So, as you can see from the floor plan I posted the other day, the kitchen is basically in the center of the house. You may remember that this house was originally a doublewide (and is now a “double and a half wide” as Tom says, thanks to the addition of the lower room). According to Pop, who actually remembers the event, this house arrived folded up – tearing up the carpet has allowed us to see hinges that run the full length of the house from where the sides were folded up to the middle (there are also hinges along the walls and ceiling). This meant that all of the plumbing and duct work for the original trailer had to run up the center of the home. Hence, if you notice of the floor plan, the kitchen, furnace, and both bathrooms are along the middle of the house.
All that to say, our kitchen is in the middle of everything. It’s a weird set-up, and several people have recommended moving the kitchen over a side of the house (the northeast corner would be the natural direction) and we really considered it. But at the end of the day we decided to embrace the quirkiness (and avoid moving both water and gas lines) and make the kitchen the true center of the house.
The lines on the floor plan sort of show what’s going on. You can see a faint line between the kitchen and the front room – that was a wall. At the south end of that wall, running west, was another wall. At the north end of the east wall was a counter (also running west), making a sort of u-shape of counters with walls on two sides. The kitchen is in the center of the east counter. The stove and refrigerator are both against the west wall.
This is the old southeast corner of the kitchen from the outside.
Old view from the southwest corner. You can see how narrow the workspace is inside the kitchen.
Old view from the north side of the kitchen, just inside the main door we use to go in and out of the house.
The walls made the kitchen feel small and weird and also dark. Two people inside this kitchen was a definite challenge (and only worked if the two people really like each other). The placement of the kitchen also meant that the front room was sort of dead space, as there wasn’t really enough room between the kitchen wall and the front doors for anything to happen.
And so, we decided to do what we do best around this house – take down some walls.
These walls were a bit more of a challenge. We had quite a bit of electric to deal with, plus the exhaust pipe for the sink. Luckily, we were able to play our favorite ace-in-the-hole: Pop’s expertise.
Demolition began last weekend.
Some of a wall…
Yes, now we can see pretty much our whole house from almost anywhere in the house… and it’s fantastic.
Next day, while we were at work, Pop worked on the lovely collection of wires hanging everywhere. By the end of that day:
Besides knocking out the walls, we decided to expand the kitchen 24″ to the north by inserting another cabinet between the sink and the corner. As you can see from the picture, in order to utilize the storage in the corners, I have those cabinets facing outside the kitchen instead of in. A bit unconventional, but hey, welcome to our house.
At this point, I have to admit, the kitchen felt even weirder than it had felt before. It really seemed like we just had a pile of cabinets sitting in the middle of the room for no reason, and we were a little nervous about the whole flow. No time for second-guessing, though: onward!
The other big piece of the new kitchen was the decision to add a bar counter along the east side of the kitchen. We’ve learned from long experience that people love to hang out in a kitchen. Both our parents have breakfast bars in the kitchens, and they’re fantastic places to just sit – a lot of stuff is going on in the kitchen, and people like to be where the action – and snacks – are.
The kitchen feels way more legit with the bar counter in place.
We also needed posts to hide our electric and the exhaust pipe. Adding the posts and the breakfast bar made the kitchen feel significantly more anchored and purposeful, and made us excited like whoa.
Mary Rose and I took an adventurous drive to Cincinnati to pick up the new bar stools on a great close-out deal!
The next day was Friday, my day off. We gave Pop the day off, too, and I spent the day catching up on life around the house. All through the day, though, I couldn’t get over how much lighter the whole house is!
Every time I came out of the laundry room I got excited all over again!
Over the weekend, we made a lot of progress.
Assembling the bar stools turned into way more of a project than anyone expected…
We ate our first meal at our very-incomplete breakfast bar! (It’s protected by one of Mom’s seasonal vinyl tablecloths!)
Took time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather by walking down to take some last pictures of the big bridge – they started demolition last week!
I painted cabinets. (We bought them unfinished on the cheap.)
Tom worked on a new stand for the microwave.
Pop worked on lights.
Originally, there was a florescent light in the kitchen, along with the small ceiling fan you can see above. The ceiling fan is jammed against our weird drop in the ceiling, where it looks quite awkward and strange. After living with 100% florescent lights in our last apartment, Tom and I really didn’t want any in our new house. So, we replaced the center light with a new ceiling fan/light combo, and have two drop lights to put in on either side of the kitchen (you can see one of the new ones beside Pop in the picture – the other will replace the old ceiling fan).
Totally different view from the north side now!
Things are really coming together, and we are super excited. Hopefully my new sink will come in tonight. Once it arrives, we can do the final plumbing and then set the cabinets permanently. We are planning to put down laminate for the countertops ourselves – it’s on order, though, and won’t be here until the end of the month (which is why I borrowed an entire stack of Mom’s seasonal vinyl tablecloths!).
For now, I’m off to finish painting the rest of the cabinets – progress!