The plans for the new kitchen layout

As promised, I am here to show you the new kitchen layout. I talked about our plans in my first “We’re renovating the kitchen!” post last week, but as per the usual, once I published the post with all my plans, I freaked out and changed all the plans. I’m very consistent in my inconsistency. :)

I’m going to show you several before photos first to give you a good feel for the space before I show you all the changes we are making. I used painters tape to measure off the new layout and live with it for a week or so to make sure I LOVED it before gutting my entire kitchen and building the new one only to find out I hated it. That would suck.

I have lived in this house for almost a year now and feel like I really have a good “feel” of the house and how we live here. There were times that I hated this kitchen, the layout, pretty much everything about it. But I’ll be the first to admit I was being just a tad dramatic.

The kitchen layout isn’t really that bad, and once I stopped fighting against the layout of the house and started to try to work with the house, things started falling into place.

I spent months trying to design a kitchen that involved moving load-bearing walls, or adding an addition onto the house for a big breakfast room. I’ve drawn up every possible layout one can conjure up. At the end of the day? It just does not make sense to tear down half the house and move load-bearing walls. It is inefficient and costs loads of money.

So that’s my new motto… to stop fighting against the house and start working with it instead. This new attitude has helped me to fall in love with my new home. The new kitchen renovation will just solidify that this is my forever house, I love it, and we are never moving again. We are working with the layout, but are just tweaking it to make it the best weird layout it can possibly be.

These columns have to stay because they pretty much hold up the entire ceiling. When we bought, I was like, “Oh, I’ll just take those out and open the space up! No biggie!” Um, yes, BIGGIE. They aren’t my favorite, but they are staying and I have some really exciting plans for making them look better.

One more “before” of the kitchen before I get to all the new changes… Those big windows? One of my favorite things about this kitchen – tons of light and a great view of the driveway so I can watch the kids play.

Are you ready to see my vision? I hope you like it because the cabinets are already being built as we speak. If you think of any really awesome change that I could sneak in real quick, I can probably make a few more little changes over the next couple days.

Remember when I said we were doing a separate tall oven cabinet? We aren’t. We were all set to do it, and after blogging about it I just couldn’t shake this terrible feeling about it. My gut was just screaming at me that I would hate it. So it got nixed. So did the appliance garage. We are sticking with a basic range, but trust me, I am much more at peace with this decision and am very happy about it.

We are adding a huge island that will seat 4 people and will add a bunch more storage (plus a pull-out trash can!). All upper cabinets will be tall (42″ tall). The far left, middle, and far right cabinets will be 6″ taller than that. The fridge will have a box around it and the cabinet above will be the depth of the fridge (24″ instead of the standard 12″). All our appliances will be stainless steel (except we are keeping the fridge for a few months because we are already over budget. We will buy a new matching, possibly counter-depth fridge once we have the cash to purchase it).

Looking from the other angle, the awkward area to the right of the window will have a built-in desk that seats two people. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it seems like a good space to have the kids’ computer. I will also use one of the spots for my desk and computer area. I’m getting tired of blogging from the couch or dining table and am really excited to have a designated space once and for all. Desks in kitchens don’t make sense for everyone, but it does for our family.

We are adding an in-cabinet pull-out garbage can to the island, but we also went a little overkill and added a 2nd smaller pull-out garbage can to the left of the sink. We need a garbage can next to where we do most of our food prep (the island) but we also wanted a small one near the sink, so we just said, “Why not?!”, and added both. We are also dropping the bar to counter height. The counter will extend between the columns slightly into the living room but will be one continuous counter.

And one final “vision” one to help give you an idea of how everything will flow. After tons of research we made sure to leave about 50″ between the back of the bar and the sink and desk areas. That way there is plenty of room to walk through the kitchen even if someone is at the island and the desk at the same time.

And here’s one final *bonus* photo of the kitchen looking in from the dining room. It doesn’t really go with this post but it’s here so I’ll just throw it in anyway, in case I’ve never showed this angle before.

As I mentioned in a prior post, the cabinets will be dark brown. We went with a very traditional raised-panel door. The wood is knotty alder so the doors will have a few blemishes and knots in them, which makes me weak in the knees. Here’s a very loose rendition of what our cabinets will look like:

They look very red in this picture (taken at a home around the corner being built for our friends) but it was dark so I had to use the flash. In real life they are pretty dark brown. So there you have it. That is the plan, Stan.

To see the other posts in this series, start here:

1. Let’s Talk Kitchens. More Specifically My Kitchen Renovation.

2. Let the Kitchen Demo Begin!

3. More Kitchen Demo & Updates.

Or you can also just click on this –> Kitchen Renovation tag, but they display from newest post to oldest post. Thanks for following along, and as always, I really appreciate your thoughts and input. You guys usually give me the best tips and advice!


