I love looking at how people store things - especially in their kitchens. I like learning other people’s reasoning for things, I like snooping, and I always like to improve on my own spaces. So, I filmed one of my own kitchen! However, mine isn’t perfect. This whole kitchen was a stopgap solution until we could renovate the space (coming soon!) so there’s no fancy pull out drawers, no custom spice racks, no perfectly sized shelves, and certainly no perfect layout.Read More
Thank you all SO much for your feedback on my proposed layout changes last week! I really don’t know how I ever made decisions without the feedback of thousands of people.
Last week, I introduced two floor plan options and asked folks to vote but kept the results a secret. Wanna know what people favored?Read More
If you know me IRL, or if you’ve been here awhile, you may have noticed I’m really indecisive and over think things WAY too much. I’ve been designing my kitchen for nearly FOUR YEARS now. I made minor upgrades to my current kitchen because I thought we’d only live with it for a mere 6 months. Well, here we are 4 years later and I’m still designing the future space. BUT! I think I may have come up with the best layout that makes the fewest compromises and sticks to a more reasonable budget! Check it out and let me know what you think.Read More
Redesigning the kitchen layout has been a doozy! I first talked about it in this post seven months ago where I laid out our must-haves, some sketches, a video walk-through, and a few thoughts on the matter. I asked readers to share their designs and give me feedback, so that’s what I’m here to do today - after a brief half a year of noodling on the designs.Read More
I've spent the past three years trying to decide on a new layout for the back of our house. We've come up with lots of ideas, but there is ultimately always a compromise of some sort and we struggle with identifying what we want to give up on. I think we've solidified a plan, but I'm still not 100% so I want your feedback!
Below is the existing floor plan.
We have three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a nice flow between the spaces that makes the house feel airy yet not too open. The ceilings are nine feet tall so even though our house comes in at just under 1,400 square feet, it still feels perfectly spacious. I love this little abode.
But, here's what we don't like.
The master bedroom is accessible only by walking through another bedroom, or the kitchen. It's fine right now when the guest bedroom is actually just a TV room, and access to the kitchen is very convenient for rolling out of bed straight to breakfast. But, I'd like to access the master without tripping over a sleeping house guest or a stove.
We'd like to have a second bathroom in the house, ideally in the form of an ensuite off the master bedroom.
The kitchen layout isn't the most functional. It's decently sized but with wasted space on half of the room and with the two mudrooms. These two little rooms are inefficiently used for storage, and the walls block all of the natural sunlight from the back of the house.
We want a more indoor/outdoor feel. Right now, the only backyard access is through a door that's tucked away in a mudroom. We'd like to see the kitchen and the master extend into the outdoor space.
Here's the plan I'm toying with:
In this new layout, we'd gain a second bathroom, a bigger closet, both the kitchen and the master the would open up to the backyard, and we'd access the master through a hallway instead of another room. YAY! The only compromise is that the guest bedroom would get significantly smaller. To remedy the small space, I'll add transom windows over the guest room and hallway doors so natural light can flow between all the spaces. We will also install pocket doors to gain as much floor space as possible.
Here are each of the floor plans side-by-side so you can see the changes.
Since it's hard to visualize a space that you've never set foot in, I put together a video walkthrough using the renderings I created to design the floorplan. Take a look at the 2-minute video below for a better idea of the house will flow.
Reducing the size of a bedroom isn't ideal, I know. But the other options I played with had much bigger compromises. We toyed with adding on into the backyard, making the master accessible from the dining room, by jogging the hallway over to not take away bedroom space, and so many more.
If you're into floor plan configurations, cycle through the ones below. The differing rendering styles are because some are mine, some are from the previous owner's plans to add on, and the others were sketched by Ross' uncle who we cornered at a family reunion to brainstorm a bunch of ideas together. He's a prison architect - yes, prisons - but in a nice rehabilitative way. I have probably 30 other drawings in a notebook, but looking at them is too exhausting. If you're a layout nerd, let me know and maybe I'll upload the rest of them.
