Kitchens are places we used to sit around as kids while Mom whipped up some of the fondest food memories of our lives.
Kitchens are also places you could run into right from the school bus, throw your back-pack on the counter, whip open the fridge hoping to find something better than the left-overs of last night's "fondest food memory" (Let's be honest, even Mom got it wrong sometimes)
Now, as a homeowner, kitchens are... well, they're a nightmare.
Everybody wants the perfect kitchen, you know, a place where your close friends can hang out when you have those impromptu casual Friday night dinners? Where they all can't stop complimenting you on how open, spacious and inviting your kitchen is? And how wonderful all the food you prepared looks under the perfectly dimmed lighting of the seemingly limitless counter space you have? And how your kitchen was obviously built to prepare the finest Cuisine... not 'Quiz-ine'...
(Please stand by for a word from Wiki-Focal-pedia)
1. A style or method of cooking whereby guests are mystified as to what it could possibly be.
2. Food cooked in a certain way, usually lacking intention, skill or the necessary tools to prepare it with.
mystery meat - frat house fricassee - sh*t-on-a-shingle
(Now back to our blog)
Well all of that comes at a price and when it comes to renovations, kitchens are usually at the top of the budgetary food chain. So how do we take our kitchens to the next level? And how do we do it without completely breaking the bank?
We start with the layout.
A big mistake I see a lot of designers and contractors make is feeling the need to move EVERYTHING around. Now, in some circumstances that might be the correct answer but often things make sense right about where they were originally intended to be, give or take a couple of inches.
Let's take a look at a project that we here at Focalpoint Renovations just completed. The original kitchen wasn't really bad it was just... (here comes my favorite word)... Dated.
Take a look:
- Bigger island for entertaining
- More cabinet space
- Relocate Cook-top area
- Update lighting design
- Update fireplace
- Sink: Yup, that bugger sits nicely under the window looking onto the enclosed deck. You stay put.
- Dishwasher: To the right side of the sink. This works great for the water & drain hook-ups and that's exactly where we will leave that little guy.
- Oven: We have an updated, electric double oven that isn't very old, if we can utilize the relative location, we'll have our power requirements pretty much where we need them.
- Cook-top: Sorry... you're in the island and we don't like you there anymore. You take up too much space and you have to go.
- Refrigerator: You're in a tight spot too to the right of the double oven. If only we could find a new home for you so that everything wasn't sitting on top of each other.
Our massive 4 seat, 10' 4" x 30" island. Fantasy cream granite offset in an antiqued black finish give this kitchen the much desired seating area that it was lacking.
But there was still one element we wanted to take advantage of and that was the fireplace. It was a very interesting cobblestone but it was tall and narrow. The hearth felt very plain and the mantle was big and set fairly high.
We wanted to allow this fireplace to maintain some of it's original charm but I personally wanted it to feel wider and have more visual weight. We also needed to incorporate the ability to install a flat screen television so we came up with a fairly simple solution. Remove the mantle and the hearthstone, then build a surround that had some of the same character of the kitchen cabinetry. Installing an absolute black granite hearthstone helped make the other fireplace features pop.
The ultimate goal was to help draw the two rooms together and make them feel like one continuous larger room and less like two separate spaces.
We also smoothed out the ceilings. That circular swirl may have been fancy 15 years ago but now it just made me dizzy and anxious. Here's the fireplace before and after:
And here's what the two rooms now feel like when you enter through the kitchen: