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Monday, January 16, 2023

The Struggle is Real: What We're Learning about Kitchen Design

The Struggle is Real: What We're Learning about Kitchen Design

Discover the main difficulties home owners are facing in kitchen design, and how to use these learnings in your own space. 

Designing a kitchen is no easy task, and more and more people are struggling with how to make the most of their kitchen space. From figuring out where to put kitchen appliances to choosing the right materials and finishes, there are many decisions that need to be made when designing a kitchen. We'll explore the biggest issues home owners face when designing their kitchens, as well as tips on how to use these learnings in your own space.

Digs Digs

I took a little break last week.  I really needed some down time and a chance to breathe after the holidays.  We worked on getting Christmas packed up and thought about kitchen design issues... 

Do you recall us discussing unfitted kitchens before?  Well, it is my absolute dream to have one.  I mean, this keeps me up at night, I scroll through ideas on the internet, I dream up my own ideas, I think about it so often, I can see it in my mind's eye, but here lately it is looking a bit murky.  I can no longer see the perfect silhouette of that perfectly imperfect kitchen in my mind.  

One would think with the amount of time I have lived in this home, I could have a design plan for our kitchen.  Oh, I have... it is ever changing and evolving all of the time.  If you take a look below, you will see there are some obstacles we have in our way.  

Excuse my handwriting, although I do have horrible handwriting, writing with a mouse is kind of difficult too!  Little known fact about me, a client once told me I write like a young boy... no loops in this gal's writing like some women tend to do, I kind of write scribbly if you can imagine that.  Oh, and I interchange print and cursive within the same word, so you Freudians can decipher that one too.  It has gotten worse as I have gotten older, but kitchens are a calling us and we must keep going, and carry that torch to the final destination.  

If you are searching for software to use that is free to design a space in your home, you can take a look at Smart Draw.   I stumbled upon their site the other day and thought what a great way to get some thoughts to paper as they say.  This is not a paid post promoting their site, I just used their software, thought it was simple to use, and decided I would share since it is so difficult to locate free software these days where you can see how your design layout will look.

Their software reminded me of days staking jobs, and as built's in a previous life.  Not sure what I am referencing?  That is okay, I just began reminiscing the days of staking subdivision lots for power is all.  Those subdivisions were my baby, and I loved working with each and every builder from start to finish getting power to their homes, but I digress... yet again. 

You can see I had some fun using their software, which was very easy to use might I add, just click and drag, input your measurements, and viola, you have your room design.  

Taking Measurements for Your Kitchen Space 

When it comes to kitchen design, proper measurements are essential. Taking the time to accurately measure your space before you make any decisions is important because it will give you an accurate idea of what can be achieved in your kitchen.

Measure the length and width of each wall, consider where windows and doors are located, and make use of measuring tools such as a laser measuring tape or a ruler. Making sure your measurements are precise will help ensure that all cabinets and appliances will fit in their designated spots.

Creating a Functional and Stylish Layout 

After carefully measuring your kitchen, it is time to start designing a layout that is both stylish and functional. Consider the triangle principle when deciding where all the appliances will go, as it encourages efficient workflows in the kitchen.

The principle states that all the most-used items (sink, stove, refrigerator) should be placed equidistant from one another in an imaginary triangle - this will allow you to move between all three with minimal effort. Proper placement of cabinets, countertops and electrical outlets must also be taken into consideration during the design process.

I began moving items around, how I see certain items being in our kitchen when we start this renovation.  The current kitchen was a remodel project I would say took place in the late 1980's.  If you have followed along with us, then you would know about how when we removed the wallpaper, there were things left behind for us to find so we knew when it took place.   

When we designed and made the built in cabinet, we left a piece of us behind too in case the built in is ever removed.  I love those special touches left behind by previous owners.  It is like you get to know them on a personal level a bit and know what they were thinking that day when they made a change to their home.  

The sink and dishwasher are currently in our peninsula which is getting the axe when we begin our big project.  Walking around the peninsula when I need to get something out of the fridge then back around to the stove and sink gets my steps in, but is not very conducive to cooking a meal in a timely manner, especially if you are me, and you tend to make up a recipe as you go and make multiple trips round the peninsula you go.  Kind of like a merry-go-round in our kitchen, I just never make a complete circle.  

Although I could begin going Duke's of Hazzard style across the counter everyday, but I am kind of short so that may not end well.  I guess removing the peninsula is our only option afterall.  Oh good, the only thing I knew for sure we would be doing in this cozy cottage kitchen.     

We are planning a kitchen island in front of where the sink is showing above which is where we believe the original kitchen sink was located.  With the removal of wallpaper, we could see the outline of the former kitchen cabinets on the wall from once upon a time.  I wish I could see photos from the original build of our kitchen, it would make so much more sense to me.    

Four doors, 2 windows, a built in, 40" range, a refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, and one behemoth cabinet... oh, wait!  You have never actually seen our very large cabinet yet, it is because we have been working on it.   Don't worry, I will share it with you when we are finished.  It has been an idea three years in the making... finally it should be completed soon to share with you.  

It is interesting the way things happen here, it all begins with an idea, then it moves on to the how do we really do this, to the beginnings of said project, and then on to the actual doing, and finally a finished product.  Then we get to stand back, and give a pat to each other on the back on a job well done.

What began as one of my crazy ideas, on to designing this cabinet together.  Of course, I enjoyed the seeking and finding part of the project, it is what I am good at.  Then hubby has to figure out the logistics, and how we get items to our home.  I will tell you that he is not always thrilled with me when I have some of these ideas.   