So, tell me! Any thoughts? comments? questions? concerns? I genuinely am interested in what you have to say! I'm not an expert, and I haven't lived in a variety of houses to know how different designs function but I'm taking inspiration from house tours, blogs, online images, books, and asking all the pros I can. Please weigh in - whether you're an expert or not! If you want to sketch up an idea to send my way, here's a pdf of the current floor plan.
We're taking this project on in phases, but phase one starts soon, so speak now or forever hold your peace! Note also that the kitchen isn't fully fleshed out. The renderings are not the final layout and most certainly not the finishes you can expect in the kitchen remodel - so stay tuned for that.
Thanks in advance for your feedback!
When we bought the house, all of the kitchen cabinets were adorned with handles in the shape of twigs. All cabinets but one - the drawer under the sink had a knob in the likeness of a rooster. So stylish, so festive. While I love foliage and fowls, I decided to swap them out for new pulls. Since we were seeking stopgap solutions for a phase 1 upgrade, inexpensive options were a top priority. I know I'm not the only one that likes to be nice on the budget, so I've compiled a list of cabinet hardware pieces for under $10, just for you!
When searching for budget pieces, it's easy to head straight to the big box store, but can you believe that many of those are handmade?! And all of them are under $10? And one of them is made of cork? And another with leather?
We went with #11 and #12 in nickel, but I have eyes for a few of those other pieces. Which are your favorites?
The kitchen has seen a wild transformation! So far, I've shared the plans, the concrete counter DIY, and three tutorials for adding more work space - check out those posts here. But the floors! The new flooring made the kitchen into a wonderfully different space - a big improvement from the sad termite-filled fir. I couldn't have been more excited to get started on the quick/cheap/transformative project of giving my kitchen floors a fresh buffalo check pattern. This DIY kitchen transformation using vinyl floor tiles is among my favorites yet - and it costs about as much as it does to paint a room!Read More
The phase 1 kitchen earned several upgrades already, like new paint, hardware, concrete countertops, and even more countertops. However, the floors didn't get much love other than a coat of poly when we refinished the the rest of the floors. As much as I love the fir, the wood was pretty damaged. Nearly every plank had either huge gouges or was brittle from years of termites gnawing on the softwood. The previous owner made attempts at repairing the mangled boards by filling the cavities with wood putty, but it definitely didn't help the aesthetics.
These photos don't do justice to the damage. We lived with the flooring as-is for a couple of years letting those termite gaps fill up with a hefty amount of cat litter and crumbs. But, I lost my patience and had to remedy it. Knowing that the kitchen will eventually get a full gut renovation, I had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted without it impacting the future plans - even if it pushes my design boundaries. So, I jumped on to the graphic look and committed myself to installing a funky pattern that I like, but wouldn't be my first choice for a permanent kitchen floor. This transitional renovation fix lets me get the bold/graphic/retro vibe out of my system before having to make the forever-flooring decision. Win win.
At first, I was sure that I would install the checkerboard pattern to get that retro diner vibe. But after a few Photoshop mock-ups, I realized that with the large amount of uninterrupted floor space, the high contrast of black and white was too busy and could give us vertigo. The idea of modern geometric shapes was also appealing, but I worried I'd spend years cutting the tiny pieces. It didn't take much for me to fall for the buffalo check pattern. The grey neutralizes the high contrast black and white, while also adding texture with the illusion of the weaving pattern. It also has enough style that I can feel confident I didn't play it too safe.
Since this was merely a temporary solution that really only needed a bandaid, I found a flooring solution that was quick, cheap, effective, and super easy to install. The perfect improvement project for a newbie DIYer or renter.
I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. The installation went swimmingly and the result is sleek, clean, and full of personality. Come back next week to get the full tutorial and link to all of the sources! Subscribe, so you don't miss out.
The biggest challenge with many kitchens is a lack of work surfaces. It's a pain to cook without sufficient countertop space, right? Yet, it's easy and inexpensive to DIY a spot to prep and cook. So, I bring you three super simple ways to add custom counters for cheap.
