Archives for February 2016

Freestanding Kitchen Islands and Carts

Freestanding Kitchen Islands and CartsBeautiful kitchen and freestanding island from Williams Sonoma

Greetings, friends! Hope you all had a great weekend! I really enjoyed sharing my floor plan ideas last week and dreaming with you about the possibilities for our kitchen layout! I will be back to share a few additional and updated ideas for other parts of our floor plan (including answering the big question of where I’m thinking we could potentially add a second bathroom on the main floor!) but first this week, I thought we could talk about kitchen islands!

Years ago I designed an island that I had custom built on site by a cabinet maker in my English Tudor kitchen. I absolutely loved it. It had plenty of wonderful dovetailed drawers for storage, built-in shelves on one side for cookbooks and a Brazilian Cherry countertop that made it feel like a beautiful piece of furniture in our kitchen.

In our last house we customized an unfinished freestanding island for our kitchen. It wasn’t quite as luxurious as our previous built-in island, it was definitely still charming and useful.

While I intend to resist buying (or designing) a new island for our kitchen until we are certain of our remodeling plans (and until we know the exact size and shape of the space it would occupy) I thought I would share some great free-standing islands and carts I’ve run across during my kitchen dreaming and researching.

A movable or rolling piece can be a great addition to many sizes and styles of kitchens, offering design flexibility, more counter space and additional storage! If you have a small kitchen you might still be able to use an island, note that number five, below, folds up compactly for tucking around a corner or against a wall when not in use! Some of these islands even offer free shipping and could arrive within the week, so if you are impatient like I sometimes feel, a freestanding kitchen island could make a pretty quick and painless update to a kitchen.

Do you have a kitchen island or dream about adding one?

Freestanding Kitchen Islands and Carts

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14

Freestanding Kitchen Islands and CartsWilliams Sonoma

See 12 more inspiring kitchens with freestanding islands here!


Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}Reef Cape Cod’s Home Builder

Thank you all for your enthusiasm and for putting your thinking caps on as we are planning out our remodel! I read each idea you have and run right over to look and see if it would work :) so it’s like you are right here with me!

If looking at before photos and dreaming up floor plans is not your thing, you might want to come back to visit another day because today is PART TWO of our two part tour of the BEFORE photos and floor plans (see part one here if you missed it). This is kind of a long post but I hope it helps everyone who is interested to get perspective on the space so you’ll know what I’m talking about as we start to plan and execute the actual design features.

Now that you have the general idea of the new kitchen plan, I thought today we would take a little tour around the rest of the main living areas (just the entry/living/dining for now) so you can see where I think doors and walls could be opened wider or removed. Hopefully this will give you a better sense of how the space could flow better with minor adjustments :).

As I said yesterday, my goal is to preserve the foot print of this house as much as possible and make the most of the space we have available!

Here again are the before and proposed floor plans so you can follow along more easily. If you want to go back and see the kitchen plans and photos, you can find that post HERE.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

Before Floor Plan (above)


Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

Proposed floor plan (above)

Oh, before we start looking around, I wanted to mention just a few things that came up yesterday in case you were wondering:

–On our floor plan above we didn’t draw the island in any particular shape or size because I prefer to see the space opened up first before we decide. I feel like what looks good on paper might end up a bit cramped in real life once we get a better idea of the visual space. The island might be able to be longer, or more square might feel best, right now it is just hard to visualize and anticipate the exact size.

–I also want to make the kitchen, the stove, the sink and island all look good even from across the living room :) so I will definitely need to still work on the exact design and placement of each feature to make sure everything will be visually appealing as well as functionally efficient. I can share those ideas in future posts, too so you can follow along with all the pretty stuff, too.

–Even though at this point I feel like the best location for the fridge is to remain where it is (because it can be recessed into the wall and not be so visible from the main rooms) the fridge will be about eight steps from the sink (I’ve tested it out!). It will be a smallish kitchen so I think that layout will be OK, and perhaps worth a few extra steps between the two areas to keep the sink facing the backyard. I think it will be fun to figure out how to organize the kitchen cabinets around task zones and plan out each detail for the best efficiency and if that means moving the fridge and creating a mudroom entrance, we can do that! (more to come on that idea).

–I do have a possible option for changing the master bedroom/bathroom/or adding a powder room that isn’t shown on the floor plan yet. I will draw that out and show it in another post so I don’t overwhelm everyone with too many details at once.

OK, let’s start out as if we were standing just past the new Dutch door in the kitchen, facing in toward the hallway and basement staircase, with the fridge on our left.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}
Here the kitchen and basement doorways would be removed and the staircase partly opened with about 4 feet of railings to bring more light to the hall and to offer better access and flow from the hall to the new kitchen/dining room.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

Inspiration for our opening stairs via Logan’s Hammer.

This is how the stairs might look as viewed from the new kitchen Dutch door! We may even be able to open the staircase at the bottom like that too (we’ll show you the basement in a future post).

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}
When you stand here in our hall (the blue tape is from when we were painting), the kitchen is to the right, basement staircase to the left, my son’s room is behind us, hallway built-ins are to the left. The staircase would be opened up here with railings, and the wall straight ahead would be removed for access to dining room and kitchen.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

Here’s another view in the entry hall, now looking towards the kitchen, with the dining room entrance on the left.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

And if you stand in that same hallway facing the other direction, with the basement stairs to your right, you’ll see where we could close off the master bedroom and bathroom (more ideas to come in a future post for this space), and remove the door casing between the entry and dining room on the right to widen that entrance.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}
This is the current view from the door, my goal would be to remove the door frame to widen the entrance into the dining room (above).

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

The coat closet by the entry and dining room cannot be fully removed (as far as we can tell, because of head room to the staircase below), but the closet door casing and door could be removed and possibly cut back a bit more. The closet could be transformed into built-in bookcases that would help visually widen that small passageway to the main living areas, as well as to add character.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

If you are standing in our dining room looking toward the front door (which may also be a Dutch door) the short walls on the right (between the living and dining room) could be removed to open the space further.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

The wall with the doorbell chimes in the dining room is the basement stair wall. Halfway down that wall with the chimes (on the side toward the kitchen) is where you would see the new open railing on the staircase leading down to the lower level. You could head down the stairs from the entry hall or from the kitchen.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

Here is a good visual of the walls between the living room and dining room and the kitchen (above). You can see how if they were opened up, the entire space (and the area between the coat closet and front hall on the right) would have more breathing room. We’d feather in new flooring as needed in the kitchen and then refinish all the floors.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

With this new layout, the dining room will still be the dining room. We would still add a built-in cabinet to the left of the dining room window (which is the first thing you would see straight ahead when you enter house. We cannot add a French door there due to the height of the basement exterior entrance that is directly below).

We would add a banquette dining area beneath the dining room window, between the new cabinet and the kitchen, so there would be plenty of seating and a comfortable table.

Our Remodel Floor Plan {Part Two}

This view is looking from the kitchen and dining area toward the living room and the walls that would be removed between the dining room and living room. You can see that once the walls are removed, you’ll be able to see the windows in the living room all the way from this space, which I think will really look great. We will also do other cosmetic updates, like updating the fireplace in some way. The floors will also be refinished.

So, there you have it! The latest. I hope now that you’ve had a tour of the spaces and how they connect in their before state, it will be easier to visualize (or refer back to this post) as we dream up pretty ideas and make fun design decisions for each space. This is always the nitty gritty part of the process, but I’m pretty happy to feel like we are now headed in a good direction!