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PiscesWoman 04-02-2012 05:37 PM

Need help in re-designing tiny 1920's kitchen!
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I'm a newbie to this forum, but I desperately need help in designing my kitchen! I have a galley kitchen, with a door to the outside on one end, a door to the dining room on the other, and one to the basement on a third wall. The first pic is looking into the kitchen from the dining room -- I'm considering tearing down the walls between these rooms so I can have a bigger kitchen. The second pic is of the kitchen counter on the right if you're looking into the kitchen from the dining room. The third pic is taken while standing @ the back wall and looking into the dining room. I'm thinking of knocking out the back wall and putting in a pantry/laundry room (my laundry room is currently there but accessible through another entrance).

I need ideas on what to do if I tear down the wall, and what the layout would be. I'm wanting to move the basement door to empty out into the dining room (you can see it off to the right in the 3rd pic); the stairwell into the basement will be straight as opposed to curved, as it is now (into the kitchen) -- so I'll have that space there available. I also have a small pantry next to the fridge now (it's red and in the 3rd pic) and behind it, the chimney juts out a little into the kitchen space (but the pantry isn't as deep as the fridge is, so it lines up perfectly).

Ideas, anyone?

TarheelTerp 04-02-2012 05:44 PM

Can you punch OUTward?
Expanding your floor space into the side or back yard
will keep you from disturbing a LOT of old stuff.

Disturbing old stuff is never a good thing and never inexpensive.


PiscesWoman 04-02-2012 05:57 PM

Nope...the only access I have from my backyard to my front yard is literally right outside the window in the 2nd pic, via a privacy fence gate. I'm also trying to stay within the current home's footprint...

Janetp 04-02-2012 06:23 PM

It doesn't look like the wall going into the dining area is load bearing, as usually the rule of thumb is load bearing walls are more than 4 inches in width. That doesn't mean it does not help with a load, especially in older homes.
I wish I knew what that area along your fridge that juts out was. What is behind that wall?
AS far as your basement stairs, you need to measure to make sre your staircase won't be too steep once you straighten it out. If you have room at the bottom, that should not be a problem.
If you decide to take the wall out to the dining room ( which I think is best} make sure there is no pipe, ductowrk or electrical in the wall by carefully removing. Don't plow through it like they do on TV. REmove a section at a time.
You could put a penisula from the kitchen to the dining room once the wall is down with some cabinetry underneath. You could use top cabinets that are 12 inches wide if you would want to have extra storage for both rooms. Put them back to back so doors are facing both the kitchen and dinind area and use veneer to clean up the sides. You can build a base to whatever height you want the penisula to be.
Make sure you secure the top portion of the wall you remove for safety sake. If there are pipes or duct work wrapped, be careful, as it most likely will contain abestos. I had a 100 yr old house, and the person who said you can be opening a can of worms could be right. If you love your house and plan to stay and need it to function better or just look better and work better for you, then I say go for it! Just do yourself a favor and price everything out and add 30% if your house is older than 30. THat contingency should do you well. With any luck, you won't need it and can use it for a vacation afterwards!!
Good luck!!
ps- no what you hear...stay away from laminates in the kitchen for flooring. THey do NOT hold up to water well!!
I think that porduct is only good for "show" kitchens. It's not a durable product.
I also suggest you don't go too trendy. Things go out of style too quickly and then it looks dated. Wood is timeless, and so is white for kitchen cabinets. I picked colors for cabinets, granite and flooring when redoing mine that were " nuetral". This allowed me to change my paint colors, table and art work without a hitch and keep my kitchen up to date through the years. It can be a costly adventure, so think wislely when picking your products!

PiscesWoman 04-02-2012 06:42 PM

Ok... (deep breath)
I've talked to a few contractors, and they think the wall between the dining/kitchen IS a load-bearing wall. I know that limits me.

"I wish I knew what that area along your fridge that juts out was. What is behind that wall?" What do you mean? My basement door is next to my fridge, on left side, then you have the fridge with built in shelves on top, then the chimney that juts out a little bit, and the pantry sits in front of the chimney. If you're looking @ the third pic, the cabinet that you see to the near right is a recessed spice cabinet fitted in between the studs; behind that wall is the hallway to the back bedroom, which also contains the laundry room entrance.

I had thought about a peninsula or snackbar where the wall would be removed. But if I straighten out the basement stairs, the door would open right next to the peninsula -- in between the peninsula/counter and the dining room wall.

What about the space where the basement door was, once I move it? In the third pic, you can see that I attached a fold-down wooden table to the wall, for extra space when the basement door is closed. If that wall is removed and the door is moved to the dining room, I leave an open space that looks directly at the side of the fridge...

We really need more prep room. Pic #2 shows ALL of the prep room we have on counters (not including the aforementioned fold-down table). I thought about a butcher block island where the red pantry is, as a dedicated place to prep veggies, since I can't move the fridge over to the right (due to the chimney jutting out)...

And yes, the laminate will be going bye-bye too! I am considering cork or bamboo...

jojoroberts 04-02-2012 07:21 PM

Even if it's load bearing you can widen the doorway. By opening at least you would get a airy feel. It looks really dark the colors seem to suck the light out. I can't live in dark spaces or I get depressed! Even lightning it up would help!

user1007 04-02-2012 11:13 PM

Have you ever thought of working with an architect or even a real interior designer that know a few. Trust me, both will save you money and you will love the experience.

You cannot and should not be allowed to move load bearing structure without drawing and sign offs. You will need permits.

user1007 04-02-2012 11:24 PM


Originally Posted by jojoroberts (Post 890619)
Even if it's load bearing you can widen the doorway.

