Kitchen: The Plan

I realize I’ve never actually showed you guys the plan for my kitchen. I never really wrote it down. It’s just floated around in my head

I suppose this is a good thing because, as the renovation has progressed, there’s been about 3 significant design changes switching cabinets around. I’m pretty excited with where the design ended up.

Here’s the kitchen back before demo.


In May of 2012. That’s right folks. This kitchen projects started June of 2012. TWENTY-TWELVE, folks.

I’m just gonna let that sink in for a few moments.

Yeah… Lets hope we don’t actually hit the 2 year mark when it comes to finishing the project.

So the plan. The one long wall will remain the main wall of the kitchen.

Kitchen plan

Sink > Dishwasher > Stove > 15″ base cab > Fridge

I originally had planned to have a bunch of upper cabinets on that wall. That included a 24″ cabinet over the dishwasher and another 30 or 36″ upper above the sink. But, during demo, I uncovered the original brick and loved it. (Duh. What’s not to love?)

Keeping the brick changed the design a little bit but something have remained the same. The kitchen will be a mix of custom, IKEA, and customized IKEA. In such a compact kitchen, I cannot afford to waste a single inch of space. It’s very much like designing for a ship or RV. I am until utilizing every nook & cranny and, in a lot of case, custom building stuff to fit the space.

It’s slow going as neither my dad (my reno angel & partner) or I are cabinet makers. We are set builders. Well, we’re not really set builders either but it is in our background. I went to school for theatre and built my fair share of sets during undergrad. Dad spent several years building the sets for my old high school’s productions. This space will look like a kitchen. It will function as a kitchen. But it is probably not going to be built like most people would build a kitchen. Especially not people who actually build kitchens for a living. Doing things our own special way has allowed us to squeeze out inches most people, would have given up. It’s also taking a long time. I guess you can tell where my priorities are.

Back to the main wall layout. Fridge & storage above & to the right of it are at the far end of the kitchen. The fridge is over as far right as it will possibly go, as there is plumbing in the back right corner. The storage above & to the right are completely custom.

The wall to the left side of the fridge goes floor to ceiling and boxes in the fridge. It also provides a great starting point for the rest of the main wall. The bottom is pretty much the same setup as the original kitchen (sink > dishwasher > stove) but my adjusting the plumbing and going from a 30″ fridge to a 24″ on meant I could squeeze in a 15″ base cabinet. Going from 0 base cabinets to 1 is HUGE for me. I cannot wait to have a place to store all my cooking utensils that’s actually near where I’ll be using them.

Along the very top of this main wall will be a set of 15″h x 36″w x 24″ deep upper cabinets. The doors on all 3 sets will be from IKEA but I’ll only use the cabinet boxes for 2 of them. The third (and farthest left) cabinet box will be custom made so that it is actually wider than 36″. By making it wider, I can utilize the space in the blind, so that isn’t lost.

These rather short (15″h) but super deep (24″d) cabinets will look almost like a soffit. Obviously they’re way too high to be practical for everyday use but its perfect for things like my party beverage tubs and other special occasion items.

Under the soffit cabs, above the 15″ base will be a 15″w x 39″h upper (thinking spices, oils, etc. but we shall see). Above the stove will be a chimney style range hood. Above the dishwasher will be an open shelf.

This shelf, to be specific –


It’s a rack from an old New South Railways train car. I know it’s hugely popular right now but I’m not a huge fan of lots of open shelving. I think it’s generally impractical and annoying to keep clean and uncluttered. (Commence blogger stoning/shunning)

This rack was too cool to pass up (thanks, eBay) and I think I can manage keeping 1 open shelf presentable. I think. No promises.

Then there’s the sink. Nothing on the wall in front of the sink. Just gorgeous old brick.

Finally, a little blind immediately to the left of the sink. You can see it here, on the left –


It’s about 15″ deep. I was a little befuddled about what to with that blind in my original design. To keep the maximum amount of brick showing, the 24″ cabinet that was originally going above the dishwasher will rotate 90 degrees and hang on the side of the blind. A single door on the cabinet will open onto the brick wall. The blind is deep enough that you won’t see this upper at all when you look straight on at the main kitchen wall.

The other upper cabinet will get made up on the opposite side of the room. The mantel side of the room is what I consider “the dining room”. Sure. The whole thing is just one big (relatively speaking) room but I like have a kitchen & a dining room, so I differentiate between the two. Semantics, I suppose.

Anyway. On the mantel wall –


To the right side of the mantel is a closet that will be used as a pantry. It’s been completely gutted, so add that to the list. The left side of the mantel is about 48″ wide, wall-to-wall. The width of the baseboards and the radiator in front of the window makes it impossible to actually put a 48″ wide bank of cabinets but I can get 36″ centered on the wall and build it in with nooks on either side. I’ll hang a 36″w x 39″h upper cabinet on the wall above it.

This built-in set of upper & base cabinets will get topped with the same counter as the rest of the kitchen and provide additional buffet/serving space.

The third zone of the kitchen is the nook, between the arch to the front hallway and the pocket doors to the living room. While about 26″ wide, it’s not 24″ deep. Luckily, I can it a base cabinet down to make it shallow enough to fit. A 24″ upper hangs on the wall above it with the microwave hanging off the bottom.

The fourth zone of the kitchen will be a rolling island but I don’t quite have that figured out yet. The plan is to get these 3 areas in, finished, and the pantry built out. Then I’ll reassess my storage & counter needs. I anticipate need more counter space to prep on and who couldn’t use more storage? 24″ is a bit deep for an island, given everything else going on in here (dining room table, the fact that the house is only 18′ wide to begin with, etc). 18″ might be perfect but we’ll just have to see when everything else gets finished. I’m staying open to possibilities and options for the island.

So that’s the plan! Hopefully there won’t be any more design changes but you never know.

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6 Responses to Kitchen: The Plan

  1. Welcome back! It sounds like a great plan, and I look forward to seeing it progress.

  2. Mary says:

    Sounds fantastic. I’m updating my kitchen this year, too. If it makes you feel better, I started
    a full 9 years ago when I tried to paint and the 70 years of paint layers on the sink soffit couldn’t hang on any more and spalled off immediately. I’ve been looking at it ever since. 9 years.
    It’s amazing what you become blind to when you see it every day.

  3. This is going to be lovely and I’m looking forward to following along. I love the shelf and I think you’ll definitely be able to keep it presentable. I have three in my kitchen and it’s nice to have pretty things to display.

  4. Susan says:

    Welcome Back! Can’t wait to see your vision become reality!

  5. I love the shelf, and the layout looks very functional. I like that you’re leaving so much of the brick exposed. As someone who knows long running renovations, don’t worry about the time it takes, just worry about how great it will all look when you’re done. Also, it doesn’t matter how long I will end up working on houses, there’s no way I’ll ever get good at estimating realistic timelines.

  6. guada says:

    So nice to hear from you again!!

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