Last Fall, I started working with a new client who wanted to update her 1990s builder basic kitchen. When she first called me, she was looking for some help selecting a new countertop. After seeing her home and checking out the cabinets, I suggested that she consider a full kitchen remodel. The cabinets were in the best shape, and the layout wasn’t optimal. It wasn’t a particularly large space, but I thought that were some changes we could make to the layout that would definitely justify a major remodeling project.
In the “Before” floor plan below, you can see that the kitchen was broken up by a doorway leading into what the builder probably intended to be the formal dining room. My client was using it as a library/den. Interestingly enough, I had met with another potential client with this same exact floor plan, and they too were using it as a den/office.
This house (and the other one like it) had some really goofy architecture going on with oversize columns and soffits. You can see the drywall columns flanking the opening in the den. I was baffled by what the builder must have been thinking when he/she designed this plan.
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My thought was to close the doorway to the den in order to create a U-shaped kitchen and to demo the existing pantry and replace it with a cabinetry pantry. I also wanted to demo the little wall to the left of the sink which served no real purpose except to make the room feel smaller.
In this before photo, you can see the a view of the sink wall and the entry into the den. My client wanted to bring color into her space, but she was tired of the dark heavy red. I wanted to create a light bright space with a foundation of neutrals and bring in color through accessories, furniture, and artwork.
This view shows the range wall.
A little bit different view that shows the awkward corner with the doorway.
And, a view of the refrigerator with the pantry.
We had a couple of issues to work out on the refrigerator wall. I had initially wanted to replace the pantry with deep pantry cabinets, but there was an air return behind the pantry in between the entry closet. That also meant that I couldn’t shift the refrigerator at all from its current position.
Those goals and constraints led me to this floor plan…
It’s a little tighter than I would like it to be with the table and island, but I think the increased storage and more efficient layout achieved by closing the door was worth it.
My client and her husband had a tight budget, so I recommended that they consider IKEA SEKTION cabinets. The frameless style will allow them to maximize every square inch in this tight space, and they come with great organization options to further increase the storage capabilities.
I shifted the range slightly on the main wall. In the corner to the left of the range, I placed a regular lazy susan cabinet. The corner on the right has a cabinet with a straight susan that pulls out so you can fully access the contents. All of the remaining base cabinets are drawers. The trash is stored under the sink in a unique pull-out cabinet.
As I mentioned before, I got rid of the existing pantry closet with bi-fold doors and wire shelving, and I replaced it with two 15″ deep pantry cabinets. I like how the two facing doors with the drawers below have the appearance of a hutch. Behind those big doors are roll-out drawers.
On the sink wall, I was able to incorporate an 18″ drawer base because that useless wall was taking up valuable inches. I placed a glass front cabinet to the left of the window to show off pretty dishes and glassware. A pendant light over the sink will increase the amount of task lighting available during clean up. In the electrical plan, I added pendants over the island as well as recessed cans to brighten the space, which seemed dark every time I visited.
In this view, you can get a good idea of how closing the doorway really changed the entire space and created a kitchen that feels much larger.
This view gives a good idea of the island in relation to the rest of the kitchen.
In addition to the plans, I put together two options for the finishes and other decorative items in the space. My client wanted to create a cozy cottage-like feel throughout her home, so we decided to go with white, raised panel cabinets, marble subway tile with gray veining and a gray quartz countertop that looks like concrete.
As you can see, the two concepts share many of the same elements with tweaks on the lighting and stools. My client ended up ordering the lighting in option 1. I really loved the striped stool in option 2, but she didn’t think that the light fabric on either stool would be practical with her kids. I think she eventually ordered a metal and wood pharmacy style stool from Restoration Hardware.
Yesterday, we selected the paint colors for the kitchen and adjoining rooms, and demo begins in two weeks. In the meantime, she and her husband will be assembling all of the cabinets. I hope to be able share photos when it’s finished because I think the transformation is going to be incredible. In addition to being much more functional, the white cabinets, glossy marble and quartz and increased lighting are going to brighten up the whole room.
If you’re interested in learning more about planning an IKEA kitchen, check out my post The Twelve Things You Need to Know before Planning Your IKEA kitchen.