You did not mean to the post this did you? :no::no::no:
You cannot and should not be able to casually widen door space under direct load bearing structure.

Yes you can make it work. You will need an architect or structural engineer to help though. One may be willing to sign off on drawings for new headers and reinforcement to the basic structure.

PiscesWoman 04-03-2012 10:58 AM

Assuming it is a load bearing wall...what would be my options? I definitely want to open up the kitchen into the dining room.

Janetp 04-04-2012 02:15 AM

So the dark wood door on the right side of your fridge in # 3 in the pantry?
How deep is that? What is below and above that door? From what your'e saying, the chimney is behind it. I know that's a cool, original feature, but if it goes all the way up and down inside of the pantry area, you may be able to gain valuable space for storage there as well.
You need to talk to the building department in the area you would get your permits from. If you know what you're doing, you can submit plans yourself.Why not consider making a pony wall? open the top portion of the wall, put a steel header in for support with a beam on the side coming down along the side where your doorway is now? You CAN remove a load bearing, but it is more difficult for that bears the load of your top floor and/or roof.
You could still add cabinets or shelves to either side of your pony wall, and buy a nice piece of 1/4 plywood to cut, stain or paint and dress up the side, and cap off the ends with corner wood. You can add a countertop of your choice, and make it come out far enough to allow for a few stools.
It does seem a bit dark, but those kinds of things are a person's personal taste. A lot of people are oppossed to painting wood,( I'm included in that group!) but I would consider painting my cabinets white in order to lighten it up in the room. White is a very classic color for a home this age. I love the look of carerra marble with white cabinets in homes of this era, but carrera marble is not the most practical in a kitchen to me, as it has a tendency to stain even if treated regularly.I have always tried to keep in mind the age and flavour of my home when making any changes, but again, those options are up to you. There are so many products out there nowadays.The contertops they make now out of recycled glass are pretty awesome looking, and can add pops of color without overwhelming it with color. I have granite. I cut on it, and I love it! I treat if every 8-10 months as I use my kitchen counters a lot, and I've had them for years and they are great. I looked around and found a great deal and am very happy to have spent the money on them. THree times I changed my mind on the granite color. These are not easy decisions.They cost time and money and energy. All things that are not replaceable.
I would also add puck or pendants if you decide to take down a portion of that wall.
These are not easy decisions. Trust me, I've been there many times. You need to decide how open and airy you can live with and what will make you most happy.We gave up a bedroom alongside our kitchen to expand and I never regretted the decision. I love having the openess to be able to talk with family and friends while I am in the kitchen. For me, it was worth it all in the end. If that is why you chose to do this, I think it is a wise choice and a wise investment. At the end of day, it's YOU in there.
You may want to talk a realtor in you area about your ideas and they will be able to tell you if and how much it can increase the value of your home.He or she may also know people locally who can assist you with this project.
Keep us posted!!:thumbup:

jojoroberts 04-04-2012 05:35 AM

Drawings, architects, interior designers? Eek. Google your options, go to hgtv for example. You can put a header in if removing a doorway. Geez. If you have seen any amount of DIY thats one of the first things they look at is opening up rooms, because they want the open floor plan. And yes they consult a licensed contractor but a architect, drawings etc. most of us do not have that extra expense in our budget.

user1007 04-04-2012 09:58 AM

The expense has to be in your budget.

Unless working under cover of darkness, you cannot change central structure anywhere I have lived without drawings, signoffs and inspections. I worked with architects and structural engineers all the time. I don't remember paying more than I would any other people part of the project. And they showed up on my jobsites.

You cannot simply remove a beam, or sister it in the middle of something load bearing and header a door because you want one on structure holding your house up.:no:

What dangerous nonsense you suggest. :huh:

Do not get me started on HGTV type shows. I have been banned from watching Design on Dime. And the chick that paints in heels making houses look nice for sale? Really scares me even if she was Miss Canada once or something. Nobody I know paints in heels.

PiscesWoman 04-04-2012 10:22 AM

Janetp -- the dark red wood on the right side of the fridge is my pantry, and I'd say it is about 1ft deep. The chimney is behind the freestanding pantry, and runs up and down the entire length of the wall.

I'm going to have to look into this pony wall -- I've never heard of it! Do you mean a half wall? Leave the door as is and put in, like a snack bar or something like that? I could make the countertop higher in the kitchen to accommodate work space, and lower on the bottom portion in the dining room for some stools and cabinet space underneath. However, guests would still be looking at the side of the fridge when sitting at the counter. I'd also like to have some more room next to the fridge so I can get a bigger fridge.

As far as the color goes...I've painted the cabinets a light cream, and painted the backsplash a shiny yellow/orange, but I'm still unsure about that. I DO want to get granite or butcher block countertops anyway, but not sure what to do about backsplash. If I get granite, I'd just extend the granite as the backsplash, creating a seamless transition.

I've got plans to add lighting SOON -- the weekend after Easter, actually. I am putting in a light @ the backdoor, matching the current light (both stained glass semi-flush lights). Then I'm putting a recessed light over the sink, and a long, skinny, pendant light over where the new island will be (i.e., where the red pantry is in the pic -- now it is cream colored :) )


jojoroberts 04-04-2012 05:46 PM

Sdsester! I'm glad you have professional experience with all this! Im sure your plans have worked very well for you.

Good luck on the redo it will be fantastic when your finished and the process itself is part of the fun of DIY!

Two Knots 04-04-2012 06:31 PM

Is that back wall straight ahead an outside wall?

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