Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New shoe, old footprint

In my last kitchen post, I laid out some of the challenges we have in our current space with which we are not so eager to live. That said, there are some areas where we have been more than willing to compromise, perhaps even to the detriment of an ideal or perfectly useful kitchen.

We decided early on in our renovation process to stay within the existing kitchen footprint. Though the current remodeling trend seems to be knocking down walls to open up the floorplan, we just didn't feel it would be in keeping with the style of our home. Taking down a wall or closing up an entry would also mean losing original doors, moldings, and glass panes--we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. I also like the fact that when I'm cooking, I have some semi-private time to myself.

This isn't to say that this choice made things easier. Our kitchen has five (yes, 5!) doorways: one to the den, one to the dining room, one to the laundry room, and two to the sunroom. All of these openings are at the same end of the room; this creates a feeling of somewhat useless space in that part of the kitchen as none of the doorways can be blocked with a table, for example, which would impede the traffic flow. 
to sunroom
to dining room, laundry door on other side of fridge

to den, you can see one of the sunroom doors on the left

As the existing layout leaves no room for a table large enough for all of us to eat in the kitchen, we decided to divide our dining time between the sunroom in warmer seasons and the dining room in chillier months. This works well for family meals, but after a while we all felt it might be nice to have somewhere in the kitchen to sit for a cup of coffee, or review a recipe, or have a quick snack after school. We had already found this most excellent antique workbench to use as an island:
we added wheels!
However, we could not fit stools under it and our aisles are about as narrow as we want them to be with out chairs gumming up the works. So we ordered a maple and walnut butcherblock tabletop from Vermont Butcherblock and C made a lovely table to which he also added wheels and a latch to connect it to the workbench. Both items are now moveable to any area of the kitchen and can be attached or separated as the situation dictates!

Of course, they usually end up staying locked together right where they are, but it's nice to know the option is there is we ever need it. This solution works well for our family, but I know many people would be turned off by a kitchen without a table or an island large enough to seat the entire family. Some might also think the long table running down the middle of the room blocks the work triangle; from fridge to cooktop you do have to take a slight detour, I admit, but to us the extra workspace is worth it.

So we've decided to live with all of our doorways (and the resulting empty space/dance floor at that end of the room), as well as our lack of a true eat-in-kitchen and somewhat crowded triangle...Perhaps in this instance form is triumphing over function, but if it functions well enough for us, it's all good, right?

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