My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

Breakfast nook dining tableBanquette inspiration photo: BHG

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend! Last week I shared a new idea for our kitchen that I’m pretty intrigued with! If you missed the post, you can find the inspiration photos and thoughts here.

Kitchen Before Photo

Our current kitchen is tucked into the small back corner of the house, with the sink below a small window overlooking our neighbor’s new house and our side-yard, which is currently getting a fun makeover of its own (see that project here).

Kitchen Door - Before

My plan is for this door to become a Dutch Door, no matter what. I’m going to try to make it happen soon, in conjunction with our side-yard makeover! Right now I’m on the hunt for the right door and getting the contractor on board with my visions :). You can find some inspiration photos for what I envision, here.

Dining Room Before Photo

As I mentioned in my last post about the kitchen, right now I’m picturing moving the kitchen to the dining room so the sink can be oriented to face the backyard to take advantage of the view. The stove and fridge could be on the opposite wall (behind that wall is our basement staircase, so moving that wall would create more complications).

Dining Room - TIR - Before

One possibility would be to open up the wall between the current kitchen and the dining room to create more flow between those two spaces. We could add the arch we originally envisioned (remember our painter’s tape archway?) for the dining room, or for a more wide open layout, we could actually take the entire wall out.

Kitchen Before Picture - The Inspired Room blog

If the kitchen was going to remain where it is, that wall was needed for the stove so removing it wasn’t ideal, but if we move the stove to the dining room, that in-between wall could be opened up to make the two rooms feel more like one space (although the kitchen actually extends beyond that wall towards our fridge and the outside door, I’ll have to draw out the room floor plan so you can visualize better).

There are several possible dining room options, including the possibility of creating one bigger eat-in kitchen with the outer perimeter of the space lined with counters and the dining table across from the sink.

There are definitely pros and cons to that plan (as there is for every configuration so far, but that’s often how it goes unless you are going to rip the roof off and expand the house! It seems you always have to get creative with the space available to you!). I can share inspiration photos and do a floor plan for that full ‘eat in kitchen’ soon so you can see how that could look.

Kitchen Photo Before

But the idea I thought I’d show today is the possibility of creating a dining banquette (one way or another I feel like I’m determined to find a space for a banquette!) right in this corner.

It would still essentially be an “eat-in kitchen” but the table could be nestled comfortably into one corner of the room, rather than out in the open workspace (with a bench along the wall under the corner window and around where the sink and dishwasher currently are). Paired with a narrow movable farm table and chairs, I think it would be very a intimate and inviting space without feeling too crowded or confining.

banquette dining eating nook amber interiorsBanquette inspiration photo: Amber Interiors via My Domaine photography by Tessa Neustadt

Now, I realize with a corner banquette that you will have a couple of seats in the middle that require you to scoot to get in and out, but the view from the bench would be worth it. You could see right out the back window to the view in the day or into the new kitchen and through to the living space. Plus, banquettes are just so charming and space saving, that it would be worth the extra scoot. If you didn’t want to scoot or couldn’t scoot, there would be chairs! Our bench wouldn’t be that long anyway, so I’m not really worried about it. There wouldn’t be enough room for a full table with chairs all around it, anyway, so the built in seating would be the best solution in this small-space situation.

We would have to give up a formal separate dining room but we would be gaining a bigger remodeled kitchen with a view. I can live with that! I think the updates we would make would appeal to future buyers, too. The more casual and open but very charming dining space would be great for the way many people live and entertain these days. And if we (or future owners) wanted a separate formal dining room down the road, a nearby bedroom could be easily converted to a dining room.

Kitchen Before Photo - The Inspired Room

We could add built-in dish storage cabinets and even a serving buffet on the back wall of the existing kitchen, where the fridge is currently located, to give it a charming dining room vibe. With the stove wall removed on the right of this photo above, there would be room to pass through the kitchen out to the Dutch door as well as to get around the table even if people were sitting there.

There is also another entrance to this space (to the right of the existing fridge) from the hallway so guests could enter and exit the dining area without going through the kitchen! It’s nice to have a floor plan that flows well so you don’t have bottlenecks.

So, that’s pretty much what I’m thinking, at least for the moment! You never know what idea might pop into my head next (I can’t help it!!), but so far this is the idea we feel the most comfortable with and seems to make the most sense both financially and space-wise. Now that we’ve lived here for a few months, I really feel like I’m becoming more certain of what works and doesn’t work and what would be the best improvements for this house.

Sunset - The Inspired Room New House

I love the idea of making the most of our water, mountain, sky and sunset views, so doing dishes while looking outside seems pretty much like a dream to me!

Dining Room Before Picture

We love the generous size of our current living room so we don’t want to cut it up to expand the kitchen or dining room into that space at all. We definitely have some plans to update that room so it will all feel cohesive, though.