There are oodles of rolling bar cart options like this, this, or this, to give you more space to work, and they are great! Some have additional storage, some have spots for wine bottles, and some have fancy hooks and bars for all of your kitchen needs. But they don't always fit a space perfectly. Sometimes the height doesn't line up with the existing counters, or there's a gap next to the range, or it blocks an outlet. I tried out three different methods to add valuable work surface to a kitchen that has a couple of empty nooks.
1. The Cabinet & Counter
Our range was centered on a narrow wall so we never had a spot to rest our tools or prep. With a few inches on either side of the appliance, the area was the perfect candidate for a new work surface and even some concealed storage. The search for a base cabinet started at Habitat for Humanity ReStore, then Home Depot and Lowe's, but I ultimately found the best size and cheapest option at IKEA. After wiggling the stove over, I had the perfect amount of room to wedge in this 18x24x30" SEKTION base cabinet.
I assembled the base cabinet according to the instructions provided. Instead of using the track system for the full kitchen cabinet installation, I used the components that mount it directly to the wall and supported it with the adjustable cabinet legs.
These cabinets don't come with a countertop, so I made my own. Butcher block was my first choice since wood is easier to work with than stone. However, even the cheapest slabs were too pricy and more material than I needed, so I used this piece of 3/4" pine that works swimmingly. In an effort to get as much surface area as possible, I made the wood overhang by 2” and notched out a spot for the door trim using my trusty jigsaw. I also sanded the corners to match the round profile of the range.
To finish, I coated the pine with food-safe Acrylacq so it could better stand up to the moisture in the kitchen.
Cabinet legs: $6
Acrylacq: left over from the concrete countertop project
Total Cost for The Cabinet & Counter: $86
2. The Custom Cleat Counter
The corner of the kitchen had been the home for a small breakfast table, but we never used it. A better use of the space was a long shelf to extend the existing counter. Instead of store-bought brackets (see #3), I used a cleat system. This technique provides strong support and gives the illusion of a floating countertop.
The first step was to identify the wall studs so the cleats would have something strong to sink into. I used my favorite technique from when I installed picture rail molding.
After finding all of the studs, the next step was to screw in lumber along the walls just below the counter. To find the height to screw in the cleats, subtract the thickness of the counter material from the height you want it off the floor. Make your mark, then using a level, draw the guide along all of the walls. It’s important that you make the cleats level so your food doesn’t roll off the counter!
I was lucky to have some scrap lumber, but you could get a few feet of 2x4s and cut them to size. I purposefully left a gap between the cleats so I could feed a power cord through to the top of the counter. It conveniently gets hidden behind the coffee maker.
I cut the pine panel to just a hair bigger than needed, then sanded it down until it was a snug fit. After cleaning up the edges, it got a coat of Acrylacq just like the cabinet counter.
Lumber & fasteners: already on hand
Acrylacq: left over from the concrete countertop project
Total Cost for The Cleat Counter: $35
3. The Off-The-Shelf Shelf
I used these brackets with this white melamine board to create out-of-the-way kitchen storage. It's as easy as hanging the brackets in the studs, then screwing the top to them. Simple dimple. We use this counter space to get the microwave out of the main part of the kitchen, store some small appliances, and plop things that are going in and out of the house. It's such a helpful spot to dump stuff, but over time, the board started to sag. See it bowing in the photo? It also started to tilt forward, so we had to reinforce it with some L brackets. Not a big deal, but it certainly doesn't have the floating cleat counter look.
Shelf brackets: $26
Melamine board: $13
L brackets: $6
Total Cost for The Off-The-Shelf Shelf: $45
For a grand total of $166, we gained 10.5 feet of additional counter space (and a few shelves)! While we were lucky to have lots of room to expand, I’m certain that even adding a 6” shelf between the range and the counter in a small space would do wonders. Each of these projects can be done in a weekend and are great for a rental. How would you upgrade the work surface in your kitchen?