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Form vs. Function-- which would you choose?

15 years ago

Here's my dilemma: Our house was built in '94, my husband and I bought it 18 months ago, and we have slowly been making cosmetic updates (scraping "popcorn" finish off ceilings, painting, changing doorknobs/light fixtures, etc.).

Now we are ready for a big project-- the kitchen. It's terrible. It has extremely cheap white painted cabinets (I mean, doors are warped, can see the seams on the boxes, etc.) white laminate countertops and brass hardware, and white linoleum floors. Needless to say, it needs work. We considered refacing the cabinets, but the layout of the kitchen is just not functional and the more we think about it, the more we lean towards just getting new cabinets.

Current layout (This was my first attempt, so dimensions are done by countertops, not cabinets (doh!) My new layout is measured correclty, so keep that in mind):

We've been getting some quotes from cabinet places and contractors, but we're starting to lean towards ordering online and trying a DIY install. Why? My husband is military and we will most likely be moving in 2-3 years. We don't want to spend too much money because we don't want to spend more than the value of our home. However, we want the kitchen to "stand out" compared to new construction. we don't have an open floorplan and only 8' ceilings, so we need something to compete with the generic builder-grade cabinets we see in all the new construction around here.

I've been playing with layouts and the StarMark cabinets from the MKFUSA site I saw posted on this site. I've come up with a layout I like (will post as soon as I get it scanned), basically we will be ripping out the pantry and moving the fridge there. But here's the catch-- to get the door style, finish, AND layout I want with all the functionality, we would go over budget once we included countertops, lighting, floors, backsplash, etc. So where should I compromise? Simpler door/drawer style? Change out drawer bases for door bases? Get them unfinished and finish ourselves? As a homeowner I'd hate to lose functionality, but as a potential seller, I know that having the right door style can be a huge "wow" factor. What do you think?

Current white-on-white-on-white Kitchen:

Comments (27)

  • 15 years ago

    I have been thinking a lot about this function over form thing lately. I am taking classes to become a kitchen designer. My teacher who is a seasoned pro KD talks mostly about function and what she'd have us do, just lacks the form that I would want to see (for instance, she thinks a good sized kitchen is not well designed if it does include 3 bases cabinets, each 36" draws for big things.... this would look like a morgue to me and I would NEVER put this in my own kitchen).

    Having said that I am learning a lot and just off the top of my head, my teacher would ask, can we move the garage door down toward the corner (perhaps leaving enough space on that wall where your range is currently for shallow pantry type storage). Moving the Garage door down will give you a bigger "L" to work with and will get your fridge, sink, and stove all on the same side of the kitchen so you aren't contending with issues of traffic.

    Also, I would seriously consider doing away with that big closet (I guess it is a walk in pantry, but looks like a closet you'd see in a bedroom). It would open things up for you and allow more flow around your peninsula which you may or may not want to keep.

  • 15 years ago

    Well it's funny, because my initial and immediate reaction is to choose function over form. It totally sucks to cook in a poorly planned kitchen.

    However, since you will be selling pretty soon (within three years) and competing against new build, I'd have to say I'd choose form with the shiny bells & whistles which make homebuyers' eyes light up.

    So I'm of bifurcated heart in answering your question. While I love the idea of moving your fridge to where the pantry currently is, I also think homebuyers get excited when they see a dedicated pantry.

    What door / drawer style / finish are you looking at? What were you thinking for countertops / backsplash? Would you be replacing appliances, sink, etc.?

    I guess my first thoughts are to make your kitchen appear as spacious as possible, with as much counterspace as possible (moving the fridge is a great start). Go with the pretty finishes (countertop / backsplash, etc.) because that's what'll help your house stand out in three years when you sell. I am gaga for drawer bases but that's my own kitchen; they cost considerably more than cabinet bases, and if you're selling then I'm not sure it'll be worth it. If you sell to a member of this forum then of course it would be! But I think the general public won't notice / care if you have drawers / cabinets as your bases.

    I'll check back to read what door / drawer style and finish you're thinking of.

