Where to start

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Where to start
7
Tue, 07-27-2010 - 5:10pm

We have had it on our list of things to do at the house to renovate the kitchen, but it originally hadn't been for another year or two. However, we have the opportunity now to barter my DH's services with a cabinet maker where DH will install a new AC unit for him and he will trade us new cabinets for our kitchen. I am not sure what kind of time frame we have on this, but I would assume by the end of the year. I am excited about this, however, I am not sure where to start in planning new cabinets. Because the current layout of our kitchen and the way it leads into our living room doesn't work for us, we need to essentially gut the current cabinets and start with a fresh new design. So that is where I am at, but I don't know where or how to start. I have attached my only current picture of it. I do know I want to move the refrigerator to the right side of the kitchen instead of where its at and either make the cabinets extend to the ceiling by making them taller, or moving them up to give more clearance room under them. Really, the big problem is as much as I need the counter/cabinet space, we don't have anywhere to really put a dining room table into the living room. I originally had figured I would just extend the countertop of the extension cabinets and put bar stools, but I am not sure I want to do that especially since it would partially butt up against the patio door there on the left. DH wants to hire an interior designer as it is to help with the living room, but I hate to spend the money on it and I'm not really sure how much an interior designer can help us with the kitchen issues. Any suggestions on where to start, etc. would greatly be appreciated.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2003
In reply to: arryl
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 11:42am

I think kitchen designers are more savvy about kitchen layouts than interior designers, but if you find a good designer for your living room, perhaps you can make a deal for both rooms, KWIM?

They do make extra-tall upper cabinets (standard heights tend to be 36"; tall ons are 42") but would you be able to reach the top shelves in them? I don't know how tall those ceilings are or how tall you are so I can't judge that. As they say over at http://www.kitchencabinetdepot.com/kitchen-design.html
"The height you select should depend on your ceiling height and how tall you are - there's no point in buying tall kitchen cabinets that reach to the ceiling if you can't get up to get items in and out of the top shelves."

More clearance from the lower cabinets is always a good thing, IMO. Gives you work room which is really cramped if the cabinets are too low. And there is less issue with clutter and dust accumulation on the tops of cabinet when they go to the ceiling. So check those taller cabinets and see how much space they leave you...

That link I gave you has good numbers to help plan a layout, cabinet sizes, heights, etc..

Not so sure about why you want to move the fridge. Putting it next to your stove could result in some local code issues (check on that before you commit), to say nothing of perhaps clearance issues for fridge/oven doors... and a lack of counter space next to the stove. See this discussion:
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Design_Question_Stove_Adjacent_to_Refrigerator.html
Also, if you have an icemaker in your fridge, connected to your water supply, there could be replumbing issues...
ANYTHING that requires either a plumber or electrician means more $$$

As for bar stools, your little one would have trouble with that, I think (LOVE the exploring in the photo!). But there are island/peninsulas that are lower, more like table height, which you might look into...

Do keep us posted on what you decide to do and we'd love to see progress photos!



CL for

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
In reply to: arryl
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 12:10pm

The other thing I was thinking of with the taller cabinets, I saw in one of the other links you had, was 2 sets of cabinets, the normal ones and smaller box ones above it toward the ceiling. My DH is 6'1" and I'm 5'10", but I obviously am keeping resale in mind since we only plan to be in this home for 5 more years. Most likely the top cabinets would house things that don't get used as often, alcohol, wine glasses, mixers, etc. that i could just use a stool when needed. Right now I throw things up on the tops of the cabinets like drinks/snacks I don't want the kids getting into, extra pizza stones, etc. Then at least they would be "covered" and you wouldn't be able to see my unorganization. At least that was my thought.

Replumbing wouldn't be an issue as the main bathroom is behind the wall of the right side of the kitchen, so while there would be a little bit of work that needed to be done, it wouldn't be much. I think in my head I was thinking have a french door fridge on the right, and then put a small counter in between that and the stove, so there would be work room, but they would be on the same wall, we'd just slide the stove and microwave over. That way there would be much more work room over near the sink area.

I hadn't thought of the barstool height issue, but that's a good thing to keep in the back of my mind. I'm just having a real issue with the whole kitchen table issue. We currently have it up against the window in the front of the living room because we just don't know where else to put it. I think that's really where an interior designer could help us with the living room leading into the kitchen issue.

