After we decided it was the time to begin this renovation, our next step was to get a structural engineer to come look at our house and confirm that the walls we wanted to come down will come down. We had two separate contractors say that all the walls could come down but I didn’t trust them for some reason. So we called up a structural engineer (family friend of Andy’s) and he came and confirmed that yes, all our walls can safely come down without the roof toppling in on us.
So now that we knew our dimensions of the kitchen, sketch time between Andy and I started. We had so many sketches between the two of us. Trying to think about different aspects of what we want in a kitchen coupled with what we knew would be our challenges.
A few challenges we knew about before we even started.
- Our house is a single story house built on concrete slab. We don’t have a basement. Since we were planning on getting rid of all of our walls, electric had to be run from the ceiling down. Not a real big deal, except that we wanted an island. So that required research as to how to get electric to an island or just contemplating if that was even necessary to have electric to an island.
- Another issue is that all the plumbing and drains are in our concrete slab. Therefore, it would take $$$ to move the sink and sink drain so early on we decided that the sink and dishwasher had to stay put.
- Not so much an issue but something we had to think about was our windows. We currently have a window above our sink. However, in our dining room, there was a window that extended well below cabinet height. Again, it could be replaced with a shorter window but that would also cost $$$ and we did establish a budget for the entire renovation so it was something to consider.
So basically we sketched out many different ideas. It was pretty easy to determine the flow of the kitchen as all our sketches had to start with the sink and dishwasher where they were.
This was my sketch on the main wall. Andy and I were pretty much in agreement with everything on this wall. It was a pretty simple wall to determine since the sink and dishwasher couldn’t shift. I also knew I wanted the range and range hood to be the focal point and be spaced evenly between our two windows. This was the easiest wall to sketch and agree on.
We decided we wanted our kitchen to wrap around on the other exterior wall, mainly because the wall with the windows was not large enough for a refrigerator. And here is where all our disagreements came into play. Andy wanted the refrigerator smack dab in the middle with uppers and lowers on either side. I wanted some pantry cabinets. Here are all of our sketches (rough ones I’d say) of what we envisioned for that wall. I also liked the idea of putting a desk in the corner. There were so many ways to dream up this wall as it was literally a blank canvas, no windows or floor vents in our way.
This first sketch has a cabinet pantry on either side of the fridge and a floating desk to the right.
And yet another pantry option, except this one doesn’t have the desk to the right, it has cabinets and countertop space. One idea that we really liked was including a bar refrigerator in our kitchen for all our bottled drinks. So the desk got the boot and we turned this into a little bar/coffee area. Yet in the sketch below, the left side was very cabinet heavy.
I gave up my pantry cabinetry on the left and we came up with a compromising pantry solution. The images below are our final sketches from the Lowe’s designer. If you ever do a kitchen renovation, I highly recommend sketching out your vision before you go (and talk about it with your significant other before hand). After your first appointment and sketches with the designer, I then highly recommend taking those designs home, review them and contemplate them before ordering. We made several minor tweaks during our second design session.
Below is our first design that we made. A few things we noticed.
- The corner upper cabinet would be a little difficult to access based on it’s position. We wanted to go back to the drawing board and put in a corner upper cabinet, one with the door that faces outward, for easier access.
- The island was pretty skinny. Currently in this sketch, it is 8 feet long but only 3 feet wide. Once our walls were down, we realized we had a lot more space to play with. We wanted to make this island wider. So we went back the next day and added 12″ deep cabinets (normal base cabinets are 24″ deep) on the opposite side (where the chairs are) and decided to wrap the island with half walls (a knee wall). This would expand our island to be 9 feet by 4 feet. A pretty awesome size.
- We still didn’t have a spot for a microwave. At this point of the drawing, we decided we wouldn’t run electric to the island based on cost. Spoiler alert, we did run electric to the island so looking back, I wish we would have made a decision prior to ordering these cabinets as we would have put the microwave in the island.
So we went back to Lowe’s the next day and made some edits. Here is our final kitchen.
Next up, demo.