Sep 12, 2015

Opening the Wall between the Dining and Living Rooms

We made a huge step forward in the renovation of our 1950s ranch this week. We finally opened up the wall between our living room and our dining room giving the whole house a more open concept.

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!!

Before and After the Dining Room wall comes down.
Before and after looking from the Family Room
Can you believe the difference???? The space used to feel like a maze, and I'm not even going to mention the wallpaper. You used to have to go through at least two doorways, no matter which way you went, to go from the dining room to living room. When our friends came to look at our new house, they actually got confused which way to go. That's how maze-like the floorplan was.

Now with it open, it makes sense. It's no longer choppy. It feels more spacious. The rooms flow, and it's exactly how I imaged it. I was so happy the first time I walked through the space that used to be a wall, I actually squealed with excitement!

I love it! But I know some of you are wondering why I didn't open it up all the way to the ceiling. I mean, more open is better, right?  Not necessarily.

When renovating, you don't want to do something that doesn't make sense with the rest of the house. Because none of the other openings in the house go to the ceiling, if the opening between these two rooms had gone up to the ceiling, it would have been obvious that it had been renovated. By making this opening match the height of all the other openings in the house, once it's finished, it won't look renovated. It will look like it has always been this way, and that's what I wanted.
View from the Living Room
View from the Living Room through the Dining Room into the Family Room.
Anyway, I'm so glad it's finally open. It feels like a huge step forward. Of course, there is still a lot to do. We have to frame in the old opening between the hallway and the living room. The walls need to be drywalled, the trim needs to be installed, the rest of the carpet needs to be ripped out and the new floors need to be installed. Plus there's still painting to do.

The list is long.  But now that the wall is opened up, I think things will go quickly. Tomorrow we're going to revise our punch list and set some new timeframes, which will help us keep on track and keep us moving forward.

I finally see the end in sight.

Now your turn.  What kind of flooring do you think we should put in and what color?

Can't wait to hear your ideas!!

If you enjoy following along with our renovation, please share this post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and other sites!  Thanks!

Sep 6, 2015

1950s Ranch Kitchen Renovation Plan

When we first looked at our new house, we thought we loved the kitchen. The cabinets looked in great shape and they go all the way to the ceiling making them look custom. In fact, everyone who has seen the house since we bought it has thought the cabinets are great.

Kitchen Before
Kitchen on the day we took possession.
As you can see, it isn't a terrible kitchen. It actually looks pretty good. Slap some paint on the cabinets, replace the countertops and floors, and we're good to go.  We knew the layout wasn't perfect, but we thought we could work with it. Then we started looking closer.

The cooktop is okay, but the oven is so not in a good place at all. It was completely outside of the work triangle. Imagine trying to cook dinner with guests in the kitchen! Impossible!! The refrigerator blocked the kitchen off and made it feel closed in, and the dishwasher was in a corner which made it impossible to open one of the drawers unless the dishwasher was open. There were some definite problems.
Awkward kitchen layout
Kitchen on the day it was being inspected before closing.
Nothing made sense, except the cooktop and the sink. Everything else was awkward, but from the start, our plan was to sell the appliances, reconfigure the cabinets and use our own stainless steel appliances. We thought we could make it work without too much trouble.

Then we found out the cabinets truly are custom, and we couldn't just reconfigure them to fit our appliances. They are all one piece! Seriously, those very top cabinets are open with no dividers all the way around the cabinets. We'd have to cobble them up, and we knew that's exactly what it would look like--a cobbled mess. So, onto plan B, which was to replace all the cabinets.

I have to admit, when Jim suggested starting from scratch with all new cabinets, I was very excited. In fact, I even posted it about it, but I could tell you what was actually going on, because I didn't want to jinx anything.

New Kitchen Plan
Plan for new kitchen.
This was the original plan I came up with. The original plan was stock unpainted cabinet from a big box store. With everything else we needed to change, that seemed the best option for our budget. But that's all changed. We found an extremely talented Amish cabinet maker who is making all our cabinets. Now the refrigerator is going to look built-in. The cabinets are going all the way up to the ceiling, and pantry is going to include two drawers and pull-out shelves.  Plus, all the appliances are going to be in the work triangle, which will make entertaining easier.

A funny story... When I told Mary, who is the trustee of her parents estate and who we bought the house from, that we were tearing out the kitchen and replacing the cabinets, she laughed and told me that her mother hated those cabinets. Her dad loved them and insisted that they be refaced in the 1980s even though her mom wanted to replace them.
Breakfast Nook
We're thinking about putting banquette seating in our corner breakfast area.
This weekend, we met with Rudy, our cabinet maker, gave him a deposit. Then we went to Lumber Liquidator to look at laminate floors. We didn't find any flooring we liked there, but we did end up buying our walnut butcher block countertop instead. I can't tell you how excited I am to be getting custom cabinets and butcher block countertops! I've wanted walnut countertops forever!

There are a few more surprises... For instance, I'm sure most of you are expecting me to have white painted cabinets, because you know how much I love white kitchens. But that's not happening. I'm actually going to have yellow cabinets!

I can't wait to show you how it turns out!

             Coming soon...
                   The wall between the living and dining room is opened up.
                   New floors installed throughout.
                   Updated paint and color schemes.
                   New curtains for the family room.

So you've seen the kitchen space the way it is now... Any suggestions or ideas you want to share?

Share you thoughts!!!  I love hearing your ideas!