Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kitchen Conundrum - Input Needed

I know we've all read the articles that say kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.  And I think there's truth to that - particularly kitchens.  Let's face it, the kitchen tends to be the gathering place.  Whether it's just your immediate family - or a big party - everyone wants to be in the kitchen.  It's the heart of the home.

So the kitchen design is one of the most critical elements when we're planning a new project.  And this one is especially challenging.  Here's why:

Basement Stairs - Yikes!!!




This is the staircase to the basement.



A - It's scary.

B - It's unsafe (yes, there are 3 pie shaped steps as you come in through the backyard door.  I can see a sprained ankle in my future!).

C - It takes up lots of space inside of the existing kitchen cabinets, because it provides headroom to go down the staircase.


Basement steps take up lots of space inside the cabinets!






















It also makes the kitchen very narrow, creating a galley like feeling on the window side of the kitchen.  Without that staircase, this can be a pretty fabulous kitchen!!!

So, we think we should move it.  But there are a couple of challenges.

First - how to get to the backyard?  Well, we think we've solved that issue by putting in a french door off of the family room.  And that has the added benefit of bringing in lots of light to the family room!

Second - we can move the basement steps underneath the existing staircase to the 2nd floor.  There's just one issue.  It's in an office/bedroom.  Do you think that's weird?  That's our conundrum - should we move the stairs to the other side of the house?  As you can probably guess, Richard and I have very different opinions on this.  So I'd like to hear yours (and of course I'm hoping you agree with me!!!).  We keep thinking the new owners probably wouldn't go to the basement very frequently, because the laundry room is on the first floor.  But, it is still a little odd to walk through a room to get to the basement.

We can't wait to hear your thoughts.  As always, thanks for the input.  We're really struggling with this challenge!





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19 comments:

  1. I would much rather have a big kitchen...move the stairs!!!

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  2. So the basement functions only for storage and for furnace/water heater? It wouldn't be weird to have that accessed only through an office. I would rather have a functional kitchen.

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  3. Odd or not, it would REALLY make the kitchen better. A lot. I could live with basement stairs being in a room for that. The main awkward thing would be carrying items up from the basement - if they were large, they'd have to go through two doors. But I wouldn't think that would happen often.

    I assume the basement is only under the main floor plan, right? Like not around the garage/study area?

    Also, could the basement stairs also hook a corner so the door is in the hallway? Or are the upstair stairs not tall enough at that point? (Apparently I should've learned to read floorplans better, haha).

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    1. We've tried to figure out a way to make the stairs L shaped, but the current hallway is too narrow and making the office smaller didn't seem smart or practical!

      BTW - the basement is only under the original 1940's house, so just the kitchen/office/dining room section. Everything else is a crawl space. So that also limited our options!

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  4. Whoa --- I have never seen such scary triangular stairs ever ;) No matter where you need to go to get down the stairs, a bigger kitchen and less freaky stairs is a WIN!!! I think this is one of the things you will eventually say: "can you believe we almost didn't move those stairs?!"

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    1. I'm not anonymous, it's Jane in Canada :)

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  5. In my opinion, there is no way the stairs should stay where they are...mainly because they are scary and a total hazard (especially with kids and I think you are marketing this as a family home). If I was a potential buyer, even with the added upstairs and the updates, I would probably pass on the house. I would be saying to my hubby, "Wow. What a great house. Too bad about those stairs."

    We have moved a lot and sold several homes in the process (not to flip them, but because of job changes). The kitchens and the master bedroom/bathroom really do sell the house, at least in our limited experience.

    Can't wait to see what you do because I LOVE your taste.

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  6. I would be tempted to make a second access from the outside, via a set of those slanting cellar doors. Then you could move the inside stairs to wherever you want them since you'd likely not be carrying big things down that way; they'd be just for quick trips down there. Moving furniture, equipment, lumber, whatever....that could be done via the cellar doors outside, on the side of the house. Makes getting stuff in/out SO much easier, and they're not too expensive to retrofit. No matter what, those kitchen steps need to go - they are unsafe and take up far too much room. Is there a code they meet? I doubt it!

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  7. If you took the door off the bedroom/office and made it more of a "study", then it would not be as weird to have stairs from that location in the house...

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    1. I had a similar thought, like flipping the living room with the bedroom. But that would definitely not make as nice as an open floor plan, and I'm pretty sure some of those walls are needed to hold up the upstairs or something. >_>

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  8. Definitely move the stairs, the bigger kitchen is the way to go. I did like the idea about adding a second access from the outside if that were possible and worked well.

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  9. Move the stairs. I agree with the poster who said make the entrance outside. But even if that is not an option, move the stairs.

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  10. Our next old house we're going to make all new stairs. We're regretting it now that we're almost finished with our project. A nice open square style (where its split halfway up) staircase is the most efficient use of space and looks the best in my opinion. We didn't think it would be worth the money or hassle, but I think it would have been in the end. We're making ours work, but it's definitely not ideal.

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  11. Any chance of putting the doorway in the hall where it appears there's a closet to that room?

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  12. I would not want the stair case in a bedroom, office could work. I'd open up the kitchen and get rid of the entrance all together. Mary in NY Can't wait to see this one!

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  13. Thanks so much to all of you for the unanimous input!!! I was certainly hoping that would be the majority of the responses.....I'm sure that will help convince Richard that it's worth the investment :-)

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  14. I might be too late but-- move the stairs! Having a nice kitchen will overcome the little "quirk" of having the stairs in a office.

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