Thanks for all your suggestions, I will definitely keep you updated as I'm sure I'll need someone to bounce some ideas off of once we get into the thick of things. I'm still debating if I still want butcher block countertops, or if we decide on granite going for a full slab or tiling the countertop ourselves.

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Avatar for cl_honeygirl45
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: arryl
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 3:40pm

Hi Tracy!


You sure have a big plan on your hands. From what I can see in your photo your kitchen is small.


Suggestion! Is it possible to take that one wall down next to your fridge and other side by the doorway? Is that a washroom/toy room for your kids? Relocate your washer/dryer to another area?

                My Honeybear & Zinger! 


Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
In reply to: arryl
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 5:05pm

Doris I love the booth idea, and in fact when I lived in my condo in Michigan, I had always planned on doing a booth in our eat in kitchen. Alas, I moved to Texas and got what I have now...

Unfortunately, the wall next to the fridge currently is the closet of the little girls' bedroom. That is my problem with the house, and why we won't be staying more than 5 years, it has 3 bedrooms, and the first two in that hall are the girls' bedroom and they are each 9x9. I've tried to convince my DH to build a new garage, turn the garage into an extended living room and another bedroom and knock out that wall to extend the kitchen, but he won't agree. My other thought was with moving the fridge across to the right side, was that i could put a corner cabinet where it currently is and extend the cabinets along that small wall, just not have them that deep, so I'd still have some cabinets/storage area, and a small working area. I'm beginning to realize that yes, I think I need a kitchen designer planner.

I have not actually talked to DH about the cabinet maker other than when he mentioned that he knew this guy and they had agreed to swap services. Would he have the know how to actually help us with the design, or I'm wondering if he's more of the "I take dimensions and orders, but that's all I can do when it comes to the actual design portion." I have time off tomorrow afternoon, I think I'll make a trip to the local kitchen place and talk to someone a bit, put some feelers out there.

Thanks all for our input, I really appreciate it. Its great to have people to bounce ideas off of and get differing perspectives that you may not have thought about. This process will also help me for when we do get ready to build the house that we plan, knowing what to do and look for.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2003
In reply to: arryl
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 6:09pm

I've seen that arrangement where smaller cabinetsa re inserted above the regular ones --- on a television design show, in fact (I think it was Ask Genevieve). Again, a lot depends on ceiling height --- you don't want to compress that space above your counters.

OK, fridge movement seems AOK --- I was worried about bringing plumbing across the kitchen for water. And the small counter between the two is a good idea --- just check and make sure that your local code allows...

The cabinet maker we dealt with was more "Give me the plan, I'll build what you want." Maybe you can get some ideas from your local big box store... but I still think you'd have better luck with a designer who specializes in kitchens...

We have butcher block in our one house in CA --- loved it and it really wasn't that much work to keep up. I had the carpenter chisel out a 16" square by the stove and the tile man (who did the backsplash) set four backsplash tiles in the square to serve as a permanent hot plate so the counter doesn't get scorched by hot pans! Anyway, IMO, wood warms up a space much more than stone ... but if you are going for resale, granite (or equivalent) seems to be the preferences of current buyers.

I like the idea of a booth as well. If you have room, it could work.

Come back often and bounce ideas as much as you like, Doris and I like to talk remodel!



CL for

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
In reply to: arryl
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 9:37am

Carol, I really like the idea of the hotplate "tiles" in the butcher block. The other thing I thought was possibly doing one of the smaller portions of countertop as granite, that way it would cut down on the cost also. I know granite is preferred for resale. I know for our neighborhood, the houses were built in the mid-90's, but from what I've seen, unless any have recently upgraded significantly, all the kitchens are pretty much the factory grade kitchens with the laminate countertops. So I am not too worried about us being "below market" when it comes to upgrades. Really, at this point, all I'd like when we move in 5 years is to get the price we paid for the house originally or maybe a little extra to cover realtor fees. But I do want the house to look nice and be functional for us while we live in it.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2010
In reply to: arryl
Sat, 07-31-2010 - 10:41am
Designers are overrated. Go to a local cabinet store or check out the internet for design options. There are infinite resources online. Save the money.





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Edited 7/31/2010 10:44 am ET by clickshopnrun
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