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ohgoodness

Thoughts on my kitchen

ohgoodness
last year

Trying to decide which direction we should go with our kitchen and would appreciate other opinions. 1) big renovation removing back staircase (will still have front staircase) and expanding kitchen opening to family room which is on other side of stairs. 2) midlevel renovation leaving staircase but redoing all cabinetry possible new layout 3) minor facelift to update to more current trend. Some things to consider: the yellow is gone. We have painted the walls Balboa Mist, a light greige. We have engineer plans to remove the staircase and we have hired a design build firm for initial designs but haven’t seen their plans yet. This is a 5000sq ft house in country club neighborhood. Our kitchen is much smaller but has similar style now to most other homes in our neighborhood. I’m not into cooking and I don’t mind a small kitchen separated from the family room. Husband would prefer a big open kitchen. He thinks it will be better for entertaining and eventual resale. We have two high school aged teens. We don’t want to move for at least 8-10 years. The entire family chooses to use this staircase more frequently than the front. I’ve been thinking about this for four years since we bought the house and I can’t seem to make a decision. Hoping other insight could help.

Comments (35)

  • megs1030
    last year

    Can you share a picture standing in the kitchen and looking out into the adjoining room? Also, need a to-scale floor plan of at least the kitchen and eating area.


    I agree with above poster, I would not remove a staircase.

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  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    Here are some more pictures and a floor plan. We’ve also thought about moving the powder room and expanding into powder room and pantry but there’s a jog in the wall. The main staircase is closest to our children’s rooms upstairs. They still walk past that staircase to take the back one. If we had done this project before we moved in I’m not sure we would’ve missed not having the back stairs, but now we’ve developed habits.

  • jck910
    last year

    In 8-10 years what buyers want will be different so I wouldn't put much weight on that in this decision. Is there any way to take the stair wall out just down to the counter top? That would open the view to the FR

  • Shasta
    last year

    How well does your kitchen function now? Do you like the layout? Is the walkway between the peninsula and wall cabinetry a problem area for you? How many people are usually in the kitchen? Do people congregate in the kitchen and hinder the food prep? Is the big molding above the cabinets hiding a soffit? It does seem like a small kitchen for a 5000 sq ft house. The nice thing is you're able to hide your mess when you entertain. The bad thing is you're stuck in a kitchen separated by a wall from the party when your prepping. I think it depends on how you live. Our layout is open and I like it. I vote for option 1.

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    These are all great questions to think about. I think the wall could be opened to the counters if we wanted because the wall on the other side of the stairs is the load bearing wall. We haven’t really explored that although I have looked and saved a couple of examples of how that could be executed. There are a couple of things I don’t like with the current functionality. The peninsula to other counter isn’t an issue, but I prep to the right of the sink. It is far to walk from there to the range. It seems like I go back and forth a lot. I’m usually the only one in the kitchen, but I am constantly tripping over my two dogs. I actually don’t like others in the kitchen and especially don’t like guests to stay to help clean up after. Cleaning up is my decompression time after a gathering. Typically when we have people over I like for everything to be done and out before people come. I don’t really spend a lot of time in the kitchen during the event except maybe to take things back. We don’t do sit down formal meals very often. Sometimes holidays but that is just with close family and they don’t really care how things flow :)
    The other thing that bothers me is the lack of food storage in the kitchen. We have a walk in pantry and most of our food is in there but I hate going back and forth. If I kept stairs one thing I thought is I could get rid of the wall oven stack and have a prep area there and maybe shuffle some other things for food storage in the kitchen. I’m not sure if there is something behind the crown. I didn’t really think about that but it is possible something is there.

  • marylut
    last year

    With a home as large as yours, your kitchen plans should include a food pantry closet and a butler’s pantry by the DR. Do not remove the half bath if that gives you fewer bathrooms than is standard for your neighborhood. It makes sense to remove the back stairs. That gives you room to replace the peninsula with an island for your prep and clean up zones. Your prep zone (food pantry, fridge, sink, and trash can) should be closer together. So replacing the wall ovens with the sink and DW makes some sense. And plumbing is already in that wall to serve the bathroom. The wall ovens can be moved closer to your cooktop. You could put the microwave in the island. A small beverage fridge in the butlers pantry or island.

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks, I do feel like the kitchen size doesn’t match the house. If we moved the powder room we would build another in a different location. One plan included moving the door to the garage or the mud room and putting the powder room where that door is now.

  • PRO
    Fairway Style Living
    last year

    Hi, O--

    Agree with the posters who recommend not removing your most commonly-used staircase. In terms of egress in homes over a certain square footage, they are useful and can even be lifesaving in a disaster to avoid entrapment. It also seems like it's the most convenient daily route for your family, so that's something to consider, too.

