August 8: Time to Make Some Kitchen Decisions

Stuff continues to happen! The bathroom tile is done and the plumber hooked up the toilet on Thursday. Hallelujah! …okay the bathroom doesn’t have doors right now, or a working sink, or paint, but look, that’ll all come. The mudroom tile is also done and the drywall went up in there yesterday (except for the ceiling, which still needs to be framed out, but that’s not a high priority right now.) The mudroom is also shingled. And today I spent a bunch of time just cleaning: vacuuming a bunch of stuff, carting random wood bits around to better locations, and (courtesy of Kathy and Leah C. who came over for a couple of hours in the morning and were heroes) even moving some things to storage in the basement.

partway through afternoon cleaning session. August renovation is not really my thing, I think.

The big news from today though is that Peter helped me get the fridge into place in the afternoon. It turns out that the door between the dining room and kitchen is a really crucial two inches narrower than the door from the outside to the inside, and I have zero spatial reasoning ability, but fortunately he has plenty so we were able to get it through just by removing the freezer door and then maneuvering the whole thing in with the upper doors open.

This is what the space looked like before:

Behold:

…OK, again, that’s not really the most inspiring view.

To get this niche, I removed a closet (you can see the floor cutout on the right, as well as some framing remains). It’s a pretty deep niche, about 3.5 feet, and the fridge is counter depth so there’s about a foot behind it currently (I might move it back some.)

The plan has always been to build a cabinet next to the fridge in the relatively narrow, but hardly tiny, space there, which is a bit under 2 feet wide, which is why I haven’t tried to make that back wall look good; the idea was it would all get covered up. Because it’s all funny dimensions, I’ve been figuring on building this myself out of plywood. But until I saw the fridge in place, I didn’t QUITE get just how much space there was going to be above it. The fridge isn’t quite six feet tall — it’s 5’8″ — and the ceilings are very close to nine feet. The space just looks cavernous with nothing in it! And I can’t fill it with hanging plants or whatever since there’s no natural light. So I’m thinking I’ll have to extend my custom cabinet over the fridge, more for visual reasons than for storage, although obviously I’ll have to put something up there.

I came up with two rough plans just now. Although I’m drawing in 2D here, please imagine that the cabinet to the right is pretty deep so that I can set the toaster and microwave back and have plenty of counter space to work on in front of them.

Option 1 gives me a row of cookbooks over the fridge, and a cabinet with doors above that to store things like birthday candles, cookie cutters, and the like. The tall cabinet then has pantry shelving over the microwave. (Note that I’m also planning a bunch of pantry shelving along another wall. If I go with this option I could reduce the amount I put up there, but I wouldn’t eliminate it.)

Option 2 has fewer components. There’s no extra set of cabinet doors, and fewer shelves. This option brings the cookbooks down lower, where they’re easier to grab, and gives me two shelves instead of one (although the narrower shelves on the side cabinet mean I only pick up about an extra foot of space, but that’s a lot when we’re talking about cookbooks.) I don’t have a zillion cookbooks since, you know, the internet, but I do have a bunch that I use frequently and need to have accessible. Then a tall narrow shelf for vases and the like above that, and two simple open shelves above the fridge for linens and the birthday candles, etc, etc. I’d definitely need a stepstool to reach the upper shelf but would be able to grab down the linens without help. Another option for that upper shelf would be canning supplies btw — that’s true in either design. I usually keep a bunch of empty jars and such fairly handy so I can do small-batch canning without having to go up and down to the basement.

I’m leaning towards option 2 but curious what people think and if there are other design ideas floating around out there. The goal is to (1) cover the old framing (2) use the space above the fridge so it doesn’t look so barren (3) do something useful with the space above the microwave and toaster shelves.

Published by Catherine R. Osborne

Historian, theologian, editor.

5 thoughts on “August 8: Time to Make Some Kitchen Decisions

  1. I like both options, but option two gets my vote, because it makes the cookbooks more accessible, and keeps the less-used vases and linens up high, rather than the more frequently used pantry items.

    I love how you’ve combined the original cabinets and the newly built cabinet along the sink wall. It’s not going to look like every other remodeled kitchen, and you’re minimizing what you have to put in the dumpster. Great choice!

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    1. definitely leaning towards option 2! and yeah, I like the idea of having a kitchen that doesn’t look exactly like EVERYONE’s kitchen πŸ™‚

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  2. Whatever you decide, leave a little room between the cabinets and the fridge in case your next fridge is a couple of inches taller or wider. (Did I learn this the hard way? Of course!)

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