A kitchen is reborn - part one
Just about wrapped up over at the loft kitchen project. It's been a fun four months with a client who knows what he does and doesn't like but is open to suggestions - collaboration heaven!
When we met back in November it was pretty obvious that this space could be dramatically improved even if we couldn't redesign the kitchen footprint due to condo and budget constraints.
When I look at the "before" photos, this is what I see:
* Cramped, crowded and low-ceilinged
* Zero counter space on the back wall
* An over-sized sink that is too large for a small kitchen with one cook
* A stove jammed up against a drywalled wall
* A fridge that looks disproportionately large
* Upper cabinets that are too tall to be functional
* Inadequate lighting
* A bulky microwave/exhaust fan combo that appears to be crouching over the stove
* A massive island with a dated crescent shaped granite countertop
* Bland and unexciting finishes - not worthy of this gorgeous loft!
From here we created a wish list:
* More open and bright overall
* More functional space with useful, purposeful storage
* Stylish with a vintage loft feeling
And we discussed the constraints that ultimately determined what was feasible:
* floors are not changing so the island has to keep its original footprint
* appliances are new and will not be replaced at this point (except the microwave)
* plumbing lines can't be moved
* 7' ceiling due to HVAC bulkhead won't allow pendant lights over island
* limited ability to change electrical due condo regulations and expense
* building elevator cannot accommodate a 10-foot stone countertop in one piece, so quartz, marble etc., are not options unless we have a seam (which we do not want)
* client is not moving out during the renovation so the project must be done with in-stock items to minimize downtime
* budget - this is not the client's forever home and the condo may be put on the market
This was the layout that eventually ticked all the boxes:
I wanted to move the cooking function into the island with a wall oven/cooktop combination to free up some counter space on the back wall, but we couldn't make it work without scaling up the budget for new floors, thousands in electrical and new appliances. It was one of those tough decisions, but I knew the kitchen would be much better either way, so we agreed to keep the existing stove in its current spot and focus on other, more attainable improvements.
Removing those upper cabinets in favour of open shelving completely changed the look of the kitchen. It went from dark and low to airy and open with a glossy tile backsplash. Adding a gable beside the fridge and a fridge-depth upper cabinet puts the refrigerator into better proportion.
Swapping the 36" double sink for a 24" model means more counterspace and gave us room for an extra base cabinet beside the sink - perfect for cutlery and cooking utensils that were previously stored in the island.
The island, as I mentioned, is ten-feet long! It's huge but had zero function. Because the laminate floor did not run below the island, we had to keep the existing footprint. But we made it so much more functional by adding back-to-back shelves on the living room side. This gives and extra 60" of cabinet space - and who doesn't need more storage?
Shrinking the seating area down makes it feel more cozy and less monolithic than it did before.
If there is any question about the impact tile can have, consider these two pre-and-post-backsplash images:
The final touches are happening this week - please come back for a look at the full reveal!
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