The Flip Side
Monday, June 25, 2012 at 04:40PM
Brenda Levos in Kitchen, Kitchen Remodel, Remodelling, ccabinets, painted cabients

While we had an overall basic plan for the kitchen reconfiguration we had been really focused on the actual cabinets themselves. If the trim adding/painting wasn't going to work, we would have to scrap that and look at new cabinets. We knew that the new configuration was going to have the stove on the opposite wall and that we were removing the small 6 inch stub of a cabinet that came off of the 10 foot run of cabinets toward the stove. The removing of the stub cabinet was as much of a financial strategy than anything cosmetic. It also required us to use that full 24 inches in depth which would shorten the potential for an island.

When you start looking at counter top, the easiest way to increase the price of your purchase...add a corner. Straight runs of counter top are simply less expensive and I don't like the corner seam. This little 6-inch dilapidated pan cabinet and pot holder drawer was going to cost us far more that it was worth and it was time to go. We had anticipated that prior to refinishing the floor and had removed it so that the floor under that space was all ready finished.

I had made a plan for a center work island, which I will highlight later, but what we knew we needed on the wall opposite the existing cabinets was simple....the Refrigerator and Dishwasher (which were currently recessed into the wall) and the stove, plus some sort of small cabinet maybe 18 inches wide. We now needed to solidify that plan and get working on pulling that side of the room together. Because the three appliances were side by side, securely supporting the counter top over the dishwasher was a concern. We chose to add a small space between the dishwasher and stove to allow for a support.

Throughout the planning process I consulted friends who work with kitchen design, online resources and did a bit of reading on Feng Shui, plus just a little common sense thrown in for good measure. When entertaining, the area in front of the stove/sink became a big bottleneck. That is where last minute food preparations were taking place, but it was also the main traffic flow from the entry to the dining and living rooms. I wanted to shift that prep traffic to the opposite side of the room. If we had needed to replace the cabinets, I would have moved the sink to the island, but things seemed to be progressing fine, and not wanting to tackle plumbing at this point, it was going to stay put. We could always add a prep sink in the island down the road if necessary.

One of the biggest issues we had with our existing current design was lack of counter space. Years ago, my grandmother had opted for a glass-top stove out of sheer need to extend the counter space. For as long as I remember at celebrations, a board would be brought out to cover the sink and allow for a more steady run for setting up the food buffet, we followed suit when replacing the stove. We had purchased a pub height table which seated 8 to give us a bit more surface area to work with, but it still wasn't the same as having counter space. The new plan more than doubled the counter space, something I know my grandmother would have thoroughly enjoyed over the course of the thousands of loaves of bread, buns, cookies, cakes and some pretty spectacular divinity.

I had reconfigured that side of the room at least 100 times. My name is Brenda, and I am a spatial relations freak, and I never stop thinking about how to more efficiently arrange things, there I said it, is there a support group for that? Not that it was a secret to my dear husband or anyone who has ever shared office space with me.

Trying to utilize the space that the fridge and dishwasher were currently occupying, was killing me. In the end, what made the most sense was to pull them out from the wall, and utilize the top of the dishwasher for counter top and adding a 18 inch stack of drawers we purchased at Lowes. The refrigerator posed a bit more of a problem, we currently had a 30" model. In the process of pricing out new appliances it became obvious that the size of refrigerators is growing and I wanted to make sure we made accommodations for a larger one should we need to replace ours in the near future. We built out a frame so that trim boards could easily be removed to make space for a larger appliance. For now though, I was able to continue to recess a portion of the refrigerator into the wall allowing it to magically appear counter depth.

The upper cabinets, posed a bit more of a problem. We actually had a fair amount of space in our existing cabinets, and I really like having a bit more space above my stove, plus I didn't want to try to match what was already there. After some searching on Pinterest and across the web, I decided I wanted more of a mantle on that side than traditional upper cabinets. I needed some storage for spices and other items, but wanted more of a display area for artwork. I still wasn't sure of the height or size, but had determined that traditional upper cabinets weren't happening.

Here is my horribly Photoshopped, perspectively skewed mockup. Over the course of the remodel, my husband was blessed with a number of these lovelies.

We now had a straight run of cabinets on one side of the room with the sink. And the fridge, dishwasher and stove on the other side. Perhaps not the perfect triangle workspace, but a vast improvement over the previous configuration.

After exploring a lot of back splash options and having nothing really resonated, we chose to add bead board to the back splash area and from counter top to the ceiling above the stove wall. The selection of back splash is quite overwhelming, so many ways to go. During a refinance, I had talked a bit to the appraiser about what we had hoped to do. She had some sage advice which was echoed by several friends....Let it be what it is, a near century old farmhouse kitchen. Adding fancy tiles or stone just didn't seem right. As I had always liked the bead board look, we chose that as our back splash material as well. Hesitant that the groves might proof difficult to clean, we decided it was the best choice, time will tell.

Trying to find a way to tie both sides of the room together, we decided to add bead board wainscoting to the other two walls to tie-in the cabinet door insets and the rest of the room. Remember that I now still have 4 doorways in the kitchen which really break up the visual flow of the room, I was hoping this would help to aid in that visual continuity.

Throughout the process I had been emailing photos of the progress to my father who commented that as a child he remembered there being wainscoting on those walls. The thought of that made me smile, probably a few smiles in heaven as well.

Up next...An Island of Humanity


Article originally appeared on Morsels of goodness for the digital junkie by Brenda Levos (
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