The most time-consuming house project we've taken on so far (and we haven't even really started the bulk of the project yet) has been deciding on a kitchen layout!
The first time we walked through our house while house hunting, we knew the kitchen would need some work. We didn't know how much or when, but we knew it was on the docket.
Current Layout Problems
We've lived with our kitchen for 1.5 years now, and while there are parts of it we love (the built-in breadbox in a drawer, the wood cabinets, the fact that anyone over the age of 65 gets nostalgic when they see it), we learned pretty quickly that the layout wasn't going to work for us longterm.
There are a total of four (yes, four!) doors in our 12x13' kitchen, meaning it's a traffic hub; there's not enough counter space where you need it and too much where you don't; it's a good size kitchen with nothing in the middle, but chaotically cluttered once you add even a small table.
Basically, too much traffic, not enough space for eating/cooking.
Since we moved in, I've been toying around (and using the IKEA kitchen planner for a visual) with ideas for how to optimize our space. I can confidently tell you that I have considered EVERY option when it comes to the kitchen layout. Even going so far as to propose that we blow out the back wall to gain a mere 18 inches, because, yes, that is all that stands between us and a functional island.
Keeping the Closed Kitchen
Taking down walls for an open concept layout is trendy! And while I briefly considered doing away with the wall between the kitchen and dining room, I decided against it.
First, the cost! Second, based on where the kitchen is situated, it wouldn't even give us that much more space. And third, this house just seems like it's supposed to have a closed kitchen.
And there are benefits to a closed kitchen, mainly that it's easy to keep cooking and living spaces separate, which is nice for entertaining or getting down to business in the kitchen with minimal distractions.
Plus! there is a cute pantry swing door into our kitchen. Which is an old house detail that I just would be sad to do away with.
Choosing a New Layout
Here were my top priorities in a new kitchen layout:
- an eat-in breakfast nook
- functional counter space
- a tighter work triangle
- ample storage (including a pantry)
- sink under the window overlooking our yard
I was trying to fit all these things into our current kitchen footprint, and the only way I could make it happen was to have a tiny fridge/freezer.
I had convinced myself this would be fine! We would grocery shop more! We could have a fridge in the basement and keep things down there!
Luckily for me (and my future sanity), my dad is an architect and a reasonable person who understands that cutting your fridge space in half is a bad idea as a family of 5.
He came up with the (genius!) idea to make some of the bathroom kitchen space for a long run of cabinets. Long enough to house a full-size fridge!
Now, we'll have a regular size fridge, and fit everything else we want in our kitchen, too!
Major changes here involve the door to the basement moving into the office/playroom, the door to the porch being filled in (the porch has another one that goes into the dining room), and the bathroom being cut in half, with a pocket door between it and the kitchen.
I'm so excited about this layout because for a long time I had been thinking we'd have to give up something we really wanted to make this project happen. My number 1 tip if you're similarly stumped with a layout quandary is to talk to an expert - even if it's just for a quick consult. They know how to do things that you might not even know are possible!
Cabinets get ordered this week and then the countdown begins!