newly framed wall on a line with the little support wall/post on the left.

For a replacement for that cabinet, she could look at Ikea's tall storage cabinets as a possible something nice to do for herself. :) They hold a great deal in very little space. Open the door, and the shelves pull smoothly and silently out so you can see everything you have right in front of you, then they glide quietly and effortlessly back in. Nice! They're also comparatively very inexpensive for what you get. A truly good buy.

Curved counter/table area #2: This version leaves the table where it is and has the kitchen and dining in either a completely separate room or one with a half-height wall separating it from the den. Instead of widening the opening, close it up, either completely or with a half-height wall--but this time set the wall in line with the wall on the right, behind that cabinet, to give more room in the kitchen to the dining table. Almost certainly also move, resize, whatever, the storage cabinet on that wall to make a nice place for dining. The storage could be split and placed on each end or even moved into the laundry. Then you could put a mirror and some pictures on wall.

The single thing I'd want to do for myself in the work area would be to get the dish drainer out of my prize work area by the stove. Is it there because of some problem your DH could fix? If it's there because she just wants it on the right of the sink (probable!), could the stove be moved to the new wall on the living room side? Does she ignore her dishwasher, preferring to hand wash, or could one be put in as a big but inexpensive upgrade?

You know, assuming there's an Ikea within a couple hours of you, you guys should go check it out for ideas. It's fun and interesting, and kind of weird for those who have never been (I always remember someone who one day just walked out on her husband going there and leaving with a car full of new apartment.) All their kitchen stuff is on display for pulling out and checking over, and you'd all be commenting on what'd be worth having, getting ideas, etc. It's very low in price and--for that range of prices--excellent quality and very efficiently designed. She could decide lower-price Ikea was less expensive than refurbishing her old cabinets, or just decide to add a couple of pieces to what she has. You literally buy them by the piece, unassembled in boxes, and drive them home. The cabinet boxes themselves are all the same and very inexpensive. The various door styles come in a whole range of prices.

Then, of course, new paint, flooring, the rest of the fun stuff. I hope she enjoys herself and ends up with something she really likes. Now that she's had enough (I know THAT point!) it's time for it.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

One thing about painting wallpaper - check the edges where it butts up to the trim - if it is peeling at all, even just a tad bit loose, it is good to glue it down before painting.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

I think that the idea of adding shallow pantries to the left of the door is a good one. I'd take them all the way out and let the pantry cover the right side of the refrigerator.

For the eat in area, I think I might explore making the current peninsula into a table height area that could have seating in the living room and the kitchen. If you took out the cabinets on the peninsula, and put a piece of Ikea butcher block on it with a couple of adjustible pedestal legs, it would serve the same purpose as your dining table, but could be adjusted to full height to serve as counter space when needed.

On the wall where the table currently is, I'd add base cabinets and upper cabinets to create maybe a "hutch" type area for more storage.

From the diagram, there also appears to be a lot of wasted space in the laundry room that could have open pantry type shelving done for additional storage.

But the place to start is to start getting rid of the stuff that hasn't been used in over a year. Then evaluate the stuff that's only been used once in the last 6 months. Maybe donate any duplicate use items. Once you have the stuff that needs to be stored pared down, the storage needs won't be as critical.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Boy oh boy, lots of good suggestions here. I'm with hollysprings and rosie as far as checking out Ikea especially as they're having a kitchen sale now (save 10% on $3500 or 20% on $4500) including countertops, sinks, cabs of course, and lots of other stuff that can count toward the $3500/4500. If those amounts are still out of reach for the budget, still getting cabs etc for some new areas may be worth the trip.

Putting part of the kitchen into where the current clothes drying rack is would help alot, wouldn't it? Depending on how many clothes she hangs at a time, your DH could hang a retractable clothes line (~$10 for a plastic one) on the wall next to the washer.