More kitchen demo & updates

Hey guys! This kitchen renovation is in full force around here. As promised, I’m back with a few more updates so you can follow along in as close to real-time as I can muster.

Monday night the cabinet maker… (and his assisstant? Helper? Friend? I’m not sure exactly who the other guy was. He only spoke Spanish and the extent of my Spanish is “Hola! Como estas? Muy Bien! Y too?”. <-- That's what 3 years of high school spanish will do for ya.) Okay, so Monday night the cabinet guy and his buddy came over to do a final measure for the cabinets. We had to have the entire kitchen cleared out before then, hence the frantic gutting of said kitchen over the weekend.

Can I just say I really really like this cabinet maker? His name is Armando and he runs his own little custom cabinet business. From what I can tell he works pretty much exclusively through the builder we hired, so if you want him to do your cabinets for you you have to hire the builder. He is so nice, and the more he comes over and chats the more Ben and I just like him. Super duper nice guy.

So he measured and drew out our kitchen old-school on graph paper. If you can interpret his plans, you probably will notice that the layout and plans have changed slightly from the first time I told you about the renovation. I will give an update on the new layout and ideas in another post.

Ben works hard at his real job, so he hasn’t been much help in the demo department since Sunday night. I have been pulling up the old wood flooring, and trying to do so in a clean manner so we can salvage the floor and hopefully put it on craigslist. It’s taking longer than I assumed it would though because whoever laid it glued each plank together in addition to their locking click together design. The planks are mostly coming up in one piece, but because of the glue I’m not so sure how salvageable they will be.

Yesterday afternoon the big ol’ dumpster was delivered. It was very exciting to watch and was an entire family affaire for all of us.

The driver pretty much just backed into our yard and then dumped the thing using some hydraulics from his truck. We were mesmerized and I took about 25 photos of the entire production.

The driver showed us how to open the back door, which was a nice surprise for us. I assumed we’d be lifting and dumping everything into the dumpster so we are relieved that we can just use a dolly and a wheelbarrow to move trash directly into the bin. The kids were very excited about this fun new addition to the yard, and we’ve had to remind them multiple times since then that this is not a toy.

I also want to address how we’ve been living, or more specifically eating without a kitchen to cook in. Well, it hasn’t been the easiest, and we’re only a few days into the ordeal, so I’m sure our lifestyle will evolve over the next several weeks, but for now we’ve set up a makeshift kitchen in our dining room. We moved the fridge into the dining room and set up our old microwave on a cart to use until we get it sold on CL. We also have a grill outside.

We’ve got a few non-food items on top of the piano, which has been covered by a sheet to protect it from dust. While we are chipping away at flooring or sheetrock I’ve been covering all the stuff on top of the piano with a sheet as well.

The guest bathroom in the hall has turned into our kitchen dinette area. I wash big items in the bathtub and small stuff in the sink, but we have been trying to use as few washable items as possible. I went to Costco last week and stocked up on paper plates and bowls, and plastic utensils. In case you are a detective and are squinting to see what all is in the photo, you may have noticed two coffee makers. We aren’t that obsessed with coffee – the kids use the Keurig for making instant oatmeal.

John, our builder, also stopped by yesterday to go over all the steps in the renovation. He is going to be scheduling the electrician, plumber, and framers to come out and is helping us get our countertops and flooring selected.

I was going to lower the bar to counter-height myself, but we also need a few other things framed out, so he is going to have his guys come do all this work. I chatted with him about turning the pantry door and also the door to the mud room (which we removed when we moved in) into pocket doors, and he said he’d make it happen so I am very excited about that little project as well. I have never lowered a bar, or turned a normal door into a pocket door, though I am 100% confident I could do it myself with some research and enough time. Well, there is only one of me, and I have a list a mile long of stuff I have to do, so having his framers do it all in a day makes the most sense for us. Of course, this is the plan for now before I’ve gotten a quote from the framers, so if they are too expensive my tune might change and I might be doing it all myself anyways!

On my list for today:
- Finish pulling up all the wood flooring and the underlayment
- dump all the 6 trash cans full of tile into the dumpster
- start hauling the piles of trash from behind the shed into the dumpster
- remove several large areas of sheetrock (the plumber and the propane guy need it removed before they start their work)
- get more organized with the kitchen areas and all the other random crap all over the house
- finish washing all the laundry, and then fold a total of about 10 loads that are currently in a heap on my bedroom floor
- run the kids to all their activities this afternoon
- worry about dinner
- start a post about the new layout plan

Somehow in there I also have to actually mother my children.

