Help: odd-shaped room, kitchen remodel kitchen

November 7, 2019

We have a really strange open-living room, and I’d like to remodel our kitchen no only to update it and increase storage and functionality, but also to solve some problems with our living area.

We opened up a wall to a sunroom, which accidentally created a long and narrower than expected living area.

Our couch has no wall or place to go, so it floats in the middle. It’s a pain to walk around to get to the dining area. No plugs for lamps, no room for side/coffee tables, etc. argh!

Kitchen is old, small, and gross.

So here are some photos and and idea for a new layout. Would love your feedback and ideas. Also, thinking IKEA cabinets (we have off-white Grimslov in laundry and mud rooms) rather than Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.

Comments (27)

  • PRO

    You need a certified kitchen designer on your site, along with a contractor and a budget. You need a drawing of the ENTIRE first floor here, but nobody knows what is load bearing and not, how you enter your home, where the mud entry is or anything else.

    Stop wasting money, get ON SITE help. That means in your home.

    Wall removal that "accidentally" creates a longer room ...........? That's called taking a sledgehammer to something with no PLAN

  • lizeelou

    Ouch. Thanks for your feedback. We had an architect, contractor, and budget when we took down that wall. It was hard to envision the space before it was done and furniture laid out differently than expected. Our dark, small cramped space is now open and bright, just doesn’t function great. We’re not taking down any more walls. If it would help I can load a picture of the first floor, but it doesn’t sound like that would really make difference to you.

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  • lizeelou

    The glass door at the front of the room is the front entry. The small wall next to the fridge is where you come in through a mud room from the garage. The pics are taken by the stairs that go up. You can see the cement pad that our wood stove is on, that’s the other wall. That’s pretty much the space.

  • heather641

    Hi lizeelou

    A bit hard without all the dimension. Would you consider losing dining room table and having eating area integrated into kitchen somehow? Maybe in an island peninsula or banquet. I also wonder if you could fit a right handed sectional to give you more seating. You could anchor space with a console table or low bookcase behind.
    It would be helpful to get all your measurements and maybe a few more photos.
    Good luck!

    lizeelou thanked heather641
  • PRO

    "We had an architect, contractor, and budget when we took down that wall. It was hard to envision the space before it was done and furniture laid out differently than expected."

    So I must ask: , When the architects demo plan was done showing the space with NO wall, was there a furniture suggestion or layout on that plan? Was the remaining space, inclusive of the kitchen and a potential re do of that space considered?

    To my mind........a good architect would have presented all as a whole, because the kitchen was small, dysfunctional etc, at the point the wall came down. Yes?

  • jck910

    Can't really help as I'm not a CKD but wondering if all the children's stuff can go where the sunroom was and the sofa be moved over to the area where the kid's table is now?

    lizeelou thanked jck910
  • motupeg

    Or.. ask the architect about designing the kitchen in the kitchen/ dining space, and sofa/tv area in the old sunroom if it is alright with you to not have the wood stove as the sofa’s focal point. What is behind the door/wall that the dining table/ sunroom share? Is this an outside entry that can be opened up expanding the room?

    lizeelou thanked motupeg
  • PRO
    M & D Builders


    You actually need a good contractor along with interior designer / kitchen designer to be able to find out the most best of your space. There is always a solution but you still have to hire the proper people to handle the task. Understand it might be a bit of extra costs to get such people involved however that is the best way to be able to have your kitchen and living space nice and functional.

    lizeelou thanked M & D Builders
  • lizeelou

    Here’s a couple more pictures

  • lizeelou

    @heather641 yes, thought about the kitchen table in the middle instead on the “island”. I think what we really need is something to anchor the couch, you’re right. I was thinking the back of the island could be a half wall/drywall, we could put some outlets there and then you would have more space to walk between the couch and TV, and directly from kitchen to dining table. It doesn’t work perfectly though, the wall would have to be much shorter than the couch, so it might still look a little strange but hopefully function better? Could definitely do a banquet in the corner. I think you suggesting a console behind couch, with the kitchen on the other side? That’s not a bad idea either. Thank you!

  • lizeelou

    @jan Moyer - no, there was no furniture suggestion or thoughts on the space overall. I took his plan and added it to floorplanner to layout furniture, but it just wasn’t quite right. I’m still happy we opened the wall but just have a new problem to solve. Yes, the kitchen has always been small and dysfunctional, even more so now with kids. The architect used to own our home, funny enough, but it didn’t seem to help as much as we thought.

  • lizeelou

    @jck910 yes, thank you! I would like to move everything down, and maybe the chair to where the open “play” area is now. I think it would block the windows a bit sadly but still work.

  • lizeelou

    @motupeg we tried moving the sofa up to the front, so the back was against the front windows and it was facing the living area but sadly there isn't enough room. That door is a small entry way, and as far as we could go with opening up the room. The wood beam is new and very load bearing, that used to be the front of the house (crazy!) and the sunroom was a later add on.

  • lizeelou

    @M & D Builders Thank you. I think you (and Jan) are right. We live in a small, rural resort town - so we don't have many options, and the ones we do have are quite expensive as they typically work with the mutli-million second home owners. I should call and look into it more though - maybe someone could do a very basic layout if not a full blown design.