    Good luck!

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    Thanks so much for all you opinions! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me. I am a bit overwhelmed at choosing the right layout, but it is still in the planning stage so I have time to change it so that it is the best possible! Here are the links for my inspiration pictures. I tried to layout my kichen similarly. The sink in the corner was an option, but I really do want to keep the pantry if it will look okay. I love it because it will hold all of my food.. I really do like the fridge on the same wall as my oven, but liked having all of the cabinets near the oven for pots and pans. If you think that I will have a more functional layout with the fridge on that wall, I will move it! Would I just then have a few uppers and lower drawers on the other wall next to the pantry? I kept those few feet near the back door for my water cooler, but can move it to the other wall, since I will have more room without the fridge there. You are so right about the garbage as well. The cabinet under the sink is basically wasted space, so I will add a garbage in that cabinet.I will play with the planner tonight and post my new pics. Here are the two pics that I really liked originally [Description[( Description For the second link, I couldn't link it directly to the kitchen photo. It is the kitchen picture of that house! One of the pics has the fridge on the other wall, and it didn't look too bad, but I am not sure of the size of the room either..
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    A little clarification (I'll be the first to admit I'm going about this bassackwards...): Originally, I only planned on painting the existing cabinets and painting, re-laminating, or replacing the countertops. Just a face-lift, no overhaul. Then someone suggested I switch the cabinet & fridge to improve the kitchen's function, and I couldn't get the idea out of my head. So, once I was already finished painting the upper cabinets, we moved the lower cabinet. Prior to moving the cabinet, marti8a made a mockup of what it might look like, and though not quite to scale, it does at least show you where the microwave is intended to go: If I'd known how much hassle painting cabinets and removing countertops and trying to squeeze form & function out of the current set up would be, I probably would have ordered new, self-assemble cabinets. At this stage, however, I'm so happy with how my painted uppers turned out that completely scrapping them would just about kill me (given the work I put in and the waste factor). And since I had already started the project, I probably should have left the lower cabinet alone, but it really is nice to have the extra counterspace, even if it's a pain trying to tie it together. I'm really hoping the uppers are "done", aside from adding in the microwave and making it look like it belongs. The shallow cabinet idea came from discussions about message centers, like this one: And from the fact that I'm not crazy about boxing in the fridge just for the sake of boxing in the fridge. I'd like it to have a little more purpose. In theory, the wee cabinet would be just big enough to hold a can of food or a box of light bulbs, and not so big as to jut out into the hall. Neither the cabinet nor the fridge box, should we go that way, would jut into the hall, even though it can look that way from a certain angle. They would line up with the wall and elongate the hall.
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  • 15 years ago

    What door style are you considering? If it's new and everything looks nice together, I'm not sure one door style could have that much more 'wow' over another, and it's hard to know what a future buyer will want. What materials are you planning for the other elements (counter, flooring, etc.)? Lighting and backsplash are things that can vary widely in cost. What wood for the cabinets?

  • 15 years ago

    mamadadapaige: It's hard when there are so many choices, each having its own (sometimes significant) effect on the budget and overall look and convenience! I've definitely decided that if we get new cabinets, that pantry will have to go. We'll hopefully replace it with cabinet pantries which won't be as spacious, but won't be impeding the flow of the room. I hope to move the fridge where that pantry is (see layout scan below).

    rmkitchen: I guess I should clarify what I mean when I say "form" vs. "function." When I say "form," I'm thinking of the overall look when you first walk in the kitchen. A more expensive door style, crown molding, end panels, stain/paint/glaze color, ect. all fall under the "form" category in my mind.

    When I say "function," I'm thinking of all the bells and whistles that you sometimes have to look closer to notice. These things would include drawer bases (which I don't think I can give up), pull-outs in the cabinet pantry (while the existing dedicated pantry IS great, it's in a terrible location and just doesn't make much sense), another pull-out pantry (see pic), super susans, a wine cabinet, pull-out trash, etc. These are the things that I know I would truly love and save me tons of headaches. But would a buyer notice those things if they didn't care for the door style??

