Help with updating a kitchen...
April 7, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We moved into this house three years ago. The kitchen is small and plagued by doors everywhere. The cabinets are in decent shape, oak and custom built, but a bit dirty. One of the prior owners was a carpenter and, even though the kitchen is small, he made great use of the space. That said, I feel the kitchen needs an update and I would like to have a bar, instead of a dine-in section of the kitchen. We have a nice dining room that we use. I was thinking of replacing the sliding glass door with a standard door with 12 windows and taking down the upper cabinets. This would allow the addition of the bar. Any other ideas for making this kitchen more contemporary?
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there might be enough room for an island.
   April 7, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Thanks for the photos. Looks like most of them try to take advantage of the length of the room. So, I guess that kind of leans in my direction to take down the upper cabinetry that blocks the living room view. I am thinking now that if I moved the stove too, that would provide enough room for a long island (and perhaps some margaritas too :-)...I think the color on the cabinets needs to change, but I hate to get new.
   April 8, 2013 at 4:07AM
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Were you thinking an island in the existing space? In front of the slider?
   April 8, 2013 at 4:12AM
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It's unfortunate that your stove is in the peninsula -- where would you put it? I would caution, especially if you have small children running around, not to put the stove directly adjacent to a traffic area. You would at least want some counter space right next to any aisles as a buffer.

Those are some nice pictures Ed found, but it made me wonder -- when you say "contemporary", do you mean "contemporary/modern" in the style of Ed's pics, or "up to date" but more traditional? It's a detail for later, because the pics give a good idea of what you could do with layout, but I just wanted to clarify.

It would be great to see what you have on the other side of the kitchen (against the wall to the left of fridge and peninsula that is not shown in any of your pics).

Looks like you could fit a good sized island oriented as in Carl Place Addition, especially if you do change from sliding to single door.

Are you into DIY or have a friend who is? Lots of great tutorials from others who have successfully painted cabinets with amazing results.
1 Like   April 8, 2013 at 4:32AM
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New floor tile - maybe like the ones in the "Carl Place Addition" that was posted, and a new countertop would update the space right away. And yes, if you can do without the storage space in that bank of upper cabinets over the existing peninsula, that will be great. You are not really getting much out of that space right now, so trading out the peninsula for a bar or island that suits the way you want to use the space will be great and I bet you will be very glad you did it.
Another thought as I look at the pictures again - maybe take down the microwave hood and the funky cabinet over it, and replace it with a more modern style hood? That would also cut down on some of the oak.
If you do switch out the slider - try to remove that trim and hopefully can be reused for your new door, so that you don't have a nightmare trying to match new trim to all the other existing woodwork (which is very nice by the way).
And one more thing to check - I suppose the soffit over the peninsula cabinets is just part of the way the cabinets were built and mounted, so probably will not be a problem to take down, but double check that before you get too excited about ripping that all out. If there is anything else up there in soffit (plumbing runs to upstairs heat, wiring, vent runs, etc) you will need to deal with that.
1 Like   April 8, 2013 at 4:39AM
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Great comments. ewe3, you were right. When I said contemporary, I did mean more "up to date." Our style is really more transitional, but the inside of the house is largely traditional. So, I have to be careful about that. The layouts ed suggested are great just the same. As for what's on the other side of the's our dining room. Some folks have suggested that we take that wall down, but I kind of feel like in my community people expect a dining room...

Anyway, I've been known to do a little DIY! So, painting the cabinets doesn't really scare me, but I wanted to see if I could make some changes to layout using the existing cabinets before jumping into that. I know that moving that stuff around is beyond my DIY skills.

jesker, I TOTALLY agree with the floor tile change. The tiles are big and UGLY! And, we've been tossing around the countertop change for a while. And, I will definitely be careful before ripping out the soffit - learned the hard way in my old house about the hazards of just taking things down...Love the idea of reusing trim.

I'll check out that Carl Place addition.
1 Like   April 8, 2013 at 6:02AM
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Sorry, for some reason my words aren't coming out clearly today! I meant the one kitchen wall that we can't see in any of your pics, the one that is on your left if you are facing the fridge -- can you post a picture of that wall? And how wide is the aisle that goes thru the kitchen from breakfast area to dining room?

We took walls down because our view is out our front windows and we spend so much time in the kitchen at the back of the house, but opening up is not for everyone or for every house. You know best how you use (or will use) the space.
   April 8, 2013 at 6:58AM
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Here's the wall you see when looking to the left when facing the refrigerator. One door leads to the entrance hall, one door leads to the basement and one opening leads to the living room.
   April 8, 2013 at 5:35PM
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The walkway from breakfast area to dining room is about three feet wide at the narrowest point.
   April 8, 2013 at 5:37PM
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Thanks vanvoom. I was hoping you had a pantry closet or something on that wall that could be "playable" space, but it doesn't look like it -- you are right, you are plagued by doors! So it looks like you are limited to two walls and an island, if you take out the peninsula cabinets. But I think you are on the right track to a great update, especially with careful layout planning.
   April 8, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Thanks so much for all of the ideas, everyone. I will keep you posted as things progress.
   April 9, 2013 at 4:02AM
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Can't wait to see progress with pictures!!
   April 9, 2013 at 5:12AM
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Like the idea of taking out the bar and overhead....putting in the single glass door and extending the open up the kitchen...(how will that look from the outside?}...would be nice if you could extend cabinets to ceiling in soffit, etc..........try to use existing cabinets, extend wood floor, stainless steel appliances, new counter tops, and new gray paint on walls............good luck
   April 9, 2013 at 5:40AM
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nice sum-up brody1313. The kitchen is in the back of the house, and the sliding glass door opens up on the sun room, so I feel confident we can address the look from the back.
   April 9, 2013 at 7:00AM
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