Welcome back!

I can’t wait to share the kitchen plans with you all…they are awesome. Full disclosure, though: We hired out the kitchen. GASP! Listen, we love to tackle a good, big, meaty project, but we also know when to call in a pro. We knew going into this that we wanted to get as much bang for our buck in the space as possible. That meant we were going to have to do a full gut AND move the location of some of the appliances. We also knew we wanted to convert from an electric range to natural gas. Read: Major plumbing and electrical changes, plus messing with natural gas lines. Know your limits, folks! Remember what the kitchen looked like before?

I know the lighting in those pictures helps it to look so pretty, but here’s a photo in natural light:

Obviously, it’s extra terrible because it was taken as we were moving in. But you know what the sad part is? This was after my friend and I had spent LITERALLY HOURS scrubbing the entire room down #shudder.

As you can see, the peninsula caused a weird traffic pattern in the kitchen. I know many of you know exactly what I’m talking about, because you have this same floor plan in your home. Isn’t it horrible? And the bank of upper cabinets made the room feel so closed off that it caused some serious claustrophobia for this chic. The lack of natural light was further accentuated by the dark appliances and heavy curtains. I mean, there’s a GORGEOUS, park-like yard just outside this window–enjoy it!

What you can’t see in any of these pictures was the other challenge. Where I’m standing in the above photo was a small entryway into the kitchen. But just to the left of where I’m standing was a wall. That bit of info is important for when you see the plans. The wall housed an air return for the HVAC system that HAD to stay in place. So we had to get creative in a work-around. Fortunately, the contractor we hired had a handy program on his computer, and together we came up with a plan for how to make the most of the kitchen space:

Yes, those are cell phone photos of a computer screen. I said he was a great contractor, not that he was computer savvy! The top rendering shows the wall I was talking about–the wall to the left of the pass-through counter. The prior opening was only about 3 feet wide, so based on these plans the contractor was going to have to break down half of the wall to the right of the opening and fix another air return. That one didn’t go to the ceiling, though, so it wasn’t as big of an issue.

In the second photo, you can see that the peninsula is gone, the refrigerator is moved, and the room is opened up so that the path going to the door is clear. From this point, it was up to me to select finishes and request a few adjustments to make the room more useful for us on a daily basis. I’ll share those details with you next time, along with pictures of the process.

Obviously, I’m taking you back a ways in the progress of our home. We have lived here for about a year now, so I’m trying to get you up to speed with where we are today. But this was by FAR the greatest improvement to date. Those of you who live in split-level homes, please tell me in the comments section: What did you do to make your kitchen more bearable? Also, where do you store your pantry goods? I can’t wait to share the ins and outs of this project — I promise you that there is something in this kitchen renovation for EVERYBODY to drool over, so stay tuned!

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