Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kitchen Designing

The bf and I have been scheming how to re-do the kitchen since the day we moved in almost 3 years ago.  And 3 years have come and gone with no new kitchen.  We tried.  We came up with a plan ourselves, but found it too confusing and awkward especially since we are taking out a load bearing wall.  Lowes designed us a plan and we were ok with it, but my parents hated it and therefore the bf wouldn't go through with it.

So, that leads us to where we are now...hiring a person who knows what they are doing to design our kitchen.  Before I go into details on that, let me first entertain you with the history of our kitchen and design process.

Welcome to our home.  This is the front door.  There are always 2 doggies there to welcome you.  The one on the left can be nasty, stay away from him  ;)
 Here is the entry-way-family-room-dining-room-awkward-room when you walk in.  We put a desk, some chairs and plants in here for now.  The wall with the desk on it is the one we are removing.  Since it is load bearing, there will be a beam that will hang down which is perfect for preserving the architectural cove around the ceiling.
 And now Anakin will lead us into the kitchen.  Excited about the floor tile already?!
 From upstairs where the bedrooms are (remember, this is a tri-level) you see the kitchen to the right, and that entry-room to the left.  That is my pantry, which I will be sad to see go with the wall.
 We will need a large pantry to store all of these items.  Flours, sugars, dog food and vacuum.
 The back door goes out to our newly built patio (thanks Bobby!).
 And here she is, in all her glory.  Yes, everything except the refrigerator is on 1 wall.  According to the oven, this kitchen was last remodeled in 1982.
 In this view, you can see the refrigerator, the kitchen table and my "trash island".  You can read the back story on the trash island here.
 This table is not large by any means, and we are still unable to fit more than 2 people around it.  Yes, the trash island is there, but removing it doesn't give all that much more room and leaves us with less counter space.  We love our appliances.

 This view is from the back wall, looking at where we walked into the kitchen.  You can see the stairs that go up to the bedrooms and the ones that go down to the living room.
 Here is our back patio, which we hope will flow with our new kitchen design so that we may entertain throughout the kitchen and out onto the back patio where we will drink beers, eat grilled delicacies and reminisce about how terrible our kitchen used to be.

And just in case you would like a more detailed view of the kitchen, here is a nice video I put together.

The bf's designs were done on Google Sketch-Up and revolved around removing the wall and adding an island in its place, complete with a bar, gas stove and hood.  Placing the fridge was always the hardest part and no matter what we did, there was always something that didn't feel quite right.

Fast forward to early this year, when all the photos above were taken, and we headed to Lowes to get a real kitchen design with real cabinets.  We had decided to go with Kraft Maid cabinetry with a dark walnut on the wall cabinets and a glossed antique-y white on the island.

We developed the following plan after 4 hours with the Lowes kitchen lady, whom was very nice to us, even though the setup is not so practical.
Can you see where the wall used to be?  It runs where that new pantry cabinet is.  

The biggest downfall with this is that we are not taking advantage of our corner space, where the fridge was placed.  A nice wrap around counter was what we envisioned, but after 4 hours and the kitchen lady saying this was one of the most awkward kitchen layouts she had ever worked with...we "gave up".  We were ecstatic at the time, until my parents saw it and said it was terrible.  The bf would never build something that my parents hated...guess that is good news  ;)  hehe I felt like going with this setup would just be settling on something that we were not so thrilled about but would work.
 Also, notice which appliance is missing?
 Right near the end, we remembered that we forgot to add a microwave.  We tried every location possible and it just wouldn't work.  The solution was to hide the microwave in the pantry on a shelf.  I don't mind hiding the microwave, but I am not about to give up my precious pantry space.

That brings us to our most recent happenings.  The bf and I discussed that since this is such an expensive undertaking and its design will either make or break the layout of the house, that we had better hire someone who knows what they are doing.

The bf found Kurtis Kitchen and Bath online with good reviews and only a half hour away in Livonia.  Supposably they are the largest kitchen cabinet retailer in Michigan and the 3rd largest in the USA.  We set up an appointment with them yesterday and provided our dimensions, some photos and a brief overview of what we liked, disliked, wanted and needed in a new kitchen.


She could tell we were engineers right off the bat!  haha  Hey, I like detail :)

This evening she came to our house and took measurements.  We decided on a few key points:
  • Remove the wall
  • Remove the soffit (empty space above the cabinets)
  • Extend the hardwood floors into the kitchen (maybe there is hardwood under the tile?)
  • Counter top and cabinets all around the kitchen (through the corner) to give the most counter space possible.
  • Possibly keep the fridge where it is now and add pantries on either side of it.
  • Kitchen Island with bar!
  • Possibly install a larger back door and larger window in order to move the sink farther from the door and let in more light
We meet with her next week to see the first draft of our kitchen design!!!  After 3 years, I could not be more excited!!!!

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