    Sounds like you're being appropriately deliberative about this major reno--something to add that even since the turn of the year, more segmented spaces are making a comeback as we see changing tastes and opinions begin to champion thoughtful space separation and activity envelopes versus the very popular open floor plan of the recent past. Seems like people are recognizing more of the value in having spaces that aren't all broadly open and interconnected throughout. Food for thought if you're really looking at the long-term future resale. Wouldn't swing hard into a trend that's already turning (or sunsetting). Cheers as you continue on!

  • suqsie
    last year

    Can you make a “turn” in the stairs thereby opening the front portion of the kitchen wall to the family room?

  • calidesign
    last year

    I agree about not removing the staircase. That is a huge expense, and in a home that large you will use both stairs, or need it for fire safety. I had the same size home with 2 staircases, and the one nearest the kitchen and family room was much more convenient, like yours. I think you have 2 real options. You could move the half bath into the mudroom area, and expand the kitchen into the bath area - with the ovens on the same wall as the stove, for additional countertop space across from the pantry. The other option is leaving everything as it is, to let the next owner do a total renovation. The problem with changing the bath area is that you will have a slight improvement in space and usage, but will have to redo your wall, floors, countertops, backsplash, and the new bath. It's a huge expense that may not be worth it, for your usage or for resale down the road. Also, once your teens move out, you may find you want to downsize earlier than you anticipate. We moved when our second one left for college, and we are much happier with our current 3600 ft, which still has plenty of space even with them both back at home again.

  • maureen214
    last year

    I like option 3. Kitchen looks very nice and seems to function fairly well for you. I too like the idea of a closed off kitchen particularly since I am not into cooking for an audience. I would not invest a lot in anything for resale. In my experience you do not usually get 100 percent return on the investment. Living through construction like that is tough and I would only do it if I was certain i wanted it. If your husband wants open I would explore the idea of opening the staircase wall to the counter height as suggested by another commenter. If you want to correct the few issues that bother you it could probably be some with a modified design in the your current space. Quite frankly now that the paint color has been changed to balboa mist it looks like a lovely kitchen as is.


  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks for all of this insight! I think I have been deliberating because I don’t really want to do the big project. We planned this project when we bought the house. At the time we wanted the chance to create just what we wanted. We had moved from a different area of the country and unexpectedly soon after the move my life became very busy in good ways. I no longer had the time to invest in thinking about this project. And, having the big showcase kitchen really just stopped mattering so much. However the idea is still there and I do keep going back to the thought that this kitchen doesn’t fit the size of the house. I’ve been paralyzed from doing the minor update because I’m afraid I’ll change my mind later and even though it’s small the effort would be wasted. I do wonder what we‘ll do once the teens go to college. With the youngest starting high school that just seems so close now!

  • marylut
    last year

    It’s good to know the room separation trend is coming back. RE agents say extra stair cases don’t sell homes, baths and kitchens do. It depends how annoyed you are with the current layout, how much you like the renovation layouts that are presented, and the cost. You won’t get your investment back at resale because you are not adding square footage, but you are making the space more livable and that’s why you do it so you have years of enjoyment.

  • lmckuin
    last year

    I would remove the stairs and for sure, move the powder room. Seems like an awful place to have a toilet right between where you eat and where you prepare the food! I think once the stairs are gone, everyone will use the other ones and soon forget about this set.

    Kitchen seems way too small for a house like yours. In a buyer’s market, people will skip your house for one with a better kitchen so I would bite the bullet and do your first option and do it right.

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    All good points. I do hate the location of the powder room! It’s awful. It was originally high on our priorities to move. But since the dining room is essentially a pretty closet for my fancy stuff, we thought maybe we should save our money on that and leave it where it is. I’m waiting on the drawings from the design build firm. Hoping they’ll have something awesome that helps make my decision. They started back in February but have been delayed due to COVID.

  • J Inhof
    last year

    My first thought on your ‘dilemma’ is don’t get rid of the back stairs. We have back stairs too that the family used all the time, but now that the kids are out of the house they bring back their friends and we also have our own house guests, and the extra stairs provide privacy for guests (and us) to move around early morning and late at night, to get snacks or bring down laundry, etc. without being detected or bothering the other sleepers.


    Personally I would not be concerned about how attractive your house is for resale in 8-10 years. With a big house in a country club community someone will buy it to re-do the whole house, so just do as much or as little as you like. Remodeling a kitchen is a headache and takes at least twice as long as they say so if you aren’t in to cooking that much and you have more interesting things to do, forget it.


    And for the record, I too am for more defined spaces in houses. The wide open kitchen-Dining-family ‘spaces’ are losing their allure imo, and yours has just the right amount of privacy.


