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Layout help for 50's ranch house

Posted by leeenie (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 3, 13 at 13:00

Hello, all. After browsing through the beautiful remodels on here, kitchens especially, I would like to ask for help. We bought a 50's ranch for the location, land and sf'age, and an ok layout, but would like to change some things. One question is whether there is any way to get natural light into the kitchen. It doesn't look like there is without knocking down the living room wall (which we prefer not to), and that might not do much anyway because the living room has a big tree outside the window. FYI, the front of the house faces east, so the top of the picture is west.

We plan to knock down the wall between kitchen and family room and put an island there. Knocking down the living room wall too would be too much - not enough separate living space. We also plan to build out the top right corner (northwest) to increase the size of the corner bedroom and maybe add a powder room.

Any and all thoughts are most welcome. Thank you!!!

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

sky lights??

great house ,btw!!

if you knock down the wall to put an island, consider a giant cased opening so that there is still some sort of separation between the kitchen and the family room. otherwise you may feel your dirty dishes breathing down your neck while you are trying to watch the evening news ;)

just my experience with open kitchens. there needs to be "psychological" separation provided by structural separation. it doesn't have to be a wall, just something.


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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

Can you move the entire kitchen?
If so:
use your study for pantry and kitchen along that end of the pantry/FR.

Enter your MB from the Pantry/new "hall"
and open kitchen wall to dining for new great room space...

At least, that is one possibility.


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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

Echo moving the kitchen. Where do you live? In my neck of the woods, the walled exposure on the south side of the family room would be a sin, but if you live in a warm climate it's understandable. A kitchen against an external wall opens up more cabinet layout alternatives. To prevent the "one massive room" problem, you can vary the ceiling heights and/or step rooms up or down.

These are big jobs, obviously, but if natural light in the kitchen is a priority, there's not a lot of options.

I'd not do a skylight. They leak.


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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

Thanks for the input. We do live in a warm climate so heat isn't an issue. Unfortunately we can't move the kitchen so we are probably stuck with a dark kitchen. A cased opening is an interesting idea. Not sure where exactly it would go . From the pantry wall to the dining room wall? I'm going to post a kitchen layout in kitchens, so thanks for your thoughts.


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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

I would do skylight or light monitor.


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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

I love the skylight we added to a dark kitchen. It really has helped a lot. Have the builder flare out the opening so that it is much larger on the kitchen end than it is on the roof end and it just adds a whole new feeling to the room.

Here is a link that might be useful: Finished skylight


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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

Gee, I was thinking how nice it is to have the kitchen right in the center of the action. I like your plan.

I prefer one big space without demarcations, so I would not necessarily want a cased opening. You may not need a skylight after you take down the walls and see how much light there is from the family room doors and windows.

I put openings in the walls between my rooms to let in more light.


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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

Skylight(s). No question.

I always feel that it's nice to have the best natural light in a kitchen in the morning, but from the orientation of your house it looks like you would get nothing but afternoon/western light (once you open up the wall to family room).

People love the solar tubes also, but it seems here you might want the actual skylight. Apparently the tubes are relatively inexpensive, though, so you could do the tube temporarily if budget is very tight, wait a few years, then change to a skylight.

Another thought, which you didn't ask about and I know is a little pushy, but I would consider changing the door from the garage so that it enters through the laundry, directly across from the laundry/kitchen door, then close up the other opening. Probably not a fortune but big improvement in flow.

Love the layout and size of your house. Any pictures to post?

Good luck with your projects!!


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RE: Layout help for 50's ranch house

We remodeled a 1957 ranch a few years ago and had a similar problem. In our case it was the dining room that was at the center of our floorplan and had no natural light. You didn't say what your roof looks like, but in our case we were able to redesign our hipped roof so that we had a gable-end with a window opening to the south right over the old dining room. It's kind of like a skylight, but with less leakage potential. We opened up a portion of the ceiling to make a tunnel of light, and kept the rest of the ceiling at 9'. It really changed the way our house functions.

One of the reasons we were able to do this is we remodeled after a fire which destroyed about 1/2 of our roof. So that was an opportunity we grabbed with both hands.

We made the old dining room into a study and put a transom window on the wall between the new study and new DR. It works really well to brighten the whole middle of the house.


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