May 23, 2012

Building The Kitchen Peninsula

Original idea for a peninsula
For a larger view of the entire floor plan, click here

The design of my kitchen peninsula has gone through more revisions than Carter has pills, as my grandmother used to say. The final version didn't actually present itself until we were halfway into building it! And here that is, in pictures.

One thing I wanted to incorporate was a small kitchen island we bought over a year ago. This was my starting point ...

Photo taken April 2011 in the "old" kitchen

I liked it because it matched the doors of my two Amish cabinets (pictures in this post, Kitchen Project: Attention To Detail). However it needed to be modified, starting with the wheels we didn't need. Dan removed those and built a base for it...

He also removed the butcher board top, and the knife holder and towel rack on the ends. I changed out the door and drawer pulls.

Top drawer has been temporarily removed

One thing I puzzled over for the longest, was how to best deal with blind corners. For the peninsula, we decided to build shelves from the corner base cabinet, across to the back of that former island.

Shelves were then built onto the end of the peninsula.

Next he started on the countertop.

Once this was cut to size, it was time to cut and glue on the laminate.

We opted for inexpensive laminate countertops rather than granite, to stretch our kitchen budget dollars. We saved more by not special ordering, but by buying store stock. We got a molded laminate counter for the sink wall, and a matching 4x8 foot sheet for the peninsula. We had to make this ourselves, because of the size I wanted, 36" wide.

The sheet was cut a little larger than the base and glued on with contact cement. With no proper workshop, most projects get done in whatever space is available. This project was accomplished in the dining room. And of course one has to purchase special tools for the job.

Gluing on the laminate

Dan used his router to trim it to size (that job outside :), and we secured it in place.

Countertop in place

Usually strips of the same laminate are glued to the edges to finish them off. We decided to trim the edges with a wood trim, stained and polyed to match the Amish cabinets and the floor.

Trim for countertop edging.

The finished size is of the peninsula is 52" x 36". It is short enough to give a 48 inch clearance from the front of the wood cookstove, and does not impede foot traffic from the back porch or dining room, to the sink, fridge, or bathroom. The distance between the peninsula and base wall cabinets is 36", which might be considered narrow by some. What it creates for me however, is a u-shaped, kitchen workstation: convenient, efficient, and out of traffic's way. The sink and all of my most used tools and ingredients will be easily accessible.

My newly created kitchen workstation. All I need is a tall stool.

A tall stool will fit underneath, for me to use when I have long hours of cutting, slicing, and chopping to prepare for canning or dehydrating. In my mind the stool was a must, but figuring out where to put it in a small kitchen was a puzzle. Besides resolving that, I think this design was a good solution for the blind corner too.

I don't reckon this is a conventional set-up. Most kitchens are based around the so-called "work triangle," which I think a useless concept (that opinion discussed in the body and comments of this post, I'm Curious About Your Kitchens.) A customized work station makes more sense to me.

Still on the checklist are to finish painting, make an end splash, and install overhead lighting. Other than that, it's already becoming the most used countertop in the kitchen.


Nina said...

I think the peninsula solution will work well. We've talked a fair bit about work triangles here. I've come to the conclusion that it all boils down to who is the end user. My husband likes the size of the work triangle in our kitchen as it works for his style of cooking. I tend to grab a lot of ingredients at once, so I'm no quite so married to it and would prefer a different set up. Since we share the cooking, it's important to both of us.

Mama Pea said...

Totally love the way you are customizing your kitchen to what YOU want and need! I feel I accomplished the same thing in my kitchen and don't care a whip-snip that it might not work for someone else. In all of our remodels, like you, I've also changed things are they are being constructed. I'm a concrete person and even though I may have it all down on paper, actually seeing the pieces as they come together sometimes necessitates change or inspires better ideas.

Thanks so much for continuing to take us along on your journey. Love seeing it!

Sherri B. said...

