Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Castles in the Sky

Or, "Cabinets in the Kitchen." It makes no difference, because one is as real as the other, unfortunately.

However, dreaming can be fun, so I downloaded the Ikea kitchen design software and went on with my imagined redesign of the kitchen. I'd been playing with various configurations for some time in my other 3 remodeling software packages, but this really works well 9this year - last year's crashed on me too much to bother with). We're considering Ikea as a source for reasonably priced cabinetry that we can install ourselves, so this gave me a nice idea about how much it might be to get the whole mess from them (under 7 grand, including fripperies like a stove and a dining area, and not including shipping). There's the added fuzzy of following a kind of tradition - the house and everything in it having originally been ordered from catalogs - even if this is just a pipe dream.

First, here is a rough approximation of what we've got now, Ikea-style:

I'm guessing, from the five or so cabinet doors we found cobbled into a shelf in the cellar, that there was a basic kitchen built-in on the side where the counter is now, possibly also an icebox. The corner cabinet I roughed in in this is a homemade affair, cobbled together (fairly well, actually) form odds and ends of plank and tongue-and-groove boards, and goes from floor to ceiling. I like the midcentury steel cabinets, but they don't go with the house, and we need more storage and more counterspace.

Problems with the kitchen as it stands:
  • As you can see, there's LOTS of wasted space.
  • The current sink location is both counterintuitive and just plain bad - the supply and waste pipes go through an unheated space under the original back porch).
  • There's kind of a work triangle, but not really.
  • If we want a vent hood, we will have to cut through the outer wall of the house if the stove stays where it is. Not good.
  • There's no eating in the kitchen without traffic bumping into the hapless person next to the door.

So I have a few things in mind to change, and some things to restore. I started out with a bare room and the knowledge that the original location of the kitchen sink was where the range is now, the stove had been in the inset where our dinette is now, and went from there. I got this:

Wow. I went with one of the more traditional "modern" cabinet fronts, "√Ądel," on "Medium Brown," as it seemed more like what was once here. I put the range in the original location of the cookstove, I moved the refrigerator over and put tall cabinets between it and the partial wall for expanded storage (including a broom/cleaning storage closet, which we do not now have), put cabinets on the stove wall, filling the awkward inset with useful things, and relocated the sink to the original sink location, under the short window.

In order to avoid removing or obscuring original features (the long windows, which let so much wonderful light into the kitchen), I elected to put kitchen carts or some other portable storage/workspace solution on either side of the sink. And the dining area? Where the existing sink is, so nobody gets elbowed or bumped during breakfast. The sink I picked is one of two that I really love in the Ikea catalog, the one that looks like a vintage farm sink.

It's so much more usable that I just want to buy it NOWNOWNOW. Of course, this is not possible, and will entail a great deal more than seven thousand dollars, such as living without a kitchen for a couple of weeks while we move plumbing around and install everything. Never mind the money.

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