May 10, 2009

The Kitchen

This house stood vacant for several years and is in need of a good cleaning. I decided to start that with the kitchen.

The kitchen is the room most in need of major renovation, though that probably won't be until sometime next year. Here's a clockwise 360 degree look at what we've got to work with...

Kitchen sink & the only counter space!For a start, this is all I've got for counter space (which extends only about a foot to the left of the dishwasher). The sink is a farmhouse style, single large basin. The cabinets must have been hand made, because each drawer will only fit into one slot. The floor is ceramic tile. The dishwasher will go, because I never use a dishwasher.

Not a good set-up for the work triangle.The cabinets above the stove are a little strange. I can reach the bottom of the three shelves from the floor, but the top two require a stepladder and the part over the frig is nearly impossible to reach! On top of that, all the ceilings in the house are nine feet.

Swinging door leads to a formal dining room.This swinging door leads into the dining room. The picture on the wall is an interesting feature; I'll show that to you in just a moment.

This inside corner cuts a good chunk out of the kitchen.The door on the left goes into the dining room, the one on the right leads out to an enclosed porch which also serves as the laundry room. On the ceiling, you can see one beam, and also a post on the extreme right of the photo. You can see it's relationship to the rest of the room in the photo below...

Lots of shelves inside.You get a glimpse of the back porch through the door. The built-in cabinets are shallow, only about ten inches deep.

The only usable wall space has a vertical beam bumping out from it.Moving a little more the the right, this is the same window as in the previous photo. That's a phone cord hanging over a nail. The nail is on a pseudo vertical beam, which doesn't appear functional. It certainly isn't load-bearing. Mostly it just seems to be in the way as I can't put anything flush against the wall because of it. The previous owners had a small round kitchen table and chairs against the wall there.

There are several French doors in the house.The French door leads to an addition to the house, though we don't know when that was done. It contains a fairly good size room which could be used as a study, a second bathroom, and the pantry. Photos for that later.

This is the quaint wall hanging I mentioned I'd show you ...

They didn't take this because it's attached to the wall.It is actually hinged....

Convenient, clever place for keys.A pretty nifty place for keys! All of these were left with the house and none of them appear to be functional.

On another note, you can see from these closeups that the kitchen walls are beadboard,

The entire kitchen is paneled with beadboard.... as is the ceiling.

My challenge now is to design a functional kitchen that meets our needs. This will be the first major indoor project we will tackle, after a few exterior structural projects this summer. In the meantime, this will give me a chance to live with this space, identify current problems with the floor space, doors, and windows, and develop a plan for a workspace I can live with.

[UPDATE: To see what we did with the kitchen, click here.]


Theresa said...

Yahoo! Yep, comments working!
BTW, I love the picture key rack. I've seen these off and on through the years and I wonder if they were homemade or manufactured. Anyway, it's sweet and you never know, you might discover one of those keys works on something...somewhere.

Life Looms Large said...

Yay - now we have an official place to talk about your house!!!!

Congrats & keep up the good work!!!


bspinner said...

Aren't old house interesting? Not to mention challenging. I'm sure when you're finished fixing it up the kitchen will be great. Love the key box. I've never seen anything like that before.

Dorothy said...

There is something really exciting about an empty house!

The kitchen will be a challenge. My grandad built my grandma a kitchen in a similar sized room that depended on every cupboard & shelf handmade to give maximum use of the space, modern units with their standard sized boxes don't do the job half as well. BTW she had a traditional kitchen table to give working space as she only had about 6 foot length of counter top.

I wonder if the stove might have stood where the fridge is now, and a smaller fridge under the cupboards?

Woolly Bits said...

I find it very interesting to look into other people's houses - you wonder how they worked in there! I agree that it's best to try to live in rooms to make out how to set them up best for your own living! I envy you the high ceiling though - I wish I had a bit more headroom in our cottage (having been used to 12 feet ceilings in germany!) and I'd probably hang up loads of stuff on the "pillar" beam:)) right now it looks a bit like an empty canvas - all white and waiting for your own touch!

Julie said...

What a great house, I love all the beadboard you can pay alot of money for that. Your doors are just like the ones I put in my house and so are the lights. It looks to me like all you need is a new floor and new cabints and some color on those walls.

Janet said...

It's fun to read your new blog as we get ready for our move to Seattle where we are buying our son's house 10 year old house.

Janet in Dublin

Peg in South Carolina said...

Thank you for showing us the kitchen area. I'd think carefully about removing the dishwsher. New dishwashers actually use less water than hand washing, especially if you wait until they are full to run them through a wash cycle. You might research this angle and see what you learn.
The shallow cabinets I suspect were pantry cabinets. They need to be shallow or you fight your way to the back to find things (ask me how I know!).
A weaving room?????
The ideal thing would be to get the kitchen remodeled before you actually moved in.

Leigh said...

Peg, I agree, it would be wonderful to re-do the kitchen before moving in. That's not possible unfortunately. Actually, although the "bones" of the house are good, it needs a lot of work. Our first big project will be a new roof. I think you're correct about those shallow cabinets being a pantry, originally. The previous owners added a pantry off of the kitchen, so only dishes and glassware were stored in those cabinets when we first looked at the house.

Dot, I wonder about the original configuration of the kitchen too. As it is, it doesn't seem very well thought out, but if it suited the previous owner, then it was good enough for them. I'm continually contemplating those three doors and the traffic patterns through that area, as well as the "work triangle" kitchen designers make much ado about.

Jewel, I thought the same thing about color on the walls. I was a little dismayed to see so many "country" kitchens in design books all in white. At the moment I'm thinking about possibly switching to natural wood cabinetry. My dishes are Blue Willow, so I will add blue too, to offset all that white. It does make the room light however.

Peg, I haven't used a dishwasher in over 16 years. So besides being out of the habit, I'm at the point where I just don't have enough dishes in a day (especially when DH is on the road) to justify using one. Nor do I own enough dishes to keep using them until I can fill the dishwasher! Water conservation aside, there are other things I'd rather spend the money on.

Janet, I didn't know you were moving back to the States! That's great!

Trapunto said...

I love the swinging door and your high ceilings! Those will help keep you cool in summer. It may be a blessing in disguise that you are going to move in before you re-do the kitchen. Before we moved I had some ideas about how the kitchen we are living in would have to be reconfigured to be functional, but now that I've been using it every day for a couple of months, discovering new and different inconveniences from the ones I expected (and visualizing how my altered kitchen would function), I've come on some much cleverer fixes that would actually be less work than my first plans.