That is such a great solution for that blind corner that drives so many of us crazy and is such a waste of space...I would say this is 'brilliant'. And so is the stool idea. I can't tell you how many times I've had to take 'heating pad' breaks with the lower back and have envisioned the comfort of a setup that you have brought to life. Like my grandmother would say..."You're one smart cookie"! xo

Donna OShaughnessy said...

When I win the lottery I am building Dan A HUGE workshop. He deserves it. and you get designer of the year! I hate those kitchens with their granite countertops where no one ever actually cooks in them. You have built a whole new Leigh-World.

Leigh said...

Nina, I think you're right about how we use our kitchens. I suppose that's why no one-size-fits-all, which is about the only kind of kitchen put in homes these days! Sounds like both you and your husband work well together.

Mama Pea, I agree! Funny how the ideas in our heads don't always fit with the reality trying to create them. This is actually better than my original plan. Better for me, and was simpler for Dan. :)

Sherri, our grandmother's had the best sayings. :) I figured my back could only take so many hours of standing. I'm excited this worked out so well.

Donna, thanks!!! :) Sadly most people advise to consider resale when remodeling, so keep things generic. The standard here would be an L-shaped cabinet setup. I had one of those and hated it. Perhaps if there'd been room for an island, I would have considered it. My favorite was actually a galley kitchen, which I couldn't recreate here because of the size and shape of the room. This was the best I could do to get that same efficiency.

Woolly Bits said...

I've stopped thinking about my dream kitchen a long time ago - it wouldn't fit my price range and certainly not the kitchen size, would only be a pipe dream anyway.... I am not cooking 24/7 for hundreds of people, only for the three of us plus one dog, so I make do with what I have - and don't care if others don't like it:) let them have their triangle if it makes them happy - and you have the kitchen that makes you happy! I can't stand those "showroom" outfits - I prefer the individualistic ones hands down. I do envy you for your pantry though:))

Renee Nefe said...

Your kitchen is coming out so nice! I'm getting kitchen envy. ;o) Your discussion about kitchen triangles and such got me to thinking about how my kitchen drives me nuts. There's an island in front of the frig that to me is just a road block that collects junk. I like the storage in it, but I think I might like the kitchen better without it. I would also like to lower the counter tops or raise the floor so that the kitchen fits ME! But hubby is against that for resale. I keep asking who he is selling MY house to. :p He is STILL (after being in this house 11 years now) in that military move every 4 years mode.

badgerpendous said...

Wonderful! What a fantastic job by you and yours. I think the wood trim is a neat touch, too. We talked to a kitchen designer years ago and had a great laugh listening to her crazy ideas about what "everyone is doing." Thank goodness we, like you, went our own way.

Anonymous said...

Leigh, I love what you guys are doing! It looks so good, and if it works for you, that is what matters. Bravo!!!

Judy said...

I like how the kitchen is turning out and your creative solutions to your wants and needs. The trim idea is a really nice touch.

I am envious that you have a kitchen sink and cabinets though. LOL We haven't gotten that far in building our house as the money allows.

Carolyn said...

The counter top, cabinets, shelf & island are beautiful! But to be honest, it took met two or three times of looking to STOP looking at the beautiful floors and to look at what you were posting about! :)

Shannon said...

I LOVE the look of your kitchen, so country! The island is so great! How fun, thanks for sharing!

Denise said...

That was a great idea you had about putting those wood strips on the laminate edge. That would work for anyone who has those strips dropping off or missing altogether. I love the shelves. Are you using the shelves on the end for your cookbooks cause that's what I would do. Cant wait to see the finished product!

Sam I Am...... said...

As a cook and a canner and person who has had a variety of kitchens....your design is wonderful! The most efficient kitchen I ever had was a small square one where I just turned and everything was there but unfortunately it didn't have much counter space as you can imagine and the table was in the next room. The next most efficient was a galley with the dining table at the end. It was like a long "U" and I loved it! Plenty of cabinets, counter space and everything was within arms reach. The worst kitchen is the one I have now with all floor space, everything is far from each other, the sink faces a blank Dad built it and he didn't cook nor did he listen to women thus I have a dysfunctional kitchen that resides in a huge room with cupboards on only 2 of the walls...disaster! LOL! Love the color and the countertop too!

