Monday, June 7, 2010

Architect's Kitchen Plan

I asked The Architects to show me what they would do with the house if it were up to them. I had some ideas of my own, and we did talk about some "must-haves" but I placed very few limitations in terms of layout. I wish I could I show you this animated model that allows me to "walk" through the space to experience what it will look like. It's SO much nicer than a floor plan as you can really get a feel for what it will look like.
So starting here in the living room, looking through the dining room and back into the kitchen...
...the walls have all been opened up. We are standing in the living room, looking through the dining room and back into the kitchen. Off to the right, the first door is a closet which is at the end of the front hall. The second door is the door to a new bathroom that sits between the dining and kitchen. You can't see it but behind the table is a gas fireplace. If we step to the right of the table and toward the new kitchen... is that door to the new bathroom on the right. On the left is the door to the back porch.
Here's a photo of the present kitchen. The wall where the sink is will be removed so the pantry and bathroom...
...become part of the new kitchen space.
The beams have been left exposed (love that) and three new windows (love that too but I would make them bigger) have been added above the sink to the wall where the stove is presently. A new 36" range (love, love, love) is on the back wall with a range hood over it.
Here is a closer look at the sink wall. The three upper cabinets on the left are where the bathroom is presently. My first reaction is that the dishwasher is on the wrong side. Shouldn't it be closest to the cabinets where dishes will be put away? To the right of the windows is the microwave at counter height, tucked out of sight (which I like), and a few shelves above are for display or cookbooks. And to right of that is the cabinet depth refrigerator.
As we turn around, you can see the dining area and a new laundry room. If this seems large, it's because they've enclosed the porch and integrated it into the new kitchen space. I love the idea of having the laundry room out of the basement, and the windows in the dining area overlooking my little garden would provide a great place to sit and enjoy meals. But I no longer have a back porch which I'm not sure I can give up.
Just for a point of reference, here is the back door that I showed you in the kitchen facelift post.
That back door is just on the other side of the center island so you can see how the back porch space has been captured to create the dining area. While it seems like a huge improvement to the kitchen, I wonder if it's too nice, too modern of a kitchen for an old cottage.

And while the dining area and laundry room are a nice addition to the room, I'm giving up a back porch. And let's take a look at how that will look from the outside.
Here's the front of the house in the same interactive model. Let's a walk around the side of the house.
Here is what the enclosed porches would look like. It adds a lot of mass to the house.
This is what that looks like right now.
The new space added to the kitchen (and to the master bedroom above) is separated from the front of the house by the two-story entryway to the back door. I'm not convinced that giving up the back porch is the best choice for the house.
Here's one more view looking straight into the back door entryway. What do you think?


  1. What a great post.

    I think you would miss your back porch. Instead of enclosing it - could your add french doors that open up to include the porch (dining area) into the kitchen?

  2. Where to begin...I really like that your kitchen has some character, and you could probably add more rather easily. I'm not a big fan of contemporary design, although I do like the range, but would add a hood in a style more in keeping with the style and attitude of your home. I also agree with Central Bark Design about the porch wall. I have french doors we just put in when we replaced windows, and there's nothing like throwing them both open when the weather is gorgeous, and they make for great flow when entertaining. Personally, there is no way I'd lose the porch off the kitchen. The porch enclosure makes the outside look really contemporary also, wonder if that would fly with the historical guidelines. Maybe enclosing just the one off the bedroom? How practical/functional is the fireplace in the dining room where they placed it? I'd rather give up the closet and put the fireplace there. I'd think about storage where they were originally putting the fireplace. I do like how they opened up the LR/DR. I also agree about the bigger windows in the kitchen, I don't think you can ever have too much natural light. Sorry this is so long, and I certainly hope I didn't step on any toes!

  3. I love your back porch the way it is now. The layout is lovely though. How do you feel about all the open space from the living room through to the kitchen?

