Opening up the Kitchen

There’s a lot to do at Amherst, which I love. A project house is my kind of jam! :) We’ve been working on a few things in the kitchen, namely removing some upper cabinets to open things up in there. The kitchen and the dining room are basically one big room, with the galley kitchen on the left, and the dining area on the right. (That far right wall is the awesome brick wall) The kitchen has some fancy nineties linoleum, and the dining area has my very favorite – carpet! So at some point we will be ripping all of that out and replacing it with something a lot more durable and kid friendly. The carpet is a really nice quality, and is throughout much of the upstairs, so it will stay for the time being everywhere except for the dining area. I’m done with cleaning up little kid messes out of carpet.

Anyways, let me show you a floor plan, so you know where I am talking about. This is NOT 100% accurate, or even 90% I’d say. But it gives you a general idea of what I am talking about.

main floor floorplan

Okay, so the dining area is directly in front of you when you walk up the stairs coming into the house. Brick wall on the right, that door leads out to the back yard. Make sure to take note of the lovely dust filled curtains, the decals on the windows, and the rocking macrame plant holder. (sans plant)

If you spin around and stand at the back door, this is what you see. That blank wall is the back of the coat closet, and you can juuust see the pantry. On the far right of the picture you can see the decorative panel on the back of the upper cabinets, which we will be talking about in a moment.

So. If you look at the floor plan again, that “wall” between the kitchen and the dining area is just cabinets. It’s all one open space, but the stove and lower cabinets form the bottom of the wall dividing the two spaces, and the upper cabinets along with the soffit further enhanced that feeling of it being two separate rooms, with the kitchen feeling really small and a little claustrophobic.

See how you could see through, but it was low and all in your face? If you wanted to talk to the person in the kitchen you had to crouch down and talk through that opening. Not the end of the world, but also not the open feeling that we wanted. We knew that taking those cabinets and soffit out would change the room entirely.

So we started by removing the decorative panel on the back of the cabinets. Let me interject here that the previous owner did some beautiful woodworking, and made all these cabinets and panels himself. They’re really well made and in great shape, so we were very careful removing them as I think we will put them to good use elsewhere. The back panel was decorative and just nailed into place, so Lover was able to remove it without too much trouble. It was heavy though!

Then he disconnected the power to the vent hood, (obviously after turning off the power and taking all necessary safety measures) and removed the hood. Once that was safely out, we set about removing the cabinets, one by one. Each of the three were screwed to each other and then up into the supports above, so we just unscrewed them one by one. Lover would get them mostly free, and then I would remove the last couple of screws while he held up the weight of the cabinet. We may or may not have figured out this system after dropping the first cabinet on the counter. Luckily laminate is durable. :) They are all now sitting pretty in the garage.

This picture is terrible and blurry, but see how immediately things were feeling lighter? A few days later when we got the itch again, Lover removed the soffit above. This was more of a task, and I did not help at all. I just sat at the table and kept him company. The demo was pretty straight forward, with the exception of some long bolts that anchored everything into the ceiling. Those took some work to remove. But, in the end Lover was victorious and the soffit was no more.

Once those cabinets were out I was dying to paint everything to freshen up the room even more. We prepped the room one evening, and then the next day I fit in the painting between naps and TV shows and whatever other time I could steal away. It needs touch up in a few spots, but it looks so much nicer now!

And here’s the new and improved kitchen. Ahhhhh. Space, light and openness. It’s my jam, I tell ya.

From the other direction, it’s even more dramatic. This picture was taken standing right next to the fridge.

Now the entire dining area is a part of the kitchen too. That brick wall gets to be the star of the dining area and the kitchen, and it’s so much nicer to work on what is now a peninsula, instead of the lower half of a hulking wall.

It’s better, right? Yes, we lost some storage, but we’re planning on addressing that by adding shelves on the wall between the window and the back door, and possibly a hutch in the dining area. We’re still figuring out what we need and what should go where. Also, in this picture you can see that we are still working on patching up the ceiling, and replacing that light. Turns out when they installed the soffit they used a very high tech method of finding the studs in the ceiling, which involved smashing a hammer through the drywall in about a dozen places. #facepalm So we are working on patching those up relatively well, and then the entire ceiling needs a fresh coat of paint. And we need to figure out the lighting up there. But – it looks so much better, functions better, and I love it.

Also, I need to talk for a minute about the wall color. We agreed that since all of the walls in the house need a fresh coat of paint, we would just find a nice, neutral color that worked with everything, and start with that. Later on, as we figure out what direction we want the rooms to go, we might repaint certain rooms, but this way everything gets freshly updated. I brought home a million light gray swatches, some tans and some light blues, and then a miracle happened. In five seconds flat, we both agreed on a color, and said color worked in every room of the house. Miracles, they still happen people. :) The gray we went with is suuuper light and has great undertones, and works with all the different bricks, and so far has looked nice in every room we’ve painted. (The master, the kids’ room and now the kitchen.) I love it. It’s called Saltaire by Ralph Lauren, and we had it matched to Glidden paint.

Anyways, so that’s what we’ve been working on. Next on my radar may possibly be this light. Weird seventies light, you have been warned.


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One Response to Opening up the Kitchen

  1. Pingback: Shelves and other updates | Words on Wendhurst

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