Kitchen Remodel/The general idea

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The general idea

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Obvious goals

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The obvious goals for everybody who is planning a kitchen remodel are, among others:

  • Replacing run-down or outdated elements
  • Getting prettier cabinets, countertops, lighting and flooring
  • Making a kitchen more functional
  • Adjusting a kitchen to one's own way of using it

Functionality: In the case of my remodel, one of the major goals was to make the kitchen larger, first of all to create more cabinet space but also to improve the traffic situation and to create more space for people to work in the kitchen. By changing the layout, we went up from 248 sqft (28 m²) to 346 sqft (32 m²). We achieved this by sacrificing some closet space, but mostly by converting the previous hallway into a pantry.

Design and architectural considerations

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Before remodel
After remodel
The kitchen in context, before and after the remodel. Notice the visual axes (blue and purple arrows).

A kitchen remodel is not just about replacing something old with something new. It is also more than taking ownership of a space or improving something in terms of functionality.

It is also about design and architecture.

Everybody can design. Everybody can understand design and architecture, those two fields are not necessarily secret sciences. Common sense plays a huge part in them. The most critical difference between an amateur and a professional is that the latter will be much faster coming up with really good design ideas, and they may also be more articulate about what they are doing and why they are doing it and how they are making choices.

Whoever lives in a space, will be affected by its design. The design of a space will influence their behavior and affect their mood. Some people may be more articulate about their experience of a space than others, probably because they are more trained; but everybody will feel it and respond to it.

What struck me in our recently bought new home, was the shape of the living space. This living space is a linear ensemble which comprises a sitting area, a dining area and a small courtyard. It is relatively narrow and very long (more than 50 ft/15 meters). This ensemble is nothing less than a elongated tedium: it is very interestingly structured indeed, with a vaulted ceiling and other elements which define a number of distinct subspaces.

But the linearity of the space was linked to me with the idea of a visual axis. From my sitting area I can gaze into the far away courtyard, and vice versa (see drawing, blue arrow). I loved that right from the beginning. I loved that so much that, at some point, I thought: how cool would it be to have more of this – another visual axis.

The natural answer was to remove the weirdly recessed wall that separated the living space from the kitchen (see drawing, purple arrow)…

This modification would create an open floor plan: a concept that was very smoothly compatible both with the style of the house, a Contemporary, and our personal lifestyle, which is rather kitchen centered.