  4. hi steve,

    i know you might not like what i have to say, but remember you asked!

    i think it's too modern for such an old charming house. i LOVE your house and it's loaded with charm that took over a hundred years to get. why wipe it out? unless of course you really love a much more modern look. in which case i say go for it. is there any way some of the ideas that you love, windows, new range, etc. can be incorporated into the existing design? i would cry if you lost your porch. and of course you know i'm a complete amatuer and have no architectural design education at all. so that's my opinion, aren't you glad you asked!


  5. Since we are all throwing advise around. I say lose a cabinet, so you can get the sink lined up with the center window. Ok, I'll keep my mouth shut.

  6. First, I'm totally impressed with the interactive program...what a huge help when trying to make decisions. It's much easier now to understand where you're going with renovations.
    Second, since you've asked - personally, I think this plan is too modern. Your home has so much character, inside and out, and I see too much of it being lost. It doesn't have the feel of an original G.R. home anymore. Absolutely I would not get rid of the back porch - I would do like the others said and keep it and put in french doors. You'd have a lot more light, still have your porch and it would be a fabulous place to use for morning coffee or when entertaining.
    I agree with Kevin - the sink needs to be centered in the middle window and yes, the dishwasher needs to be moved to the other side. The kitchen plans are very modern looking to me. Maybe if you used more vintage looking cabinets or incorporated an antique piece of furniture for storage/butcher block something. But I love all the new windows.
    I also love the openess of the FR and DR. with the columns - I think that's a smart idea and it would make such a difference in how you live and use that room. It would look great as a dining room/library, especially with the fireplace.
    Not so sure about having a bathroom right there in the dining room and kitchen. If it were me, I would skip that bathroom all together. Is there another place it could be relocated to?
    I love all the windows, the light, openness just make sure you don't lose the historical integrity of the house.
    I really love your home and what you've done to it so far ~ I'm curious as to what your thoughts are of these plans?

  7. Yes, I agree with so many others: keep the porch!

    Maybe you could eliminate the island and instead use a rectangular table and four chairs in its place. It seems that the kitchen would have adequate counter space without the island.

    Many kitchens with limited space do have an island with stools. But it's hard to make eye contact when two people are sitting on stools and are facing the same direction. That's why a table works better for conversation than would an island with stools.

    As far as the dishwasher placement goes, it seems that dishwashers are often to the right of the sink so that right-handers can easily move dishes from sink to dishwasher. But it would make sense to have the dishwasher to the left of the sink, closer to the cabinets where dishes would be stored.

    And for the cabinets, I would love to see you use cabinets similar to those that Janet of "The Gardener's Cottage" had built for her kitchen. In my mind, they're the perfect design for an old-house kitchen.

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments. I probably should have pointed out the model is more about placement of all of the components than style. The island, for example, could be an old farm table or custom piece with a marble top. The possibilities are endless. I also think it looks too modern mainly because the continuous L-shaped countertop which upper and lower cabinets is what most people seem to strive for. I'm hoping to find some old painted cabinet to break that up. I'm not inclined to close in the porch either. It's a space I greatly enjoy and I have some ideas for overhauling it that will make it a much more beautiful space.

    I wasn't sure what kind of response the plan would get and I appreciate getting such candid feedback.

  9. I agree with everybody who commented on this one. Of course it is a matter of how you dress up the house, in the end, but opening up all the walls inside... Might as well move to a modern high rise apartment. You can't have it all, you know...

  10. What a wonderful old house, would just love it the way it is and not change anything that would affect it's character. The porch looks so inviting and restful. I would not give that up!



  11. I just found your blog and enjoyed the tour of the architects drawings. I think it would depend on how much of a garden you would be left with at the back if I would mind losing the porch. The only other thing I noticed is that in the kitchen I think I would put open shelves to the left of the windows to keep it nice and open looking.

  12. Don't give up the porch. Ann

  13. better late than never!!! i don't know what you decided, but i am for preserving the porch as it seems to be your only outdoor chillin' space/mudroom/woodworking shop/potting shed/cat currying stable. enclosing it adds another eating space -- and you already have that in the DR.
    i'm loving this, started at the beginning and reading all the way thru.