    If we go with new cabinets, then our budget will probably only allow for "nicer" laminate countertops. We figure we could put granite on our existing cabinets, but if the next owner hates them as much as we do, they'd have to potentially ruin nice granite countertops just to get to them. If we have nicer cabinets, the next owner should easily be able to put whatever style of upgraded countertop on those that they want. The backsplash might have to wait-- all I know is some kind of tile. We'll probably get recessed lights to get rid of that fan, and maybe pendants over the peninsula. I'd also like undercabinet lighting, if the budget allows.

    Yes, we'd like to get SS appliances for resale as well, so that adds around $3500 to the budget if we go mid-range. I'm not sure about the sink or floors yet... I'm leaning towards wood floors to carry through from the living room (front doors opens directly into living room *yuck* and you look directly into the dining area of the kitchen from there). I know wood isn't the most practical, but I love how it looks and I'd like the house to appear more "open" by continuing the same flooring throughout the living areas.

    Take a look at the proposed layout and door style options and tell me what you think!

    Proposed Layout:

    My favorite door style, Harbor, but I would like it in an off-white finish:

    Here's Harbor again...

  • 15 years ago

    rhome410: You're right-- I think I'm putting too much stock in the door style. In the two I posted above, the cheaper one really isn't that much different. Although, I do believe the drawers would be different-- Habor drawer fronts would be more detailed, while I think Stratford are slab. That could be huge if I have a lot of drawer bases, right?

    I'm adding the link to the StarMark site-- maybe someone here can figure out the drawer front issue? It's too confusing for me...

    Here is a link that might be useful: StarMark Products

  • 15 years ago

    Although I do expect the housing market to recover, a three year timeframe is very short. Although I would normally be a function over form person, in this instance I can only recommend you do the absolutely least, cheapest upgrades possible.

    Unless the cabinets are literally falling to pieces, buy replacement doors (try Scherr's website), and either veneer or paint the sides to match. Frankly, although I can see your point about moving the frig, the pantry is a more saleable item. Change the door out to a door with a frosted glass panel to make it look less like a closet - you can get an inexpensive glass-paneled door, make a stencil with a calligraphic "Pantry", and frost the glass yourself with a can of spray from the crafts store.

    Keep all your appliances matching. If you have to stay with white appliances, pick a cab door color/style that will play that up. I'd install DIY granite tile countertops and backsplash, something in the white/gold/brown-flecked to harmonize with the appliances.

    Either replace the ceiling fan, or spray paint the metal to match the (possibly new) faucet. Measure over your stove to see if you can fit one of the microwave hoods in - I abhor them, but they are a great spacesaver.

    I'd spend no more than $4K total on doing this upgrade, no matter what the price point is for your property. Your flooring looks fine in the photo, so that is a big plus if you can keep it in top shape until you sell.

    The old recommendation of remodeling/updating a kitchen and then recouping a large percentage of the costs upon resale is probably NOT going to apply again anytime soon. That is a broken financial model, like so many other things these days, and the less you spend, the more you will come out ahead.

    Put your extra money into updating the bathrooms as well, and keeping the home and landscaping very well maintained. A property needs to be totally turn-key and decluttered to be a quick resale.

  • 15 years ago

    jkom51: I know that everythin you suggested is the absolute smart thing to do in this market. I guess I just don't want to get too hung up on the fact that we might move, because we'll always have options. My husband could put in for an extension here (we're in NC and he's in a somewhat "special" job where he may have the option of staying on for awhile), or we might rent the house out if we end up getting stationed overseas (something we're hoping for-- but I guess renting the place would be all the more reason not to put to much $$ into the kitchen!).

    But anyway, we MIGHT not have to sell in 2-3 years. We're in a fantastic gated community with lakes and a golf course, and we're one of the least expensive homes in the neighborhood. All of the new construction around is in cookie-cutter subdivisions. And while we're definitely not immune to this terrible market, we are at a slight advantage because we live near the biggest (population-wise) military base in the country, and it's growing because of BRAC. There will always be a demand for housing here (as long as the base is here)-- it's mostly a matter of competing with the new construction.