On my list for tomorrow:
- I don’t know. I can only think one day at a time.

I’ll try to get that post for you guys by tomorrow, but we’ll see if I have any energy left to write it. Also, when I do lots of manual labor (painting, hauling, hammering, lifting, etc), I start to get carpel tunnel in my wrists (just another fun side-effect of being pregnant 12 and 9 years ago), so sometimes after a few long grueling days of hard labor my hands are too numb to type. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but I’m already starting to feel it, so… ugh.


Let the kitchen demo begin!

This weekend we demo’d the kitchen. In order to save some money we’ve decided to do as much work ourselves as possible (plus, hello! I’m a DIYer!!). We’ve hired out for the big stuff (cabinets, countertops, electrical work, etc), but we will also be DIYing as much as we can.

We started by removing all the upper cabinets. I helped unscrew them all while Ben and Travis took them to the garage. We tried to remove everything as carefully as possible because we are going to try sell everything on Craigslist.

Removing the kitchen took a little longer than expected though because, hello! March Madness started! Ben and Travis had to frequently race over to the TV to check the score. We’ve all gotten into it this year and each filled out our own bracket. I think Kinsey (our 9 year old) is currently winning. Dang you Syracuse! I had you in my final 2!

Once all the uppers were removed we started taking the counters off the base cabinets. They are Silestone and were heavy! Yikes!

Travis went around and unscrewed the base cabinets from the wall and each other while Ben and I pulled the counters off the cabinets.

In order to get the counters off we had to break up the tile backsplash. It was holding the edge of the counter down.

I had Travis snap this picture of Ben and me carrying a slab of countertop out – proof that I was actually there. haha

After the kids’ sports games were over Saturday afternoon we started chipping away at the tile floor. We considered renting a power tool to help chip up floor but with Ben and Travis both going at it with sledgehammers they made huge progress in a short amount of time and insisted on the challenge. Boys.

While they were taking up the tile I started removing the wall next to where the fridge used to be. We are going to box the fridge in with cabinetry for a more custom look so the wall had to go.

On Sunday (after yet another kid soccer game) we were able to finish up the kitchen. I had to run to Walmart for a few more garbage cans for all the tile. We are having a huge 20 cubic yard dumpster delivered soon, but it hasn’t arrived yet so in the mean time I picked up several $10 cans at Walmart to hold tile.

Here’s where we are currently at. We met with the cabinet maker on Friday and solidified the plans. He worked on them over the weekend and is coming back hopefully this afternoon for a final measure. We wanted the kitchen totally removed so that he can get the most accurate measure possible.

It is so weird and exciting to see our kitchen gone! We have a lot to get done in the next 3 weeks before the cabinets go in though. It will be a crazy 3 weeks full of hard work. I will definitely keep you updated with the play-by-play of what’s going on around here.

Last night Ben got ambitious and started chipping away at the tile in the foyer. I wasn’t joking all these months when I kept saying this tile is outta here! I also peeled back a few layers of the wood floor in the dining room. I was shocked to find out that the dining room and living room used to have carpet! Yikes.

Here’s my wall I removed, all pretty and waiting for a patch up job with sheetrock. That’s one of the ten bazillion things that needs to get done within the next three weeks.

Here is our old kitchen, all stacked nicely in garage just waiting for a buyer. If no one bites then we’ll donate everything to Habitat for Humanity, but we want to try to sell it first to help offset the cost of the new kitchen.

We have kept all the tile and wood separate so far, but as soon as the big dumpster is delivered we will be chucking everything in it. Here’s all the baseboards and random wood we’ve pulled up so far.

The angled countertop with the sink is so big and heavy that we put it in the flowerbed instead of the garage. It took Ben, Travis, and me to carry it outside.

As for all our stuff? We may as well have just moved out. We have a huge pile of stuff in our master bedroom and the game room. I bought a bunch of moving boxes and have been packing up the main areas of the house for a week now.

We can’t just block off the kitchen because we are also doing the floors at the same time. We are replacing all the flooring in the house with the exception of the bedrooms and bathrooms, so not only do we have to get all the furniture off all the floors, we also want to protect everything we own from the layer of white dust that is settling everywhere from chipping up all the tile.

I’m sure by the end of this I’ll have a permanent eye twitch. The main dust storm will be from all the demo, so once that part is done I think it won’t be so stressful living in a half finished kitchen because at least it won’t be filthy everywhere.

That’s where we are at! The kitchen is bare and we are waiting on the cabinet guy to come measure again. Now I’m just waiting on the dumpster to arrive; I need to schedule the plumber, electrician, and propane company (we are adding a gas range instead of an electric one! I. Can’t. Wait.); and we need to finish pulling up the remainder of the floor and baseboards.

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