Madness, Trouble, Squish and Milkbone said...

This is so cool! I seriously need to hire you and Dan. It is so interesting to see your ideas and then making it reality.

Leigh said...

Bettina, I'm with you on those designer kitchens that serve no function other than to impress guests. I love that you worked with what you have. I think that's what we all ought to do. I'm happy with how mine is turning out, but it isn't what I would have done if I could start from building the house up. :)

Renee, thanks! Would your DH consider a pastry counter? One that is not as tall for the purpose of kneading and rolling out dough and pastry crust? I saw a number of these in photos of upscale kitchens in the design books. Or maybe a desk that could be used as a countertop! Desks in kitchens are all the rage too.

Badgerpendous, good for you two! It's interesting how much people seem to base their own behavior on what others are doing. I reckon that's what "trending" is about. Odd too, considering how we try to teach our kids to not cave in to peer pressure!

Stephanie, thanks! I am so happy with how it's turning out.

Oh Judy, I can so relate. I'm fortunate we thought to put a laundry sink out on the back porch. It's been a blessing, but I hated having only the top of the washing machine for my counter space!

Carolyn, thanks! The floors did turn out well. Any progress on yours?

Shannon, thanks! The style suits us so well. :)

Denise, I got the idea from some desk tops Dan made a number of years ago. It finished them nicely and I love the look. :) My cookbook shelves will actually go above the peninsula! Photos of that soon. :)

Sam, I can so relate! My favorite was a galley kitchen as well. Like you, I love a compact working space, as long as there is plenty of cupboard and counter space. :) I don't know if you've seen our kitchen when we first moved in. Talk about dysfunctional! They guy who built it probably talked with your Dad. :)

MTS&M, well, Dan says he's retiring after this! LOL.

Michelle said...

Very cool! I may be stealing your idea in the future! :-D

trump said...

I really like your counter top and that color Leigh, you guys are doing some job in that kitchen. Richard

Benita said...

You are so lucky to have a handy person like Dan in your life - he does very nice work. I love the trim with the leaf pattern on it. To get a custom built kitchen based on your wants and desires - not some designer's who would never use it - is awesome!

DebbieB said...

I love your customized workstation. I'm tired of seeing people "update" their kitchens with fixtures that are more geared to "resale" than to "personal functionality".

My next house will hopefully be my last house, and I plan to make it work for ME. Thanks for always being inspiring!

Leigh said...

Richard, thanks!

Benita, I agree. I feel so blessed. It's amazing to see it all coming together.

Debbie, thanks! Funny how most folks accept the mold. Yet kitchens are the number one thing people end up remodeling!

caspersmom said...

Leigh, thank you so much for your comment on Casper. Yes, I do remember Rascal, a real sweetie pie. It was really neat when we all started out together but things do change.

I really like what you are doing to your kitchen, especially your work station. My kitchen is a square, if I want to sit down to do things I have to do it in the dining room which is attatched to the kitchen. Thanks again for stopping by.


Tina T-P said...

That is just gorgeous! I'm envious of all the shelves! T.

Theresa said...

It looks marvelous! Can hardly wait to see the final reveal with everything in it's proper place!

Leigh said...

Monice, thank you for stopping by! Again, I'm so sorry about Casper. Sounds like your kitchen is a challenge. I've got basically a square too, with a large alcove for the entrance and a dining nook. Not an easy shape to work with!

Tina, thanks! I admit I'm delighted with the shelves. :)

Theresa, thanks! Are you still on vacation? It's looking like the kitchen may be finished within the next several weeks! Very exciting.

Kristi@LetThisMindBeInYou said...

It looks wonderful, Leigh! I really love that you guys made the custom countertop 36" wide and the work area so it basically wraps around you for long kitchen work days--so handy! You are a lucky girl!

Leigh said...

Kristi, thanks! I am so happy with the wideness of this peninsula. Can't wait to roll out doughnuts or process tomatoes. Can't wait to get the whole thing done!