Why an Eat-In Kitchen is Perfect for this Remodel
I’m working on a house remodel for a couple and their adolescent son. Their house is a rather typical 1950’s rambler with an especially large living room at the front of the house. The dining room is on the back of the house however it is open to the living room—a new concept at the time. The kitchen on the other hand is an enclosed room on the back of the house with an alcove for the washer and dryer.
This kitchen certainly needs to be updated—it is the original kitchen which has been left pretty much untouched. It’s not as functional as the wife would like it to be and also lacks the storage areas that the family requires. More importantly she wants the kitchen to be opened to the front of the house living spaces. A second, very important need is to create a new dedicated mudroom/ laundry room.
When analyzing the floor plan and looking at how this family lives in their house it became clear that the large living room square footage was not being used to best advantage and that some of that space could be used to make the rest of the house function and flow better. The real design challenge came when eliminating the wall that separated the kitchen from living room—what could I do to make up for all that counter space and overhead cabinets that would be lost in eliminating this wall?
I studied various kitchen plan options—L-shaped, with or without an island; the L-configuration on this wall or that wall, but none of these designs had enough cabinet storage and the layouts didn’t relate to the living room in the way that I wanted.
It wasn’t until I decided to create a broken u-shaped kitchen and place the dining table in the middle did it all fit into place. The big benefit of this was that we were combining the square footage of the separate kitchen and dining room into one space. This allowed for three long legs of the broken U-shaped kitchen with lots of floor to ceiling cabinets, a pantry area, and a baking area. This also allowed me to create a separate laundry room, to widen the circulation corridor through it, as well as add a much needed long wall of storage cabinets and a laundry sink across from the washer and dryer.
The hidden benefit of the eat-in kitchen is that the dining table can now serve in many capacities— snacking, dining area, a kitchen work area, a project’s area, and a place for guests to gather around when a meal is being prepared. This eat-in kitchen has become the center of this family remodel while being open to the rest of the living room so that these two spaces function as one. The pleasures of cooking, eating and entertaining all merge into one spacious, family friendly great room.
In addition to all these benefits, the reconfigured living room also allowed for the creation of a generous foyer, which the house lacked, with a bench, a display shelf and a new storage wall which is accessed from the bedroom hallway behind.
This eat-in design satisfies all the client’s needs and so much more than what was on their original wish list!