My Hopes and Dreams for the Kitchen

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  March 27, 2012 — 4 Comments

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, although I’m extremely happy overall with the kitchen we inherited when we bought our home there are lots of little things I’d like to change. And I’m not a picky person. I don’t mind at all the mismatched old and new cabinets–adds character, I say. The biggest beefs I have with this space are functional.

Exhibit A: Why are there no upper cabinets on this side of the kitchen?

I really want to add some attractive storage on either side of the range hood. I was thinking cabinets for a long time, but the more I think about it open shelving seems like an easier option. I could DIY it and easily customize the length to fit the space available. I’m digging the look of these, from Young House Love.

But I think I like the bracket style of these shelves better (from Pure Style Home). And that beadboard is pretty amazing, too.

Also on my list of complaints for this area of the kitchen is the range hood. I like the way the big metal cover looks (although it could use a good scrubbing and a few coats of paint), but the vent inside has seen better days. It doesn’t really even work at all, just makes a bunch of noise. I don’t know how to go about replacing it, though. Do I just buy a new vent and mount it up inside there?

Exhibit B for the case against this kitchen’s lack of function: the lighting. This is the only light fixture in the room. Lots of people come over and oooh and ahhh over the fact that it appears to have been designed to double as a pot rack. The only problem with that is that it hangs smack dab in the middle of the room, as opposed to over a counter or island, and even our nine foot ceilings are not tall enough for us to be able to hang pots from it and still walk underneath. Well, I could walk under it, since I’m only 5′ tall, but anyone closer to Nick’s height would have some serious problems.

The other issue with it is that it is always behind me when I’m working, casting the area in front of me in shadow. I get so sick of prepping meals in shadow. That’s my excuse for why I make Nick do all the cooking these days. I’d like to move it to hang over the section of counter I’m about to talk about in my next point and maybe add recessed lighting spread throughout the room for better lighting overall.

And third in my list of stupid things: this.

I think the official name for it is a pass-through. I hate it. It’s better than having a solid wall there, but not by much. If I had unlimited funds I would call a structural engineer right this minute and get that wall knocked down ASAP. I have dreams of someday opening it up and adding a bar overhang to make it a bona fide breakfast area. Check out my very, very rough mockup below.

Doesn’t it make so much more sense? The kitchen feels bigger already just looking at it. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly the kind of project Nick and I can tackle ourselves over a weekend, or even feel comfortable hiring a handyman to do. We need someone professional to come out and determine if it’s structurally safe to take that wall out and make sure it’s done right. Can’t have the house falling down on our little family. And when I think “professional,” I think, “expensive.” How much would a structural engineer charge for something like this?

So that’s my list of complaints, in order of most simple to remedy to most difficult. What would you do if this were your house? Would you just leave well enough alone, or chip away little by little at turning an okay kitchen into a really nice one? Would you knock out that wall? I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave or rich enough to do it, but a girl can dream.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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4 responses to My Hopes and Dreams for the Kitchen

  1. I’m kind of worried that there is a load bearing beam right there. I’m not sure how you find that out though. If there is it would cost big $ to change the structure!

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap March 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

      I suspect that it may be load bearing as well, hence the need for a structural engineer. I think, though, that the pros may be able to get around it by installing a header. Or, worst case scenario, even a pillar running alongside the doorway would not be so bad if I could open up the rest of the area.

  2. I don’t know about the load bearing beam etc. What is said above is probably right. Get the pro.
    With the lighting, I like light not shadows too. My upper cabinets have a little lip hanging down under the doors. We bought these little strip lights that fit right there. They don’t show and can be individually turned on or wired to turn on at the same time under all cabinets and above the sink. They can be plugged in to outlets or wired into a wall switch as your preference, we have both. It really helps when working in the kitchen at night.

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap March 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

      My parents have lights like that under the cabinets and really love them. I don’t know if it would work well for me though because I only have two upper cabinets and one already has wine racks mounted underneath. But that does give me an idea about maybe installing some temporary lighting above that work surface near the pass-through, which is where the shadows bother me the most.

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