Kitchen Plan: Layout

We’re starting to get more serious about kitchen plans over here. I’ve been tweaking these since last August when I saw the house for the first time (even though we didn’t buy it until December), so it has been a target of obsession for a while. But to be honest, the basic layout hasn’t changed much since then — there’s kind of only so many ways it can go.

To revisit, here is the old floor plan where the now-kitchen was the dining room. The “kitchen” in this house was just a collection of appliances and random cabinets in an oddly-shaped room. Following that is our new floor plan where we switched the kitchen and dining room — and opened up the walls in-between.

And now for the zoom-in of all the nitty gritty:

Sorry, you’ll have to re-orient yourself a bit — 180 degrees, in fact. For whatever reason, I draw the overall floor plan one way and the kitchen floor plan another. Maybe because, as I designed it and as I sit here typing now, I am viewing the kitchen from the dining room table. Anyway… Step one was planning out where all of the appliances/fixtures will sit, which had to be decided very early in the renovation so that plumbing and electrical could be set in the correct places. In my order of logic:

  • Sink — centered under the window, of course. This is a classic choice, even if I am just looking at my neighbor’s asbestos siding.
  • Dishwasher — to either side of the sink for easy rinse-and-load. In this case, it landed on the right (on the left, the dishwasher and oven doors would overlap when open).
  • Refrigerator — since a refrigerator sticks out farther than kitchen cabinets (30″+ as opposed to 24″), it has to be at the end of a run of cabinets. This kitchen will be L-shaped, so there’s really only two options. It ended up in the upper-right corner there, because 1) there’s space to open the doors and 2) it buts up against a wall that will disguise one side of it.
    • Minutia note about depths: I am actually bumping out this whole cabinet wall (the counters will be 27-28″ deep) so that the sink and faucet will fit in front of the window ledge — which means the fridge will only stick out a couple more inches here. Win.
    • Another note: I don’t believe in counter-depth refrigerators. For us.
  • Stove — so if all the above is on one wall of the kitchen, then the stove must be on the other. “Work triangle” and all. Ideally/initially, I would place the stove right in the middle of the wall for symmetry, but two other important components of the kitchen are here to interrupt: island and pantry placement.
  • Island — this was a whole conundrum on its own. Naturally, it would float in the middle of the kitchen, right? But however I placed it, there just was not enough clearance all the way around for working and sitting and all the chilling/congestion I know inevitably happens around an island when you have guests. So we attached it on the brick wall, et voilà, peninsula. I will continue to call it an island though.
  • Pantry — this is just some tall cabinets to hide various things, food and dishes etc. Since we do not plan to have any (significant) upper cabinet or shelf storage, these tall cabinets are essential.
  • Back to stove placement — basically, it ended where the door could be opened easily without bumping into the island work space. And moving it over towards the corner opened up some real estate for an extra wide pantry cabinet.

We’ve been living with this layout for a while now — and it works! Just like the original kitchen, ours is also just a collection of appliances and random shelving right now. I’m going to show you just so you can enjoy some schadenfreude. Dirty dishes and all. You’re welcome.

Some other notes about the final layout:

  • Pull-out trash cans and recycling will live in the island. Since the island is the main prep-space in the kitchen, having garbage right there is super convenient (it worked for us in our last kitchen).
  • This time around, we’re gonna have actual stools at the kitchen island! You can see from my drawing that there is 15″ of overhang in the island for that purpose.
  • The tall pantry cabinets will be slightly more shallow than the lower cabinets (15″ deep). If they were the regular 24″, then the side wall of the pantry would look/feel somewhat oppressive from the dining room. Plus, shallow shelves will allow us to see what’s in there.
  • Microwave and toaster will be hidden in the pantry cabinet.
  • Lights — I guess this needs addressing. There was a chandelier centered and hung low over the dining room table.

There have been so many changes in this space that it’s almost comical to compare. When the kitchen is done, I will do a angle-by-angle before and after series. But anyway, back to lights in the kitchen.

  • Lights — the only lights in this kitchen will be three wall sconces above the sink and two pendants over the island (and light over the stove from the hood vent). We just have temporary fixtures now, but the amount of light has been sufficient. Plus, when I get around to picking the permanent light fixtures, they will add some character to the room (which recessed can lights never could).

Layout has been set. Cabinet choice to come. Lots of other design decisions too.

Front Parlor Update

The whole house is perpetually in the middle of a seemingly infinite to-do list. So I thought that, for my own sake and perhaps for your entertainment, I would go room by room and outline what has been done and what is yet to be done. First up is the first room — what we’ve been calling the front parlor (because I feel like our house was built to have a “parlor”) or the library.

View from the hallway as you enter the front door.

Done at this point:

There haven’t been any structural changes in this room. The back wall was kind of butchered to add the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom, located directly above this room, so it has fresh drywall. The rest of the walls are the tomato red that we moved in with. The one thing we did in here is add the built-ins, which had been a long-standing goal for our next house. The lower cabinets are just Home Depot kitchen cabinets, which made this project a lot more affordable. Our brilliant contractor Boyce Wright installed them and built the custom shelving above. They have been primed with a tinted primer.

Yet to be done:

The built-ins still need a couple of things: 1. paint, 2. stone countertop under the window, and 3. some trim to compensate for a mistake I made… Ugh. So, I failed to make clear that the inside of the shelving has to be 12″ deep instead of the overall depth (which is indeed 12″). Because of this, the records overhang about 1.5″ from the face of the shelves. Fortunately, it should be an easy fix: add 1.5″ of trim so the whole thing protrudes the necessary amount. The key will be making this look intentional instead of a cover up. I have some ideas.

One thing that will make the biggest difference in this room is paint. We plan to paint everything Gentleman’s Gray, which is actually a dark and saturated blue. And I mean everything — the walls, all trim, built-ins, mantle, and even the ceiling. We already had the two blue sofas, which is honestly a lot of color for my neutral-loving heart. I figured that making the whole room monotone will dial down the contrast and make blue kind of its own neutral in the room. We’ve leaned into that concept and got a blue antique rug on ebay too.

This guy has been patiently awaiting its debut, which will have to be after the painting is done. With dark walls and this shiny gem hanging down, this room will be so dramatic — probably the most dramatic in the whole house, which kind of gives me the freedom to really go for it. Fun!

The room still needs a lot of styling, especially those book shelves. I like a mix of vertical and horizontal stacks of books and other knick knacks, like the picture above. I’m already on the hunt for some small, wood side tables and maybe a round velvet ottoman to fill things out visually and functionally. Plus, those floor-to-ceiling windows need some shades stat. I’m thinking of doing bamboo shades for now, for privacy and some light filtration, and then adding some full drapes later.

How magical is this space above?! I can only hope that our front parlor will end up as collected, lived-in, and inviting.

Living Room: Part 1 of infinity

Let’s play a little catch-up. When we started the renovation, one of the first changes we made was to move the kitchen and open it up to the living room on one side and dining room on the other. The connection between the living room and kitchen is perhaps the most essential to the way we live and entertain. How are you not going to see the TV from the kitchen island?! It’s a must.

The way-before, wall by wall, going clockwise:

The pink room glowing through the door is now the kitchen and that wall was majorly opened up:

This the layout of that section of the house now:

The living room furniture arrangement is basically set, but definitely needs some fine tuning — including hanging the TV, increasing the seating, and generally making the room more balanced and cozy. Our current kitchen is temporary, but the appliances and island are set up where they will be permanently so we can test out the placement. Island view is working out well!