    Does that change the advice at all, or do I just sound like someone who really really wants her kitchen and is trying to convince herself it's the right thing to do?? :)

  • 15 years ago

    If your cabinets are in decent shape, I think I'd change the hardware, including swithing to concealed hinges and the knobs and pulls, put some color on the walls (mocha, sage, yellow, blue -- anything but more white), add a backsplash with some color or textural interest. I would replace the counters, sink and faucet. If you replace the counters with a dark top, that same door style with hidden hinges gives you a very current and fresh look.

    I would also get an all white or stainless DW and a counter depth fridge and look at updating the range and vent. You could look at pushing back the front of the pantry to be more flush with the cabinets and then put a frosted glass door (even sliding glass doors) to update that look. Replace the ceiling fan with a nice looking light fixture. All these things can be done with modest costs -- even DIY projects and will update the look.

    If it's looks, you can update this kitchen and give it a nice look without breaking the bank. However, the only way I see to improve function is to move thet garage door and get the range off that wall. That is going to get into a lot more construction cost than I would do for a home I'd be selling soon. I'd figure out how to deal with functional shortcomings because I know I expect a lot more out of my kitchen that most and that appearances are more important to most folks who are buying. If I were going to live there for the forseeable future, I'd make it the best I could.

  • 15 years ago

    "Does that change the advice at all, or do I just sound like someone who really really wants her kitchen and is trying to convince herself it's the right thing to do?? :)"

    Yes to both. ;-) Perfectly understandable, and we've all been guilty of it, so don't be hard on yourself. Sometimes it just has to be OK to do what doesn't make the best sense on paper, but is the best for yourself. I can't imagine the frustration of never being able to make a home 'yours' because of the frequent moves required by you already giving up so much to serve us all by taking on military life and all it entails.

    After what I said, I can see why you're in love with that door style! It's similar to my favorite, but even though this is supposed to be our forever house, I had to save on doors for higher priorities elsewhere. But those were for my family's priorities and based on our financial circumstances, so I'm not saying you should do the same. It's a personal and individually financial decision.

    I do think the 2nd choice door will look quite a bit better in the cream finish than it's looking in the oak. I don't think a buyer would really notice or that it would influence the sale of the house...So it's up to how you'll feel for the next 2-5 years and whether the extra expense is worth it to you. (Divide the extra expense into the months you'll be there...also add interest if you'll be paying this with any loan funds. When I was torn on the worth to me of some 'want' while we were building, I figured out how much a month additional I'd pay throughout our mortgage to have it, and see if it was a bargain or burden.)

    I really think that one way you can save some money and actually improve function is to eliminate that narrow tall pantry and just run counter to the fridge. It'll make that stretch of counter so much more useful, and it'll be nicer to have counter right next to the fridge for a landing space.

    It sounds like you're in a high end enough neighborhood to warrant a good remodel over a face lift...if it's within your means. And I think it's good thinking to put in good cabinets and a lesser counter, rather than trying to dress up inferior cabinets with granite.

  • 15 years ago

    There are things that can be done to make that kitchen have a better flow and give the look you like without spending tons of monney. Either way spend sometime to think about all your options and do whats best for you. A corner cabinet built up in the dead corner would go along way to fix that problem and a small island with drawers would give you the extra drawers your looking for or take out some of the existing cabinets and put drawers in those spaces. You could customize the look easily by adding crown molding ,new countertops and a nice back slash.

  • 15 years ago

    Also, if you want granite, take a look at the prefab granite options. You may find the pricing competitive with the higher end laminate you're currently planning on.

  • 15 years ago

    Hmmm... We got our cabinets from MFKUSA but went with Kabinart. We did the Fairfield doors with a Starlight finish - which is a creamy, buttery white. They're really lovely. The key thing for me was to have drawers with some detail because we have so many of them. The Fairfield has that. Dan from MFKUSA also said that for white finish, Kabinart had better pricing than Starmark so you might want to check out that line too. Here's a picture that also shows the landing next the fridge. It is a great space because we pull things out of the fridge for the microwave. I really like the set up. The dishes and tupperware are in the drawers underneath.

