A ridiculous amount of time has passed since my last post. I’m never going to keep up with real time at this rate! But I want to document this whole process, so I’ll keep plugging away. Today’s post will focus mainly on the kitchen design, with a little bit about the breakfast room and great room.
To get you up to speed in real time, as of last weekend here’s where we stand in the build.
We have walls! This picture was taken standing in the backyard on top of a hill of loose dirt that will eventually go away. The garage is on the left, the back of the house on the right. The back section is what I want to talk about today. The family room is the farthest back, then the breakfast room, then the kitchen. And here it is in the floor plan.
In case you’ve lost track in my long absence, here is the whole plan plus a focus on the front section, and here is the area to the right of the stair hall. The stair hall leads to the back hall through the barrel arch that’s just barely showing in the middle at the bottom. From there we can go to the left or right into the kitchen.
Designing the Back Wing
This whole back section, which includes the kitchen, breakfast room, and great room, was designed early on, and didn’t really change much throughout the process (once we settled on this version of the plan – maybe someday I’ll write a post on some of the other versions, because it was a hard choice!). My last house had a wall between the kitchen and the great room, and we didn’t have a breakfast room at all. So I knew I wanted a breakfast room, and I knew I wanted a big open space where we could gather, since we didn’t have that before. These three rooms together serve that requirement nicely. Here’s how it looks in construction.
Here I’m standing in the great room, and you can see the beginnings of what will be a big arched doorway between the great room and the breakfast room. The breakfast room has big french doors on either side, which I’m hoping will catch a nice cross breeze. I contemplated doing the same arched doorway between the breakfast room and the kitchen, but ultimately decided to leave it open. The breakfast room is 10′ x 18′ wide, so plenty of space, but I didn’t want to constrict the traffic flow to the great room at all.
Anyway, on to the kitchen. The kitchen design was laid out early on. I knew I wanted a nice big window over the sink, something that I didn’t have before. I knew I wanted the range and hood to be the focus looking from the great room. And I’m a big lover of symmetry, so that led me to split the entry into two sides of the room. That left the cabinets on the wall opposite the window, which will have the refrigerator on one end, a wall oven on the other end, and food storage cabinets and freezer drawers in between. I’m skipping a pantry closet this time, and choosing to store food in cabinets which will sit above my small appliances. I found in my last house that the depth of a pantry closet didn’t work well for me. I was constantly buying things that I didn’t know I had because they were buried at the back of the shelf. With 12″ deep cabinets I’m hoping that will be less of an issue. Plus, this way the food that I need to prepare a meal sits right above the small appliances that I use to prepare it with. Here’s a screenshot of that wall in SketchUp.
The upper cabinets left and right of the center shelves will hold food. They’re mirrored to reflect light from the window, opposite. This is not an accurate depiction of the cabinet color, which will be more of a creamy white, and I’m not sure what counter material or backsplash tile I’ll have, but you get the idea. The tall cabinet on the right is refrigerator only. The two drawers next to it will hold freezer items. My plan was that this would be where all baking prep and meal prep would take place. We’ll see if it works out that way.
The opposite wall, with the windows, is where the clean up will take place. Big sink, dishwasher, open shelves and under counter drawers for dish and glass storage, as well as a set of refrigerator drawers for storing drinks above, and ice below.
The wall that backs to the back hall has the range. The upper cabinets left and right will hold spices, herbs, oils, etc. The lower drawers will hold utensils, pots and pans, etc, and the cabinets are for baking sheets, cake pans, broiler pans, etc. We pulled the range forward about 5″ and used the space behind for a little shelf to hold more constant use items like salt, pepper, and olive oil.
And, finally, the island. It went through a couple different iterations, before I landed on this one. I wanted it to look like a piece of furniture, which is way harder than it seems like it should be. Anyway, my final version was inspired by this listing on 1stdibs. It remains to be seen how closely I can mimic the finish of those file drawers, but it was easy enough to begin with quarter sawn oak in a simple shaker cabinet front. The problem is, once you add their standard sheen it takes you out of the old furniture realm right back into standard, boring cabinets. So I’m looking into maybe getting them shipped unfinished and having them “dirtied” and waxed on site. We’ll see. But, here’s the design we ended up with. This side of the island will store silverware, placemats, candles, etc.
And this side of the island will have trash at one end and recycling at the other, with lots of food prep stuff in the drawers. That sink is my SketchUp drawing of the Kohler Stages sink, which I’m really excited about. It comes with a cutting board that slides across the top, and has a raised area of the sink at one end for washing chicken and fruits/vegetables. Messy stuff. Oh, and there are also 6 low “mise en place” bowls for all my chopped stuff. Just saying mise en place makes me a fancy chef, right?
I think I’ll end here and talk about more about the appliances, etc in another post, because this one is ridiculously long! Stay tuned.