Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Heart Of Our Home

We've lived in our house 29 years now. It's served us well, we raised our family here. But we never really shopped for our house.  It kind of fell in our lap. Our boss was retiring, it was in the mid-80's, real estate prices had plummeted and mortgage rates were sky-high.  He wanted a smaller home, we wanted a larger home and neither of us were finding buyers.  One night he took us to dinner, said "let's trade homes, I'll carry the mortgage so you can afford it."  So 15 days later we moved! It wasn't our dream house but how could we refuse an offer like that?

Over the years we've made many modifications, trying to make it more our style and to fit our lifestyle (we are very casual).  We  did one kitchen remodel (got rid of the washer & dryer that was in the kitchen, ugly cabinets & linoleum!) about 20 years ago. But we wanted a more open floor plan, my hubby wanted more garage space or a shop, I wanted a garden and fruit trees. So we began looking but couldn't find anything we really loved.  Then we got the notion that we should build and bought 8 1/2 acres of land in my old hometown. Buyer's remorse later set in and the thought of commuting each day, the upkeep of the land and the cost of building, landscaping, etc. was more than we wanted to tackle at this stage in our life. Anyone want to buy 8 1/2 acres of prime farm land? We'll make you a heck of a deal!
We love our neighborhood, it's quiet and we have wonderful neighbors.  So we contacted our architect to see what we could do to expand the kitchen area, make the home more open. Between planning and construction it was a two-year process, the construction being nine months (we pretty much gutted the house and it was not always fun!) The end justifies the means and we love our "new" home.

We knocked down the wall between the kitchen and formal dining room as well as the outside east wall of the home and raised the ceiling to nine feet high.  Using the footprint of an existing patio we were able to add about 120 square feet to the home and now have one large room that we virtually live in. My husband (who did not get his additional garage space, yes, he is a Saint!) gave me free rein to build the kitchen of my dreams. It's been six years since our remodel and I still wouldn't change a thing (however, if I win the Lottery and build my ultimate dream home on the beach, I would add a lot of things!  Ha!)

Before the remodel, I was isolated in the kitchen.  When we had gatherings everyone would gravitate in there and it would be hard to move around. The oven and island were so close to each other that I would have to stand to the side of the oven to get baked goods out. We used our formal dining room once or twice a year.  Other than that, it was used to get from the living room to the kitchen. We couldn't see the backyard through the kitchen, always a concern when you have a swimming pool.

Now our kitchen and dining area are wide open with great views of the yard.  My husband can sit at our island and talk to me while I cook and he's no longer in my way! I have tons of space, storage and all the amenities I wanted. We spend so much time in here now. We can fit all our family in here instead of having tables spread from room-to-room. It was worth all the hassle.

Here are some before and after shots:

This is the view from our living room looking into the dining room.  You can see we had a "sunken" living room.  That floor has been raised and we now have level, all wood floors. The door on the far wall led to a side patio.  That wall was knocked down and rebuilt at the edge of the patio footprint. The wall on the left was shared with the kitchen.  That wall, too, was eliminated.
Here's that same view today.  Eliminating a 120 square foot patio and knocking out a few walls made a ton of difference!
Another view of the shared kitchen wall.  You can see how isolated the kitchen was from the living area of the home.

The view today.  Much more open!  The island is 8 foot long, plenty of room for all my cooking endeavors! When I told my hubby the island was going to be red he thought I had gone crazy (or crazier?).  He loves it now.

This window overlooked the side patio. To the right of the small pantry is the entrance to the dining room.

This area is where the patio was.
This was the dining room window.  We could not see out this window if we were in the kitchen. This entire wall was knocked down and replaced with a 12' french slider and two hutches.
We have a much nicer view today. I can be anywhere in the kitchen and see outside.  And when I open all the doors I get such a nice breeze blowing through!

The area where our kitchen table resided is now our oven and refrigerator wall.

The same wall today.  You can also see how the combined room now blends in with the adjoining living room. No more sunken living room, either!  We are preparing for our "golden years" and our walkers, wheelchairs, etc. I sure hope that doesn't happen!

My husband swears I designed my kitchen around the farmhouse sink.  He may be partially correct.

 The only amenity my hubby asked for in the kitchen (he got his way in some of the other rooms!) was a wine fridge. I've noticed we drink more wine now.  I'm not sure if it's because the fridge keeps the wine at a nice temperature or that we no longer have kids living at home! 
Some of my cookbooks.  I have many more in a closet. A woman can never have too many cookbooks! I use the prep sink  and butcher block nightly; it's very convenient to the stove area.
Tucked in the corner is my appliance garage. I don't like a lot of things on my counters so like the appliances tucked away.  The doors fold back so I can work on the counter there or move the appliances elsewhere. There are electrical outlets in the garage.

 The household message area. Behind the cabinet doors are office supplies, phone books, key holders, etc.
My Grandma used to have a plaque in her kitchen that said "no matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best". My kitchen is definately the room I like the best!

I'm sharing our changes at Metamorphosis Monday.


  1. This is a great remodel! I love all the thought and effort you put into it. That really shows. I love your accessories, too! Bravo!

  2. I love your newly remodeled kitchen. You have lots of counter space and great storage , good light and an open floor plan. You have everything you wanted. I have the open floor plan but need more storage and counter space. Happy for you.