  • 15 years ago

    First of all, i don't think your cabinets are that bad. switching the hinges and changing the handles,plus doing a dynamite countertop and backsplash will make a HUGE difference. And although you say " I know that having the right door style can be a huge "wow" factor", that is only true if the potential buyer likes your taste! If not, it can easily be a "YECCCCH" factor.
    I spent a fortune on our cabinets , and though everyone who walks in comments on how beautiful they are, i would not go that route in the future. UNLESS of course we get an extra 10ish % of our condo value when we sell, because of the kitchen. Then we can talk.

    good luck


  • 15 years ago

    bethv... I'm so glad you posted pictures of your Kabinmart kitchen. MFKUSA is one of my options to weigh against IKEA. I was wondering how your experience turned out. So glad your happy and sorry to hijack!

  • 15 years ago

    rhome410: Thanks for your comments on military life. :) It's not the worst thing in the world, but it is a little frustrating having to justify even buying a house, let alone making it into a home. Maybe that's another reason I'm so set on having "my" kitchen! I might get rid of that 12" pull-out pantry. I guess the main reasons I have it is because a) it will make the refrigerator look more "built in" and b) it will be a convenient place to keep stove-top cooking items like olive oil, boxed foods, etc. It also has cookie pan storage at the top, which is kind of a big deal to me... But it might be worth the savings to just let that one go...

    bethv: I'm glad you posted, too! You were actually my original inspiration post. Since I started researching MKFUSA I started leaning more towards StarMark, but mainly for the lower cost of shipping. I am in contact with Dan as well, so maybe I will ask him about the white cabinet thing... I love the Fairfield style doors, but I'm thinking they're going to be up there in price with the StarMark Harbor style doors? I'll have to check it out. Kabinart shipping will be around $1000 for me, too.

    I also really like your microwave cabinet next to the fridge. I wish I could do that, but then I don't think I'd have anywhere else to put the pantry.... *sigh* Never quite enough room!

    Do you have more pictures of your Kabinart kitchen? I'd love to see them!

    lacuisine: The cabinets are a bit worse than they look in the pictures. Repainting and changing the hinges would help immensely, but they are still so worn down, warped doors, way dinged up corners, and several dysfunctional spaces, that they're just driving me crazy. I still know it'd be the smart thing to do to just reface them, but I'm being ridiculously stubborn. Seeing all the amazing kitchens on this site isn't helping!!!

    Thanks everyone for your great advice/opinions so far. The more I can collect, the better. I'm still leaning towards a DIY project and ordering from MKFUSA, but I'm still open to opinions... Again, bethv or others who might have ordered from there, please share your pics and experiences!

  • 15 years ago

    The kitchen that you have now can be made to look pretty incredible without replacing your cabinets. The difference between your current room and the rooms that you see on here lies in the details - not the cabinets.

    The one thing that I would change cabinet-wise would be to make the fridge look built in, either by recessing the fridge into the garage (much easier than it sounds) or bringing the cabinets forward. Either way - fit an end panel on it.

    Make sure that the cabinet on top of the fridge is flush with the front of the fridge - even if it is not full depth, you won't notice it with the end panel in, and you'll find that it is much more accessible there rather than where it is now.

    The two things that have the most impact for buyers in a kitchen are the countertops and the floor. It's worth sinking your money into granite or solid surface material.

    Hard to tell what your floor is - vinyl or ceramic. Either way it is a fairly pleasant colour and I would try match it or get something just a little lighter for countertops.

    Trade in the stove and the microwave for a slide - in range with an OTR Fan/Microwave.

    Get some pretty elaborate crown moulding, some strips of panel moulding, some light strip for the cabinet and some corbels. Paint everything white (as close a match to cabinets as possible).

