What’s a Kitchen Designer To Do!

Recently, the lead designer at Vestabul decided to move to a popular beachside community on the west coast. This small city offered a great life style with shopping, restaurants and live entertainment all close together. One of the main goals for the new home was to be an ocean view. After watching the market and visiting several open houses she found a place in the perfect location.  All of the desired amenities were within walking distance and the view was fantastic. One problem, the interior did not represent her dream home. The 3 story townhome was tired and in need of a complete overhall. But, always looking for a challenge she took the plunge, signed on the dotted line and got to work on the remodel plans.

No work needed to be done with the view, but the list of the interior upgrades was growing longer and longer. The overall plan was to tackle the main and upper levels of the home. All of the rooms would receive new wood floors, interior doors, trim, lighting and paint. The main bathroom would be gutted and reconfigured and the powder room would get a complete upgrade. The plan was to also open up the stairwell and reframe some walls for better flow and function in the home. Of course a dream kitchen was also on the list!

The designer tackled this project just like she would for a client. Drawings were produced and a budget was developed.  The contractor was hired and the schedule was confirmed. The project was on a tight timeline of 7 weeks.

Just like on TV, there was some “drama” at the beginning of the project. Only thing, this drama was not staged! Asbestos was found in the drywall and the abatement costs came in at over 25% of the renovation budget. This was a big hit to the project and a new plan had to be put together. What was a kitchen designer to do?

After going over the plans and numbers again, the dream kitchen had to be taken off the list. 🙁 This was a set back but the designer decided to look at it as a challenge. It was time to evaluate what was existing and see where she could go from there.


Month 1: Evaluating the existing Kitchen

The existing kitchen in the home had been renovated about 5 years ago. At first glance (as seen in the realtor’s online pictures) it didn’t look too bad, but when you looked closely there were awkward details and functional issues. Here are a few problems identified.

1. The peninsula straddled two different floor materials and was covered with an awkward transition strip.

2. There was only one bank of drawers in the kitchen and it was located away from the main prep area.

3. The corner upper cabinet jutted out from the wall and didn’t follow the line of the drop ceiling producing a poor design detail.

4. The sink being placed against the wall with upper cabinets above it felt confining. Not the worse detail but not the best.

5. The upper cabinets did not relate to the drop ceiling in this corner either.

6. The placement of the dishwasher so close to the corner meant that when the door was down there was difficult to access the upper cabinets.

7. The corner beside the range was a bit of a disaster. The tile didn’t match the rest of the backsplash, the glass block was dated and the butcher block was stained.

8. The placement of the refrigerator completely cut off the kitchen when the door was open.

Overall there was also some other details the designer was not thrilled about.

The narrow entrance into the kitchen and the fact that there was no entrance to the kitchen from the hall made if feel really closed off from the rest of the space. When entering the home, you would have to walk down the hall and pass through the dining space to get to the kitchen. This would be a pain when bringing in groceries. Also, since the party is “always in the kitchen” this kitchen would be very party unfriendly.

Some of the finishes in the kitchen were also not up to the designers standards or taste. The top mount double bowl sink and faucet were a bit old school. The white appliances would not have be her first choice. The laminate counters with wood edge looked cheap and the dark iron light fixture was acting as a focal point, which it was not. Again, what was the kitchen designer to do!

The answer was to make the best of what was there. To this end the designer decided to keep the existing cabinetry because it was in good shape and relatively new. The cabinetry was modular boxes so she decided that the units could all be removed and reconfigured into a better layout. Since moving plumbing and venting can be costly she decided it would be best to work with the existing locations for the range, microwave hood and sink. The refrigerator could easily be moved because it only requires an electrical circuit and even the dishwasher could find a new home as long as it wasn’t too far from the sink. And, since a construction crew was due at the home in 4 weeks, the new plans needed to be finalized quickly.  This was going to be a wild ride!

Tune in next month to see the creative plans developed for this kitchen redesign and read about the new long term plan for the kitchen.







4 thoughts on “What’s a Kitchen Designer To Do!

  1. AvatarMoe Kelland

    Time for a main floor bathroom reno. I hate taracotta tiles in a 1910 house. Bath tub needs updating an walk in shower and a proper vanity. Sounds like a gut job. Let I’m know your fee to put a plan together. If of course you are interested.

    1. Designer @ VestabulDesigner @ Vestabul Post author

      The first part should go quickly. A lot of patience will be needed waiting until the bank account is restocked to finish the space. LOL. Stay tuned!

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