But as I mulled said kitchen, I thought: as long as she’s willing to take down that wall, let’s see what else can be done.
Stipulating: the designated dining area is too small to really be used thusly, so I am sacrificing it to be used as breakfast bar only. Formal dinners can be held in the main area of the apartment with some shifting of furniture. Most casual guests will eat, and certainly Studioren will eat, at the bar or on the couches in front of the TV. (that’s how I do it and since I am telling everyone how to run their life…. I actually have a formal dining room that gets frequent dinner party use, but other than that, we don’t use it much. This is going to change when I switch things up… the subject of a later post).
So here’s my new plan for Studioren’s kitchen renovation:
1) Bust through the wall into the living room, leaving a 42 inch opening in the center of the kitchen (which I am expanding to 7’ X8’).
2) Make the kitchen U shaped with a 24-inch efficient fridge to the left next to a 5-foot run of countertop (see rule number 1). Here's are some U-shaped kitchens.
This one is more traditional, but also acceptable.
3) Here are two fridge possibilities. I have called for a door that hinges on the left only because the counters are to the right – when she is loading in groceries they will be on the counter to the right. Otherwise I’d have the door hinged on the right so she could easily grab a drink or a snack from the living room.
4) On the “curve” of the U, a 30 inch slide in, gas, continuous grate range, preferably in stainless but white will work too (if the cabinets around it are also white). Continuous grates are great because they let you slide your pans all round when you are getting your Top Chef on.
Here’s one that would be kind of a splurge, but I like how it looks.
And here’s one in white for much less money that could work too…
But if Studioren can cough up the cash , the first will be lovely to look at from the living room.
5) On the right as you walk in the kitchen would be another run of countertop with the sink centered. That counter could be extended a bit into a curve – more surface area – and poking another 12 inches or so into the former dining area. It’s enough room for 3 or 4 people to sit (look four counter height stools, not bar height stools) and eat or drink comfortably. No upper cabinets here, I beg of you. (see rule number 3). I will consent to upper cabinets next to and over the fridge. But only there.
6) As for the sink: the trend is for a deep sink (so you can hide your dishes in it from guests I suppose) but it’s hell on the back to wash dishes in a deep sink. You’re forever hunching over. A shallow, wider sink is easier to use (but splashes a bit more, and you can’t hide the dishes. But face it, everyone can see your dirty dishes anyway, and everyone expects to see them when they come for dinner. I am always unnerved when I go to dinner at someone’s house and the kitchen is spotless. Makes me think I am about to eat gussied up take out.) My father, the Tile King, built my sink to spec out of Absolute black granite and it is fantastic: 36 inches wide, 7 inches deep, apron front.
7) I don’t know Studioren’s height, but she should consider raising the countertops a bit from the standard 36 inches. I’m tall and mine are 38 inches tall and it saves my back. It was easy to achieve: just affix a run of 2X4s on the floor like rails and attach the base counters to them. Voila. The toe kick area will be taller – maybe 6 inches – but you can get wood cut to fit, or do like I did and install mirrors. They will bounce light into the room and make the counters look like they are floating. I installed sections of a wonderfully aged ancient wall stud I had removed to make room for a door. It was cut down to look like short legs for the cabinets, and those are in front of the mirrors appearing to support the floating cabinets.
8) For a bit more storage, I’d like to see the two 2-foot wide walls that bookend the sink/bar area covered from counter height to ceiling(almost) with 4-inch deep open shelves (with lips). And give it the Mason jar treatment (see rule number 7).
9) On the living room side of that same wall, install magazine racks (from floor to ceiling, if it works).
Or just put up these: http://www.amazon.com/Ollipsis-Holder-Magazine-Polished-Chrome/dp/B000CCDCII
***UPDATE*** I am thinking about the layout and the sink is probably currently on the wall backing up to the bathroom. Moving plumbing can be expensive, so if need be for budget reasons the sink can go next to the fridge, though that's not optimal. I don't want to move the range to the bar side, because that interferes with the guests at the breakfast bar... this isn't a cooking show, after all. The fridge could go directly across from where it is now, back to the guests. But the back of the fridge will have to be concealed, and something clever done with it, if it's going to sidle up to the bar. Perhaps (speaking of bar): Studioren builds narrow shelves up the back to serve as the bar? Backs them with mirrors. Installs a row of bourbon and tequila and scotch, then a row of low ball glasses and martini glasses? Then I suppose she would also need gin and/or vodka on the row above. But guests can help themselves to drinks. Hmm.
Who has other ideas? Let's give this Brooklyn grrrl an awesome, inexpensive kitchen.