I am doing the One Room Challenge. I found out about it towards the end this spring, and was sad that I wasn't quite ready to transform a room in six weeks! But I've been planning and designing and I'm going to dive right in and makeover my new kitchen!
Six weeks is a really tight window for a big project like a kitchen, so I've got my fingers crossed that we don't run into any big hiccups along the way and can show an amazing finished product at the end!
Lest there is any confusion, I want to clarify that this is the kitchen at my old house in Ohio. We bought the house, immediately renovated, lived there in the woods, with the rope swing and the creek and the pool and the peace and quiet for 3 years and then sold it. It was hard and I cried a lot. I still can't look at pictures of this kitchen without feeling sad and homesick for it. But, when opportunity knocks, you invite it in so we headed off on our new adventure to St. Petersburg, FL right before Christmas 2017.
This is my house. It's lovely. It's on the water, a super cute bungalow built in the 50's but recently remodeled. I just didn't have the stomach to take on a huge project right away - I was exhausted and needed to be able to move in and help our family settle in to our new life here.
The interiors needed just a few light touches - paint everything white, change out light fixtures and ceiling fans, that sort of thing. Move our stuff in and call it good.
Except the kitchen.
These are the pictures from the real estate listing. While it's not as awful as a lot of the other kitchens I saw while house hunting, it didn't feel right for this house. At the time, I thought it needed a little refreshing - some new pendants, a new backsplash and hardware to bring it a little more into alignment with the overall architectural style of the house - a mid-century beach bungalow. This kitchen felt too French country.
But after living in it for a few weeks, I realized a few hard truths.
One, the layout is terrible. There are 2 tiny islands which completely jam up the traffic pattern. Also, the dishwasher opens RIGHT IN FRONT of the door to the garage. The cooktop is directly across from the fridge with only like 33 inches in between, which means that one person cannot open the fridge if someone else is cooking. Believe me, we've tried and it's a crazy entanglement of butts, arms, doors and spatulas. The pantry was placed in a spot where the main focal point should be (for the record, that would usually be the range hood!), which is aesthetically jarring. As are the black upright supports that block the windows and interrupt the visual flow. They were put there to get electricity to the island so that they didn't have to tear up the terrazzo floors, but they also make it feel even more closed in and tiny.
While the cabinets and counters were not anything I would have chosen myself, I could have lived with them. But the layout is so important! If a room is not laid out properly, with enough space in between for people to not only move, but not FEEL crowded, than no one wants to spend time in that room! And the kitchen is the heart of the home - we spend so much time there, preparing and serving food, opening mail, chatting and living. Note to anyone considering a new kitchen - if you are not an experienced builder, designer, flipper, etc, just hire a kitchen designer. There are "rules" about distances and clearances and traffic patterns and work triangles for a reason. It's worth the $ to make sure it's done right. It's such a shame when someone spends tens of thousands of dollars on a new kitchen and then never likes to be in there because it's awkward and crowded!
Here are some of the photos that I drew inspiration from. This kitchen needed to feel more modern, lighter, more streamlined, but with the charm and warmth one would find in a beach house.
This is the new layout that we came up with.
We start demo next week! I can't wait to show you the transformation as it happens!