    This is a good place to get these things for a decent price:

    Place the corbels under the upper cabinets to give the impression that they are holding the cabinets up. Also put some under the peninsula bar area.

    Use the panel moulding on the exposed ends of your uppers, the end of the peninsula and the fridge cover panel. Do your best to echo the shape of the cabinet door detailing. Put the crown moulding on the upper cabinets and the light strip on the bottoms of the cabinets.

    If you are feeling extravagant you can put in under-cabinet lighting cheaply.

    Invest in an undermount sink and a really striking faucet. The hinges on your cabinets look interesting. It would be nice to have pulls that match the colour.

    Keep the exsiting pantry - I think you'lll really miss it if you lose it. I would invest in a new door for it at Home Depot - a single door with divided lights (multi-paned) with either frosted or mirrored glass and buy the same door for the exit into the garage.

    Get really great hardware for the doors that is the same colour as, and in a similar but not identical style to, the cupboard pulls.

    Finally, get rid of the blind in front of the sink. Leave it open if you can, but if you need privacy there, look for some frosted glass or Art glass to obscure things a bit, or consider running a cafe rod about two thirds of the way up the window (matching with the finish on the rest of the room's hardware) and hanging pots and pans there. Or shelving it and starting a bottle collection - pretty when the sun hits the different coloured glass.

    THAT SAID - if...

  • 15 years ago

    P.S. A backsplash would be great as well. A six or eight inch high slab of the same material as the countertops.

  • 15 years ago

    First off, I'm a function-over-form gal! So, keep this in mind as you read on...

    Since there is a possibility that you may stay longer than a couple of years, I would think about remodeling with what will please you...and, IMHO, I think a combination of function (#1) and form (#2) would please you best.

    Cabinets: Have you looked at IKEA cabinets? They are very affordable and many people here really like them and have found they're not too difficult to DIY the install. They're actually designed, I think, with DIY in mind. Even if you don't like the door styles, Scherr's has many different styles and now is able to drill for IKEA cabinets. Cost is a fraction of the cost of most stock & semi-custom cabinets.

    Style: I think if you use wood doors and a simple but classic door style (shaker or simple raised panel--similar to what you like in Harbor) you will find they will remain current enough for resale a few years down the road.


    Wood for doors.

    For Countertops, possibly granite (tiles, prefab, or a low-cost "pattern" like Uba Tuba) or a higher-end laminate would work in your area. Stay away from ceramic/porcelain tile. I think that's already dated and many people would look at it and think it would be hard to keep clean (I know I would)

    Appliances can be either stainless steel or white. I think both are acceptable in mid-to-high end kitchens. I'd probably stay away from black b/c they are more difficult to keep clean than SS, at least I think so (I have a black cooktop & it's the most difficult item in my kitchen to keep looking clean).

    For a sink I would stick with either stainless steel or Silgranit. I'd let cost & form drive that decision. (For SS, check out Galaxy Tool Supply's Ticor sinks w/the free sink grids (

    For faucet, I would go w/a pullout or pull down with or without a soap dispenser...I think a soap dispenser is a nice-to-have, but I don't think it will necessarily add to resale...but if you want one, go for it. As to finish, chrome is fine or go with a SS or brushed chrome or SS. I'm not sure if there's a price difference b/w brushed chrome and something like brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze.

    Cabinet Hardware: Hardware doesn't have to be high-priced. Check out Home Depot or Lowes for lower priced but still very nice hardware. Look at finishes such as iron or pewter. Stay away from black if it's a painted finish...the paint will eventually chip on your most-used handles/pulls.

    Refrigerator: Your refrigerator will look best if it is cabinet depth and enclosed so it looks built-in. To achieve this look, install a 3/4" finished end panel on each side of the refrigerator, approx 27" deep--deep enough to cover the carcass (but not the door). Put a full-depth cabinet over the refrigerator to further make it look built in. If you cannot get a full-depth over-the-refrigerator cabinet, then get a regular...