We decided on a butcher block countertop for this cabinet.  The first countertop was damaged, and so they had to reorder it, delays, delays, delays.  The second countertop was damaged, did I mention, it is coming from Canada too, so we wait... and wait... and wait, hoping and praying the third one is the charmer and will work.  In the meantime, we have been adding more to the list of ideas before it will be completed.  

I am kind of excited to share it with y'all, and nervous at the same time.  You know, some folks just let you know what they think, and this cabinet will not be like any other out there since we have handmade it.  It started off being 79" long, and then we had to cut it down to 70" because someone measured a little off... okay, it was me.  Darn it.  I may not have measured exactly... 9 inches is a lot off Cara... don't I know it.  Maybe I should take my advice on measuring from above.

In my head we were planning for the kitchen we are going to have, not the one that currently exists.  So in the end we had to cut it down and readjust the shelves, and the front of the cabinet, and move the wheels.  Oh yes!  It is going to be on wheels, how fun, huh?  We will still have issues when it is complete, but eventually, it will all work out once I find the person who will complete the work on the rest of said kitchen.  

One of my most favorite bloggers, Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, recently posted her finished kitchen.  You see, I thought I had an original idea of using an antique piano as a kitchen island, but guess what?  Low and behold, she had already completed one.  So... I began following her journey on the completion of her kitchen.  You should check her out if you have never before, you just may be amazed.  

We think along the same lines in being frugal, well... maybe not her as her husband, but I share a love of searching out items and then having my husband figure out how we will get some of these pieces to our home.  I absolutely love a good find and incorporating them into our home and the more unique an item is, the more I love it.

Some days I have an idea, and I share it with hubby and he says how would you even do that?  I just shrug my shoulders and say well, can't you figure that part out?  I see it perfectly in my mind's eye, but then the realistic one of us says um... dear, I am not so sure that would work.

So then I flit off dreaming up another idea for us to work on.  This idea though, my husband was on board with and said absolutely, it can be done.  What?  Stop... did you just say we could do this one project?  Yes... okay, and off on Craig's List I went in search of what I had in mind.  

Do you remember when I reminded you of Craig's List?  Yes, you can still find items there, and sometimes you can find a great deal.  All I have to say is that the gentleman who we purchased this piece from indicated it came out of a mansion along the Scioto River located near Dublin, Ohio.

In my mind, it came from a home like this... only after I began snooping, I found this home was built in 1989.  Hardly old... I know, but beautiful from the outside none the less.  Our piece came from a mansion built in the 1920's, I swooned and dreamt about what that home looked like on the inside.  

If you are a lover of homes with beautiful grounds surrounding them like I do, then check it out.  Oh, to live in England, and have the means for a gardener or two.  See, still the ever dreamer here.  I am not so sure I can ever let that side of me go!

Do you see how the dreamer in me gets into all sorts of trouble dreaming up this kitchen and other projects around here?  Our must have list continues to grow, but I think you would be surprised to learn that the list is not all due to me and my fantastical ideas... in fact, a lot of it is all hubby, and his wants or should I say "needs" for the kitchen.  

  1. There will be an island, and that peninsula is going bye bye... hit the road Jack, and don't you come back no more!
  2. The kitchen will be completed... some day... oh I wish I knew when that day would be!

You can laugh all you want, those are the only two things I am certain of.

Now, do you want to know all of the questions I have?
  1. Which wall should the sink go on?  We have two windows, should it go along the back wall by the door, or the side wall where our second window is?  I am thinking it was there originally.  
  2. Should we paint our cabinets or stain them?  I love paints, but then I was introduced to wonder colored stain...
  3. What color of stain should we use?  I found the perfect color of green, and when I asked about the cabinet, I was told it was a stain.  Imagine my surprise, and wonder and should I go that route?
  4. Should the fridge move further down the wall, closer to the oven?  I am beginning to think it will not work either since that window is getting in the way. 
  5. How will we finish the corners off?  Have you noticed corners in the kitchen are such wasted space?
  6. We have 2 lazy susans now, but they are so rude... yes, I did say that.  Canned food items do not stay on the shelves so I am thinking no Lazy Susan should be in our kitchen if she is going to be so rude as to not do her job by keeping us organized and stop dropping off cans along the way.
  7. A million other questions... yes, my list is long, I think I need a designer, what do you think?
It would appear I am on to something with wheeled cabinets in the kitchen though, wouldn't it?  I think they are perfect, who wants a boring kitchen where everything stays in it's designated spot for eternity?  Let's have fun, change things up, color outside the lines, and get crazy with it.  Wheels, we must have them, and so we shall!  

BDC Magazine

The items above are what get me excited to create the kitchen of our dreams, now if only I can locate such items, we will be all set!  Some call it an unfitted kitchen, and others call it a free standing kitchen, a nod to the past is what I am after, so I guess if you stick around, you will see how it all unfolds. 

Real Homes

Storage is at the top of my list, and how wonderful would it be to have a wall of nothing but cabinets?  

I have us all set on the legs for our island, 17 antique piano legs in our basement and all.  I cannot wait for that part, it is what I have been looking forward to most since we began this venture.  

Well, lots of thoughts floating around... did you find any creativity here today?  I sure hope so, ideas are my specialty, it is the final decision making that makes me cringe and hem, haw around... I am off... in search of antique cabinets for my masterpiece.   

So you may be asking yourself what I have learned throughout this kitchen design experience?  I'd probably say hire someone who knows how to get as much storage as they can out of your kitchen.  I would also say to interview several folks to make sure they are thinking along the same lines as you are for your vision.  I know we have made that mistake before, never again.  Lastly, I have learned I have a lot to learn about kitchen design, but who knows, maybe I will become a pro once this is all said and done.  **chuckle**

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