  • lizeelou

    These before photos are from the listing when we bought the house.

  • cawaps

    Don't mind Jan, I think she was triggered by the phrase "accidentally created" in your original post. It did sound like you had leapt before you looked, a particularly risky choice when structural changes are involved. I think everyone is calmer now that it is clear there was an architect involved. I think opening the room up was probably a good move (if I'm envisioning the original correctly). The windows provide nice light and the sightlines from the living room toward the windows is great. And I'm confident you can find a layout that will make the space work for you.

    I do think that since you aren't planning any more structural changes, it might be a good idea to bring in an interior designer who can think comprehensively about both the kitchen design and furniture layouts in the adjacent spaces. But if you post a full floor plan of the kitchen, dining room, living room, and sun room, with dimensions and some indicators of where various doors go, you will probably get some good ideas here to start you off.

  • nessyquinche

    Have you considered moving the door of the mudroom to the other wall? Then you might have a more cozy nook for the sofa. Kitchen cabinets (just lowers) all along the wall. Maybee even a little bar type thing infront of the window where your kids can sit and do homework when older. If u want u can add an island.
    Sofa is the green thing and the other are an armchair and puff/beanbag or something without a back and fun for kids to sit on. It looks like u have a big space, so why not put the table in the middle.

  • hazelcraddock

    Totally out of the box, not a Pro and don't know your room measurements. Could you make it a galley kitchen? Build wall where the support column is now (near blond step stool) and move refrigerator there, cabinet and counter space, tall pantry. Wide entrance to kitchen where fridge is now. Living rm. side of wall for sofa and end tables with ele. outlets facing t.v. Or t.v. on that wall and sofa on wall next to wood burner. You'd have to remove the window in dining rm. and put stove and cabinets/counters along that wall. Could replace with tall narrow window closer to mud rm. wall. Use rectangle table there and leave another wide opening to living rm. You'd still have the ceiling header bisecting the galley kitchen area unless you're recessing it and adding addtional support. Not the open concept you wanted, but might give better flow to rm.

  • lizeelou

    @cawaps thank you. I wrote to a designer today to see what it might cost to review our floor plan. I appreciate your thoughts. I didn’t have time to get all of the dimensions but will post that soon. Thanks again

  • lizeelou

    @nessyquinche oh, I wish we could - I love your idea. That door sadly can’t be moved, that wall and beam are very load bearing. We initially had the door facing the way youve drawn it, but the wall was basically then that much longer (length of door + frame) into the room, so we opted to move it in order to open up the space more. I hope that makes sense. I like the table where you have it. I’ll play around with your ideas. Thank you!

  • lizeelou

    @hazelcraddock love this idea, thank you. I will try it out. Why would the dining window go, could the cabinets still stop short of that in your scenario? Also, where did you imagine the dining table? Thanks again!

  • skunst2017

    At first glance ....I would put the dining table in front of the kitchen . the staircase , try and move all the toys and cabinets another area to declutter your room and place all the furniture around the fireplace ...that will open up some spaces for you for shelf units for books and toys ...but try and use another room for your children to store their things have a l very lovely space now for living and eating just needs tweaking ...eliminating things that YOU don't need in a living room ...try to create space For the children in The mud room or garage or basement ...or if you have , another room ...or build a little play terrace with a roof ...for the "stuff" , children etc.
    this will free up for family , romantic dinners , guests , you need to create a space to relax for the adults in the living room...not make it into a living nightmare where you can't move around or live comfortably . First eliminate all the stuff and storage ...then start living , eating ..having fun
    Oh , and if you can , extend the kitchen counter make it larger or put another counter a bit lower it so that you have a built in dining table ...perhaps you can eliminate the big dining room table ....for now , remember there is always a solution just have to figure out what is the most important for YOU..! is it to sit by the fire , or watch tv ..or both to eat at a large table , is it to have the children around the entire living space ....??? You will get there once you have all my and your ( needs ) questions answered ...

  • hazelcraddock

    I just assumed the dining rm. window was too low to put cabinets on that wall, thinking you'd want a bit more counter space, although not the entire back wall. Would a narrow rectangle table running from dining rm. window towards living rm. along mud rm. wall fit better than the round table? Great move making the sun rm. space more useable and you'll work the rest out best for your family's needs.

  • J Williams

    Looks like the kitchen could go long by the stairs, or go into the dining area, or stay put. You could use the dining area as a play area, or you could turn the stair wall into a massive storage area. It is hard to visualize with everything you already have in the room. Probably when the sunroom was ripped out, the other parts of the room should have been organized better but hindsight is 20/20, renos are harder when kids are involved too. Can the laundry room move? I don’t know if you could steal space from there too.

  • PRO

    Created an approx mock up of your room so you could visualize this better. Have not included your sun room area in this. It would really open up your room if you moved your couch right by the fireplace and turned it to face into the room (looks to me like this would work buy not sure since there are no pictures of that wall). Its also an option to move your dining right to the kitchen which frees up some room. For the staircase wall, I'd recommend a tall storage unit. Some dimensions will help make this more accurate,

    I could work on more mock ups and change things around easily as this room is built in an interactive 3D format so would love some feedback.

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