Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ugly Duckling - Kitchen Planning

I'm so excited about the kitchen in this house!!!  It's truly the heart of the home, located right in the center of the house - adjacent to the living room, dining room and the mudroom (very convenient for bringing groceries in from the garage!).

And it's big!  Roughly 20 x 16 feet, it has room for lots of storage, a big island, room to eat a casual meal, or just chat with the chef. And thanks to the open floor plan, it will be open to the dining room and most of the living room - but with just the right amount of screening as you come through the front door.

Of course right now, there's not much to look at!  This is the view from the mudroom.  The dining room is off to the left and the living room to the right.  Oh, and see all those wires hanging down from the ceiling?  We will have lots of recessed lighting!  Note the big steal beam going through the middle of the room.  That lets us span the large space, while maintaining some head room for tall people!
Kitchen framing, electrical and plumbing are complete

The plan has the stove and fridge on the back wall - with the sink overlooking the dining room and all the windows across the back of the house.  There is a lot of counter space, which provides room for multiple cooks.  And there are lots of cabinets,  for all your kitchen stuff!

But my favorite feature?  The giant island! And this one is really functional.  It provides cabinet space for a roll out trash & recycling center, lots of deep drawers and a microwave.  And while I love a big island, it shouldn't resemble an aircraft carrier - just a big blank horizontal space.  I want something a bit more interesting.  For this island, we will have a raised section with a butcher block wood top (with seating for 4) as well as a typical counter height section, that will provide lots of food prep space.  It's the perfect kitchen for lots of cooks and spectators!

Why do I like it so much?  Well, it's a similar layout to my own kitchen - so I know from personal experience how well the layout works!  And I love putting the microwave in the island.  It doesn't take up any counter space and it's a convenient height for loading/unloading.  We have also included a window between the countertop and the upper cabinets.  This brings lots of natural light into the workspace, without sacrificing storage space.

SoPo Cottage Kitchen with curved island - inspiration for the Ugly Duckling
Photo:  Viatera
And what about finishes for the ugly duckling kitchen?  Well, I want to keep it neutral for a future buyer.  But since we're so close to the beach, we need a few touches of watery blues and sea glass green for accents.  So I have ordered white cabinets for the perimeter of the room.  The countertops will be a white quartz, called Cirrus, which looks amazingly like Carerra marble, without all the upkeep!  And to keep the white from being too bland, the island will be blue.  That will give a nice pop of color (but the new owners could always paint it another color if they want to).  And the curved wood top will add some nice warmth to the room.

With those ideas in hand, I was browsing Houzz last week and found this kitchen!  Love it and it has a lot of the features that we will include.
Intracoastal Beach Home

For our backsplash, we'll use white subway for the majority of the space. But the space behind the stove needs to be something special!  I've been working with Meeting House Designs and we've come up with a custom glass design from Oceanside Glasstile.  They make amazing glass tile and we're creating a custom design using their ocean palette, with a combination of clear, matt and iridescent glass.  The glass finish really mimics water, perfect for a house by the beach!  But creating a custom palette turned out to be much harder than I expected.  They shipped the first color mock up - and it was, well......blah....

By keeping it neutral, it just didn't have any character.  The next sample was much better.  And by mixing those two designs, we've now ordered the final tile, which should look amazing!!  (BTW - the iridescent finish doesn't really show up well in a photo, it looks amazing in person, shimmery and watery.  Perfect beach house style!)
Oceanside Glasstile Muse Collection

Restoration Hardware 20th Century Factory Filament 

The lights over the island will be these pendants from Restoration Hardware.  The ribbed glass and Edison bulbs are perfect!  And we'll have lots of recessed lighting, as well as under cabinet lighting, to make it an easy kitchen to work in.

Photo:  Thermador

For appliances, I'll be installing a Thermador gas range - now that we have natural gas service to the house.  As well as a Thermador dishwasher.

And the final touch?  We are going to keep the exposed beams and beadboard ceiling of the original house.  This is a HUGE job.  It meant we had to very carefully run electrical, plumbing and heating lines - making the plumbers and electricians a bit crazy :-)  Not to mention extra discussions with the building inspectors, to make sure we did everything to code.  And we will be doing a lot of fancy carpentry, to dress everything up.  But the final look - will make it all worthwhile!  I love when we keep original features!

So what do you think?  Is this a kitchen you'd enjoy working in?

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  1. That kitchen is the size of the main room in my studio apartment! That quartz is really pretty.

  2. I love the layout, especially not being fully open to the rest of the house while still maintaining the open feel. The material choices are things I wish I had in my house. I am against two level islands, and I really like the style of the island Waterview kitchen.

  3. I too have never liked two level islands but changed my mind when I saw the one in your home (love it) and the one for this house. I can't imagine how tedious it must have been to rout electric etc in order to save the beams and ceilings but it will certainly make a statement in the end.

  4. I have found in my own house that the island was placed too close to the appliance wall--refrigerator, dishwasher, effectively cutting off traffic when there are two people working in the kitchen. After we had some water damage that required replacing nearly all the wood floors on our first floor, I had the work crew move the island farther away. Gaining that extra 12 inches has made all the difference in coordinated kitchen work at our house. So I'm wondering if the same thing needs to be considered here? Giving a little more traffic room by pulling the island a little further away from the frig and stove walking space? Just my two cents.

    1. As you've noticed, having lots of space between cabinets and appliances makes a big difference in how a kitchen works! Typical design recommendations for space between cabinets/island is 36 inches. We've gone well beyond that with 43 inches - leaving plenty of time to get around the dishwasher, fridge, etc. It's the same spacing we have in my kitchen and it works great!!


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