My daughter and I have just returned from a short vacation in wine country. Friends have a lovely home there and hope to retire there—someday. In the meantime, they decided to do a fairly extensive remodel while they were not living there; there were some advantages and disadvantages in their decision. Not being present during such a huge undertaking proved to lengthen the process quite a bit, not to mention there were several things they would have chosen to change had they been on-site during the remodel; but I’m sure their marriage was saved by not being there in the midst of such chaos. There is nothing easy about living through construction, so consider this before such an undertaking.
The house was built in the late 1920s and has had a number of remodels throughout the decades, not all of them good. While the kitchen had been updated sometime in the past 10-15 years, the previous owners did not make very good use of the available space and views. As I have said before, nothing trumps a view, and now the kitchen has a view worthy of the expense and frustration of construction; the view now features rolling hills, great sunsets, and wonderful light all day long. The removal of some upper cabinets allowed for a corner window to be added to a full bank of windows along the back of the house. The double patio doors along this same side was the only thing that did not change; these doors were the best of the previous remodel.
Prior to this most recent remodel, there were cabinets in the way of the view, and not much in the way of continuous counter space. One of my favorite changes was the addition of a coffee bar across the room. It was a bottle neck; and early in the morning it was difficult to get around, especially when everyone was caffeine deprived.
There are decks on all sides of the house, which allows one to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors at anytime of the day. One door bisected the flow of the kitchen and was never used. This door was closed off and French doors were added around the corner in the dining room, allowing for semi-al fresco when the doors are open.
Removing a peninsula allowed for a large island that offers substantial counter area casual dining space on stools; one side holds not only a microwave drawer, but loads of storage too. Without the peninsula, there is a greater sense of open space which allows for a better traffic pattern. The island feels a bit large at first, but only because those of us who knew the space before, not used to having all that space. As is often the case, the island allows the kitchen to feel larger than it is; the footprint is exactly as it had been.
The beautiful, original fir floors were simply sanded down and refinished and will serve the family well for decades to come. The floors add the warmth of history to the beauty of the new kitchen.