Guest Blogger: Brent’s Hawthorne kitchen remodel: Part 1

BrentmontageToday’s Guest Blogger is Brent, who works in the aerospace industry and enjoys swinging a hammer. His  Hawthorne kitchen remodel is in the planning stage:

"Sometimes progress slows to a crawl when you do your own remodeling, particularly if your family has to live in the house while it is being remodeled.

"Advantages of living in your remodel are cost savings, ample time to consider your mistakes (hopefully in a planning stage) and seeing how changes will affect how you live in real time. I struggle with slow progress on the remodeling front since it’s a part-time gig and my paying job is fairly demanding.

"My current home remodeling focus is my kitchen, the first step into a remodel that includes everything from the property line in.

"In the summer of 2006 I was inspired to start actively planning a kitchen remodel on my mostly original 1954 single-family home of about 1,100 square feet in Hawthorne. The house had been a rental before I purchased it, and maintenance and upkeep had been quite basic as a result.

"On the plus side, I don’t have to worry about ripping out a 1970s avocado green kitchen. But I do have a very basic starting point, such as range ventilation through a hole in the ceiling!

"The kitchen is a central point of focus for my family not only because I enjoy cooking a lot but also because we do most of our homework and other projects at the kitchen table, currently planted in the middle of the small and inefficient room. With the tight space, it’s a good thing that everyone is friendly when we have family over.  Knowing I could gain the most from a kitchen remodel, I started there.

"My kitchen design goals, which evolved over time, are:

• Fit in the existing house footprint
• Use existing waste lines (they are in my slab, therefore difficult for me to move)
• Improve efficiency with more counter space, more cupboard space, modern appointments (like a range hood and drawers on full extension slides, for instance)
• Create room for more than one cook (counter space plus an extra sink)
• The ability to handle dinner for from two to 16
• Better traffic flow
• Better access to outdoors

"I used the free Ikea kitchen planning tool to sketch out several new designs. This led me to the conclusion that I needed a corridor-style kitchen, completely open on one end to the living room and with French doors (replacing double-hung windows) at the opposite end to the back garden.

"My new design eliminates an interior (load-bearing) wall and hallway, which allows natural traffic patterns to develop and takes away some constraints on where I put both kitchen and living room furniture — the dining room table can go partly in the kitchen and partly in the living room now, becoming an even more multiuse table.  I can add leaves to the table when I have guests and expand it into the living room, ensuring everyone has enough elbow room."

Questions or comments for Brent? Please comment below.

Tomorrow: Part 2: Electrical panel must be ungraded before kitchen remodel can go forward

3 Comments on Guest Blogger: Brent’s Hawthorne kitchen remodel: Part 1

  1. Brent

    Thanks for the questions and comments.
    hb — It’s true that the dining table will move from the middle of the kitchen (not shown, but trust me, it’s a real chore to navigate around it) to the space where the wall used to be and will protrude into the living room. This will consume some space from the living room, but I feel that the added flexibility of unconstrained traffic flow will ultimately make more efficient use of the space. We do homework and other projects at the kitchen table as well as dine. Additionally, the new location will be a good place to visit with the chef. That’s difficult with existing space constraints.
    Note that the living room is larger than shown above. I shortened it since I we were concentrating on the kitchen aspects of the design.
    are they crazy — I struggled with designs that weren’t entirely open, as you can see by the upper plan which incorporates a bar height counter where the wall used to be. In the end I went with the open design. I’ll use the glu lam that replaces the wall (it’s load bearing, so I have to use a support beam) as a visual demarcation for the division between kitchen and living room.

  2. are they crazy

    I’ve become tired of the open kitchen idea. I’d prefer a way to screen off the kitchen from adjacent rooms. Also, prefer a small work/craft room where you can leave your homework and/or craft projects instead of having to move everything to eat a meal.

  3. hb

    Question: on your 2nd layout it looks like the ‘living room’ will become a designated dining room–is that correct?
    From the diagram, it seems like at least 1 or 2 people at the table will have a view of your stove and fridge.
    Layout #2 seems to have a lot of wasted space–for example, what’s going to be on the right hand side there on the other side of the fridge?
    Just my opinion, but while the kitchen layout looks good, the remainder might need a bit more thinking about.