Before the remodeling.

We are doing some remodeling in the kitchen and enough people have asked what we’re doing and for the ‘before’ pictures so I’ll do a quick post.

The main drivers for the remodeling are:

  1. Opening up the rooms so that it functions more as one cohesive space, with a good view from end to end so we can keep an eye on the kids from the kitchen and enjoy more connectedness between what is happening in the kitchen and the family room.
  2. Improving the lighting.
  3. Replacing appliances with newer models that work better and are more suited to the way we cook.

View one shows the current view from the refrigerator towards the fireplace.


We are having the cabinets that currently hang over the peninsula removed and they will be hung above the workbench in the garage.  The soffit will also be removed for a continuous flush ceiling.  Beyond that the wall separating the breakfast area and the family room will be opened up to have just a small return on each side.  I am most excited about these changes that will give us a great big kitchen/family room.  It will not read as one 44′ long room, as the flooring and partial wall will give some separation, but it will be open enough to allow for good family time.  Currently the cook is quite cut off from what is happening in the family room as even after you peek under the cabinets you can only see a corner of the family room.


It will also allow more natural light from the sliding glass door to come into the main part of the kitchen.


We are also replacing the current cooktop with a gas cooktop.  We have always had gas ever since moving out of our first student apartment in Champaign.  I have ruined more meals for burning or not cooking fast enough here in the last 4 months than I have in the last 10 years.  I will not miss this ceramic cooktop.  More power to you if you have one and like one, just so long as I don’t have to try to cook on one ever again!  We are replacing it with another downdraft fan model.  Definitely not what we would choose if we were designing from scratch, but the expense of plumbing for a floating ‘island’ hood and routing the vent through the ceiling and out the back (brick) wall and then having a big hood hanging down where we just removed cabinets was a non-starter.  Moving the cooktop along the exterior wall would have necessitated new cabinets and floors, basically a gut-and-start-over remodel, and it just wasn’t worth that much to us.  So downdraft it is.


We’re having all the upper cabinets taken down and the soffits removed.  They’ll be reinstalled a bit higher to allow for better countertop access and to allow for a taller fridge. Crown molding will go up around the tops of the cabinets, and there will be a gap between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling. I won’t be filling it with accroturements or accent lighting. Just dead space, and the crown molding will hopefully hide the inevetible dust. I’d love cabinets to go to the ceiling, but not worth the expense.  The backsplash is also being removed and replaced with something less brown.  Between the brown floor, brown cabinets, brown countertops, brown backsplash and brown paint the kitchen is very, well, brown.  We’re doing creamy subway tile and that will give a nice contrast.

We are building an under-counter shelf for the microwave directly below its current counter-hogging home.  A wall mounted microwave would be more convenient for the microwave, but I just couldn’t bear to give up my prime upper cabinet space.  That lower cabinet is the least used in the kitchen and is along the food prep wall, so it will be quite convenient.

As for lighting the ceiling fan is a goner!  It is very fussy and creates terrible shadows, while also being totally inadequate light for a large kitchen.  We’re having cans installed throughout the kitchen and will go without a center fixture.  If anyone is in the market for an ‘elegant’ ceiling fan with a nice moodlight feature I know where you can get a great deal;-)


To round out the kitchen plans we’re removing that nice scalloped panel above the sink, re-trimming the window with new, non-chipped casings, replacing the dishwasher, fridge and garbage disposal.

Oh, and I almost forgot I’m getting all new drawers!  Our 30 year old cabinets are still in great shape, but the drawers are on old, squeaky gliders.  The drawers are going to be replaced with all new drawer boxes and runners, the old ones will be removed, the fronts taken off and the old fronts attached to the new drawers.  It will operate just like new (well better than when these were new as it will have the fancy whisper shut action).  I’m happy we can mend and make do with the current cabinets, but these new drawers will make it feel all nice and new.


On to the family room.


Opening up the wall will be great for the family room as well. Those french doors are never closed, and they block the light switches and the kids think they’re fun to bang on. We won’t miss them.


In here we are having can lights installed between each set of beams.  This will give us tons more light.  It is pretty cave-like in there now, relying on a couple eyeball cans along the fireplace and a couple switched outlets to power lamps.  We are also having the paneling primed and painted, to remove one of the big woody elements.  We’re not painting anything else yet…we’ll see how it feels and then if it is still too dark we’ll consider painting the bookcase backs, the bookcases, the mantle, and then only in extreme duress the brick or the beams.  Hopefully the lights and the paneling will do the trick.  We’ll see.

Then, all the ceilings will be patched and plastered and the entire space, walls and ceilings will get a fresh coat of paint.  (exact shades TBD after the wall and cabinets come out and I decide how it feels.

OK – more detail than most people needed, but I know at least a couple of my cooking friends care.

And for those of you who don’t give a hoot about my kitchen, but would rather see the kids I caught them in the pictures too:-)

Will post when it is all done for the before/after effect.



5 responses to “Before the remodeling.

  1. This is so exciting- great ideas for your remodel! You are probably already aware of this, but it is possible something is hidden up in those kitchen soffits that will have to be rerouted. Looking forward to the after photos!

  2. Well spotted Lisa. Yes, I was aware that evil could lurk in the soffits and, indeed, it was. The sewer line from the upstairs bathroom runs in the soffit above the kitchen sink, across the joists. Moving that would be quite expensive, so, unfortunately, the soffits are staying along the walls. Floating soffit can still go.

  3. Ugh! Sorry about the soffits. I’m thankful you have lots of other improvements to relieve the disappointment. It’s going to look great! I bet it will be so nice not to have light switches behind doors!

  4. Loved all the detail about what you are doing. will be excited to see the “finished product”.

  5. jennifer nance

    Loved seeing a little of where you are now!! Enjoyed the details of the remodel, but I am glad that you included those cute kids, too! ;)

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