Remember back in May when I posted that we were seriously thinking about gutting our kitchen and making the space over? Well, after having 3 different kitchen designers look at it over the summer and design layouts to consider, we decided it doesn’t make sense at this time.
The main reason being is that it wouldn’t look that different since the footprint and cabinet placement and color would be the same.
We would also have to totally gut the kitchen floor to ceiling which would mean we would have to replace the flooring not only in the kitchen, but most of the first floor since it is open concept.
To get a cabinet layout that I wanted, we would have to go with custom cabinetry where they could be made with less depth so an island would fit. With stock size base cabinets – the design programs the kitchen designer’s used won’t even allow an island to be placed in the floor plans.
So no kitchen remodel for the time being, if we win the lottery, then we would like to add an addition to the house to double the size of the kitchen. But I am content with what I have and will keep enjoying making the space the best it can be.
Even though the remodel is a no go, I am happy that I went through the kitchen designing process to see what could be. One designer I met with told me how to look at my current kitchen with new eyes. She said what we could do is add space, not size. I had to repeat this a few times in my head until I understood what she was saying.
Basically, find a way to use the existing space you have better. OK – I am pretty good at doing this, for instance when I found a small rolling cart to use as a kitchen island. It is used constantly. I needed to look harder at ways to create more space. So over the last few weeks that is exactly what I did and then some.
I have been going through every cabinet, closet and drawer, not only in the kitchen, but the entire house. I have been donating what we no longer use or need, which in turn opened up space for new energy and opportunities.
I have taken car loads of stuff to the local thrift shop. After a few trips, the volunteers there asked me if we were moving! :-)
Nope, I just want less, less stuff, less items sitting around getting in the way simply because I can’t make a decision about any of it.
I have even donated the coffee table that was in my living room. It got picked up last week along with other furniture pieces I know I will no longer use. The decluttering process was therapeutic – I feel liberated!
I have decluttered the contents of my house and kitchen cabinets many times before this, but this time, I was ruthless. If we hadn’t used something in the past few years, out to the thrift store it went. My husband, Ed was all on board which made the process pretty painless.
For More Space: Embracing the Murphy Door Concept
A while back I read an article about Murphy doors and was intrigued. It gave me the idea to create a room for kitchen storage or if I want to be fancy, a butler’s pantry of sorts that would be in a room of its own, but easily accessed from the kitchen.
Much like Murphy beds, Murphy doors conceal a surprise—but the surprise isn’t simply an unexpected sleeping space or nook. With Murphy doors, the secret is often an entire hidden room. In addition to their hidden pathway—making them great space-saving solutions for smaller homes like mine.
I could implement the concept in my studioffice using one half of the room as a butler’s pantry. I however, don’t need to add an actual Murphy door as the room already has the next best thing – an existing pocket door that can act like a Murphy Door.
The door does not have a doorknob and when closed it can resemble a paneled wall especially if I paint it or do some sort of trompe l’oeil art on the door.
Creating More Storage Spaces for the Kitchen
Using one half of my studioffice made so much sense to turn into a sort of butler’s pantry since it is right next to the kitchen and pantry closet, plus I no longer did computer work at the worktable I created in the room. I prefer working at my kitchen table where there is a better view of the lake.
Without needing a sit down work area in the room anymore, creating a new function on one side of the room for larger and less used kitchen items, as well as bulk foods we get at Costco was a no brainer.
We initially thought building a wall of cabinets with a counter using stock cabinets would be the way to go, but then I decided before we spend time and money, lets use something we already own first to see if having less-used kitchen items adjacent to the kitchen functions as we think it will day to day.
What we used instead of custom building a butler’s pantry was a forgotten and now vintage IKEA wall unit that we used in the basement of our previous house.
When we first moved to the lake house, the wall units didn’t fit anywhere, so we took them apart and stored it all in the attic thinking we may give it to one of our daughters one day. I am glad we saved it.
Luckily when we took it apart, we organized all the screws, nails and shelf brackets into baggies, as well as labeled every piece and documented it all with photos.
After bringing all the pieces down from the attic, it went together pretty fast.
Where the two file cabinet are placed, was a space with a turntable for a TV. We threw the turntable out and found the two file cabinets fit well in the space.
Now we have more storage space for kitchen items that we want to keep handy, like my heavy Dutch ovens. In the kitchen cabinet I had them in they had to be stacked on top of each other to fit in the cabinet.
I use these a lot, and it was a lot of work getting to the one I needed to use. Now there is enough space for me to simply grab the one I need, no more stacking and unstacking needed.
I am still organizing the shelves and making labels for everything to help me keep it organized.
So far, both Ed and I are loving how our new storage area/Butler’s pantry has given us more space in the kitchen cabinets.
Ideas to Make The Most of Kitchen Space
For the kitchen itself, I will keep tweaking and embracing the positive aspects of the space. Where it lacks features, I will continually try to come up with creative solutions to make the kitchen work better for the way we live and move around in the room.
For instance, we can retrofit the cabinets under the cooktop with sliding shelves, pull-outs or baskets. Doing this will give us two levels of space in each cabinet which will double what we can store in them.
I can also style areas of the kitchen differently to give new life to the space seasonally or on a whim.
I would like to find more rectangular and square baskets to organize the contents in all the drawers – not only a few.
And adding a surprise pop of color in the way of a DIY Drawer Liner where you don’t expect it always turns what looks unattractive, look so much better.
Now that we have opened up storage space in the kitchen, I have restyled the open shelves as well as added something new on the wall in the kitchen. Both turned out even better than I thought they would. I can’t wait to show you in my next post. Stay tuned.