Corner Banquette Ideas
Dining nook inspiration via BHG

It’s fun to reimagine a space, isn’t it?

More inspiration: My Lifelong Dream of a Banquette

My Kitchen Remodel: Windows Flush With Counter

Black Steel Windows Flush with Kitchen Countertop - Jill Sharp InteriorsJill Sharp Brinson seen in House Beautiful

Have you ever noticed kitchens with large windows that are nearly flush to the counters, often behind a sink? Well, I made an exciting discover about my own kitchen (and dining room) while I was on my Christmas break. More on that new development in just a minute!

As fun as it is for me, there are always dizzying amounts of options and decisions when it comes to remodeling a kitchen. Even when you need to work within the space you have and are on a budget (and maybe especially then), you still want your kitchen to turn out to be the best it can be so it is well worth the time to wrestle through the options.

So far I have shared my dream of a Dutch door, my intent to let my house evolve into a bit of a modern farmhouse style mixed with 1950s cottage leaning, and my desire to stay within the footprint of the original home, rather than to add on.

Kitchen Photo Before

Remember this corner with the little desk area? I had shared about the possibility of adding a built-in bench, since it would fit well under the window. The desk/lower counter area is always a clutter magnet so the bench seemed like a more useful and charming solution for our family. I love that idea.

All this time I’ve been thinking (simply because I didn’t measure it) that it wasn’t possible to have a regular height counter space below this window. But over Christmas break I asked myself (ok, so do you talk to yourself when you are decorating your house? I’m a bit weird, I suppose, my house talks to me AND I talk to myself!) if I was certain a regular height counter could not fit below it.

Of course, I was certain it wouldn’t fit because that is what I had been thinking all along. But just in case, I got out my measuring tape, googled the height counters should be and texted my mom to measure the height of her new countertops from the floor. Much to my surprise, there was actually plenty of space below the window to install regular (to even higher than regular) height counters without getting new windows. Hmmmm.

When we first saw the house we thought a sink under a new window with a view to the backyard would offer the most pleasing view. But even with the kitchen corner window accommodating a higher countertop, a sink in that location might feel a little scrunched.

Dining Room - Before

But here was my bigger epiphany, if the windows in the kitchen were high enough for a counter, it opened up an even more intriguing idea in the dining room where there is another window. Sure enough, it too was high enough for a countertop below it.

What if I actually moved my kitchen to the dining room and opened up the wall between the two rooms a bit more, and put the sink under the big window? My eyes got really big when that option popped into my head. Suddenly my heart was all a flutter!

The dining room window has the best wide open view, it would feel amazing to stand at a sink there and do dishes all the day long (well, not the dishes part, but you know what I mean)!

We had considered removing the wall before, but the placement of the basement stairs and the current stove location prevented that kitchen arrangement from feeling right. But by reorienting the kitchen with the sink towards the backyard, opening the wall a bit more makes sense. I will share more about how that kitchen configuration might work as well as dining space options in a future post.

Farmhouse Kitchen Sink - Counter Flush with Window - Jan Gleysteen Architects
Jan Gleysteen Architects

But can you do that, have a kitchen counter basically flush with a window? That’s what I was asking myself at that point. I started searching Pinterest and Houzz and the web for examples to confirm this and of course, after seeing it, I realized how much I love this look. SO MUCH LIGHT! Especially when you have a beautiful view out to the backyard!

So yes, yes you can. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is my favorite (and most practical idea) for behind a sink and with a view, especially if you have extra deep counters for breathing room behind the faucet (which would be possible in our dining room!). Big windows above a sink are always a dream!

The Inspired Room Kitchen Farmhouse Sink - Better Homes and GardensMy previous kitchen in BHG

My old house had a huge window above the sink, but it had a several inch high backsplash that was really a bit awkward to keep clean as it made the area behind the faucet a bit cramped. Deeper counters would offer plenty of space behind the faucet, limiting most of the splashing to the countertop which would be pretty easy to clean.

In my post today I’m sharing a few kitchens with flush (or nearly flush) windows and countertops to get the ideas flowing! The styles may be different than what I will have, but the idea of a big unobstructed window directly across from the sink is pretty appealing to me!

Counter Height Kitchen Sink Window - FlushTraditional Home

Kitchen Window - Flush With Counter - WesterbroekWesterbroek

Kitchen Windows at Counter Height - Liz Firebaugh of Signature KitchensLiz Firebaugh of Signature Kitchens

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on design and trends the other day, I’ve been enjoying your comments! I always love hearing from you!

Related posts:

10 Reasons I Removed My Upper Kitchen Cabinets (my previous kitchen)

7 Tips for Planning a Kitchen Remodel

My posts on eBay:

6 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger

10 Clever Kitchen Space Savers

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