    Oh, and I have that awful placement of the powder room too. Whoever came up with that should be fired. I just lock ours most of the time and make available a bathroom elsewhere for company.


    good luck!

  • calidesign
    last year

    I don't know how many of the people telling you to remove your stairs have lived for any amount of time in a home that size. You can tape off the stairs with caution tape and see how annoying it is to go that far around every day, multiple times a day. But I'll bet the kids just duck under!

  • Margie Kieper
    last year

    I would NEVER remove the staircase. And that “for resale” is simply ridiculous. Not every home needs to be “open concept.” So you should live some less practical way because of some potential sale 10 years down the road? That is just crazy. If you are happy with the kitchen (and I assume you are the one using it the most!) just update the style of the cabinets and you’re good!

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    I’m enjoying reading everyone’s comments. Most people are saying keep the stairs. We did talk through the idea of moving the stairs to a new location but didn’t easily come up with solutions. And of course that just adds more to the cost. I’m seeing a few other posts from people also asking how to update a Tuscan kitchen and getting some interesting ideas there too!

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    So we worked with the design build firm since my last post. We were delayed because they became so busy but finally got to a plan that would remove the back stairs and move powder room. The final cost was about $100k over original ball park figure that we were given at the start which wasn’t a small number. Since I’ve been on the fence about moving the stairs the whole time, the decision was a bit easier with that budget constraint. We are now looking to move the powder room and keep the stairs. Moving the powder room really is our top priority. The location really bothers me. So I want to move quickly to get the new design figured out. I’ve attached a few ideas and I’m hoping some others can weigh in on the options. My intent is just to give the architect and designer a basic direction. Specific details can come later from them.

    Plan A moves the range under stairs where refrigerator is now. The architect had this idea because the hood will help hide the underneath part of stairs above.
    Plan B creates a galley kitchen with a 5’ aisle and two 15’ runs. The benefit of this plan is that the new powder room is very close to the existing. I feel that this plan is really efficient and functional but worry that such a small kitchen would be a mistake in a house this size (5000 sq ft).
    Plan C keeps the range where it is. I like this plan a lot, but not sure what to do about the area under the stairs. Any ideas to hide that?

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    Pictures

  • calidesign
    last year

    Have you considered something much simpler? Move the powder room to the space where you currently have your pantry, and change the opening so you access it from your family room. Then you can expand your kitchen slightly, back into the area where the powder room is currently, to have more storage from removing the staircase wall above the steps to see through into the family room.

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    I haven’t thought of that. I don’t think I’d like to have a powder room directly off of my family room either though. I might be ok with a hall there to a powder room tucked away but I’m not sure there is room under the stairs. I need to give that some thought to see. I have thought about opening the other side of stair wall but haven’t figured out how to do that nicely. If I leave a pony wall on kitchen side I’m afraid it will look odd and unbalanced.

  • likestonehomes
    last year

    Keep the stairs, they are so convenient to the widely used areas of the house, this is why they are used so much. Calidesign has good idea re bathroom...

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    We are now planning to keep the stairs in order to reduce the scope and stay within budget.

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    This picture from Houzz provided inspiration for plan C. I do like this, but what would we do with the area under the stairs where our refrigerator is now. Any ideas?

  • calidesign
    last year

    Maybe some sort of open or closed storage above the counter height.

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  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    That plan may look something like this. I don’t think there’s room to tuck a powder room under stairs without having a door directly from the family room. I lose the pantry but do gain a more open kitchen.

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    Should I care about an open kitchen? I’m not sure I do. My husband does (but will let me decide what I prefer) and everyone else seems to think that I should too. This will still be an expensive project so want to make sure we make the right choices.

  • calidesign
    last year

    There's no one right answer. It depends on how you and your family will use the space, and how much you want to spend. I think your plan B or C is better though than losing so much counter space to fit in island stools when your table is so close to the kitchen.

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    I like plan C the best but not sure what I should do about the area under the stairs if anything. I can remove the walls on either side of fridge to have a longer sink run. Part of the problem with not opening up is that I feel like it becomes a race to the bottom. Since I’m not getting the lift of the big kitchen, maybe it’s best to try to save more on budget. Then I go in circles.

  • calidesign
    last year

    Sit down with your husband and talk about what your real priorities are. Is the reason for the renovation to open the kitchen? Or to update? Or to expand? Or change the flow of the room? Or merely to move the powder room? And how much money do you want to put into it. If you can even narrow down your one main reason for making changes, it may help you with your decisions.

  • Ac Lb
    last year

    I’m not going to be any help... I just wanted to let you know your house is GORGEOUS as is!

  • ohgoodness
    Original Author
    last year

    Thank you!