Monday, May 14, 2012

How To Make the Kitchen (Seem) Larger

We are trying to expand our 10x10 kitchen not by building outward, but by combining our kitchen and dining areas into one large space.  

In the original floorplan of the house they were two separate rooms, divided by a wall and door.   It remained that way for 50+ years, until we came along.

Here's what we needed to do:

  1. Demo the wall between the kitchen & dining room, having it evaluated first to learn whether it was a supporting load-bearing wall or not.  Turns out no.  Yay!
  2. Have the electrical switch & wiring for the dining room light moved elsewhere.
  3. Address the flooring, having created a big gap in the floor by removing the wall.
  4. Come up with ways to tie the spaces together (matching cupboards?  Paint colors?  etc.)
  5. Add more lighting
  6. Change the dining room window into a patio door leading to a deck of some kind.

First, the wall came down between the two rooms.

This wall used to separate the kitchen & dining areas.

We tore it down as soon as we moved in.  But hints of it remained exposed for years...  What an eyesore.

Baby makes a big show of leaping over this hole.

But then there was still a smaller remaining piece of the wall, and it blocked our view to the outside world which a) sucks and b) is unsafe with little kiddies playing in the yard.

The Little Troublesome Wall.
So we decided it needed to go too.

Daddy and Baby check out where the wall will be cut out

Yay!  We can finally see outside!!
Open space?  Check.  Now, to make use of that space, we decided to make a shelf to sit on top of the opening.

We can use it not only as a small bar-height sitting area, but also as a platform for dishes coming and going to the backyard patio.

We opted to make the shelf out of MDF because it's a smooth and strong material to work with, and quite easy to handle.

Here's how we did it:

Measure it

Mark it

Cut 'er up

We had to go in manually to finish because the MDF cut-out broke off

Checking the fit!

Looking good!

This was the surface of the hole; a 2x4 was added to fill so we could drill in a shelf

we opted to drill, but not glue

Countersinking the holes, so the screws sit below the surface. Holes are filled for a smooth finish.

Adding moulding to round off the edges

And some brackets we had lying around for extra stability

First coat of paint, done while the hole-filler was still drying!

So...  Remember the wall dividing the kitchen and dining room?  Gone. 


After...  Ahhh, open space!

Remember the Little Troublesome Wall?

Gone!  And now there's a nicer and brighter new range hood.

And there you have it!

We are so happy with our decision to open up the space.  Making two rooms into one was an easy decision, but cutting out the small wall was a last-minute add-on.  Sometimes it's the small things that can have the greatest impact.

Now we can see outside, the space lets in much more light, and there is no more visual barrier between the rooms.  Plus, we have a handy shelf and sitting area.

There are many more changes coming to the kitchen/dining area, so stay tuned!

We love to hear what you think, so please feel free to comment.  xo


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