If she does have to keep the current cabs, toekick drawers could add some flat storage (perhaps Coolwhip tub height??).

good luck

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

I'm starting to think we need a second kitchen forum for folks that think $5000 is a lot to spend!! Sad to say, that includes me. A new floor (vinyl tiles?), making the wallpaper disappear and a new light fixture over the table would be a good start and could probably be done for $500 DIY. If you need the fixture hanging so high cause people bang their heads into it then try a ceiling fixture, not a chandelier. Put a dimmer on whatever lighting you choose. My husband is a "saver" so I have boxed up tons of extras and hidden them away, identified as "unnecessary plastic objects." If he asks, I can retrieve. I try to keep it to one such box. Decluttering is amazing.
To go on from there, a narrower table might work. Ikea is a good source or maybe Craigslist. Good luck! I think a minimal refresh would be a great start.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Thank y'all for the wonderful suggestions you have been giving me. There is air conditioning duck work in the wall there behind the table so we can't take it out as much as it would solve a lot of things, not without it costing more than any of us care to spend on this remodel. I can't put shelves on that back wall by the door in that little corner because the breaker box is located there unfortunately.

The picture I attached since I can't seem how to attach more than one picture (anybody want to fill me in) is the 3 lights we've chosen. We're taking out the fluorescent light that everybody despises and replacing it with track lighting. The first light is going to go over the table and the 3rd light is going to go in the Laundry Room.

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

So since my mother was adamant that we just reuse the cabinets, that it would cost too much to replace them, we are going to sand them down and repaint them a dark brown, possibly walnut or chestnut. After they're painted, we're going to change out the hardware, of course.
Unfortunately, there really is no way to use that dead space at the back of the sink cabinet to the left, so as much as it bugs me, it'll have to stay.
There is a slight recess there at that curved bar, but not enough to put a bench, plus that's where we keep the dogs food bowl and they're water bowl, we'd have no where else to put it if we didn't put it there.
I wish we could find a different place to put the cat food bowl and the litter box instead of in that little nook in front of the water access panel but there is nowhere else for it to go, cause we can't put the food up front with the dog because he'll eat all the cats food as well, plus nobody wants a litter box around the dining room table right?
We've also decided we're going to paint the walls an eggshell color with white trim to really make the cabinets stand out.
My mother was also adamant that she place a wall there at the "eat at" counter, so I was thinking if we put a wall there I'll put some shelves & a possible wall plate rack to store dishes over there by the sink instead of back there in the upper cabinet behind the table.
We are going to update the counters as well, my mom refuses, of course, to buy new counter tops so we're going to make do with whats there. Possibly place tile on top? Not sure yet.

If y'all have anymore suggestions please let me know!

RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Why brown? It always looks to me that someone is hoping you'll think it's wood. I can't see it working with the stainless appliances.

Would she consider light gray? It's the hot new thing and I bet she's a trend-setter. ;) Really, it would look good with her countertops and the blue gray carpet. You'd have to show her inspiration pictures, of course.

Cabinet color and painting wallpaper

Sounds like ideas are coming together for you. I have comments on two issues:
1. Color:
Your mom has used blue accents several places in her present kitchen: the floor, the wall paper.
I agree with may flower that brown painted cabs look like bad faux wood to me. Would your mom consider a soft medium blue? It could be really pretty and probably goes with her choice of colors in other rooms. Then new pulls could give it zing.

2. Painting wallpaper:
The wall paper here looks really shiny. It may be tricky to get paint to stick to it. Maybe take a sample of the paper to the paint store? You will probably need to use a good primer, and maybe need to sand the paper first. A little research on this might save a big headache later. And remember to sand and fill the seams.

Good luck on this project. And be sure to post pictures of the finished kitchen.


RE: Need MAJOR help with redoing and reorganzing the kitchen

Inspiration photos = photos of gray cabinets. Not all the expensive stuff that goes with it.

I think my mother painted hers gray back in the early 90s. She had a small kitchen too, and it brightened it up.

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