  • 15 years ago

    I don't think the basic problem in your kitchen is storage - it's that everything is so far apart. I understand why you would want to remodel your space. Everyone else has done a fine job of presenting the rational, financial arguments - all I'll say is that it may be a mistake to believe BRAC will have any impact on housing prices or that the demand for housing is inflexible.

    Buehl and I are both trying for a couple of the same things but in different ways. Build some stuff out of studs and drywall instead of using expensive cabs where possible, move the sink and cooking surface closer together.

    I like to believe that good design solves both form and function (not that this is a good design, but that it may spark other thoughts). The worstest part of designing a kitchen is to envision what the room could be.

    If you were willing to spend a bit more money, I'd put a prep sink on the other side of the room next to the cooking surface. Enclose the ref in panels - maybe think about enclosing it with drywall if that was really pricey. Reverse the swing of the garage door.

    For bigger bucks, I'd go for the window before moving the garage door - like a foot wider, narrow depth, bow window down to the counter top.


  • 15 years ago

    Ahhh now I am more torn than ever! I went to bed last night convinced that we should bite the bullet and get the new cabinets (we're paying cash for this, so interest isn't an issue), but then I woke up this morning thinking of all the other things we could do with that money and that repainting and adding some detail to our existing cabinets would suffice.

    I signed on here hoping to find resolve, but nope! You are all full of such great ideas that with every response I read, I find myself nodding and saying, "THAT'S what we need to do!!!"

    Sailormann-- you have some really inspirational ideas that make me think if I can get past some of the layout flaws and the bending and stooping into the base cabinets (which is relatively minor, especially if we end up only staying here another two years), we really could have a kitchen that shows nice and will work as a selling feature when we have to move.

    I definitely plan on removing those blinds-- I've just been waiting to see what we do with the kitchen before I lock myself into a "look." As you can see, privacy isn't really an issue out that window (please ignore the uneven fence posts-- yet another project we haven't quite finished):

    Your post does bring up one major layout concern for me, however. I really don't know if it's possible to make the fridge look built in with its current location. If I bring the over-fridge cabinet forward, it will block off those wall cabinets in the corner even further. Recessing it into the garage might be more trouble than it's worth-- Our house is over a raised crawlspace, so our garage is actually several (brick) steps lower than the house. We'd have to build some type of platform up from the garage floor for the fridge to sit on. Not only that, but the hot water heater is behind that wall (in the garage), so we'd have to move that as well...

    Closer look at fridge situation (ignore the magnets-- we'll be getting SS so we won't be tempted to do that anymore):

    I thought about possibly moving the fridge (we'd actually probably end up getting a french door fridge with a bottom drawer freezer) to the other side of the existing pantry next to the entryway to the living room, but then I'm not sure if that leaves enough clearance in front of the peninsula.

    Here's what that space looks like-- you can see the entrance into the living room, which is why I think it'd be nice to have wood floors coming from there into the kitchen. NONE of those paint colors has made the cut, so please ignore! The current state of my kitchen is kind of embarassing: ...

  • 15 years ago

    bmorepanic: wow, I never even thought of reversing the kitchen completely like that! I like it from the "inside," but I feel like I would be annoyed having to walk around the peninsula to get into the kitchen or out to the garage.

    And you're absolutely right about BRAC, which is why I'm now starting to lean towards just working with what we have. Everything's up in the air with the military, and I've got to wise-up and learn that I might not be able to have my "dream" space until after he gets out-- in 10-12 years. :) I just don't want to make a huge mistake with this house and either put more money into it than we can get out, or not put enough money into it so it sits on the market when we're ready to move. I think I might go back to renting after this... :)

  • 15 years ago


  • 15 years ago

    There is a rough sketch of the "built-in" looking fridge arrangement above.

    This is the actual layout using your original sketch


  • 15 years ago

    Oh - please - don't put wine there!! The heat from the refrigerator can cook that wine quicker than you can imagine. If you want to store wine - please, get a cellar or a small wine fridge. Store your beautiful wine glasses in a great display cabinet, but not your wine ... please ...


  • 15 years ago

    Dang, I was liking what Sailormann proposed, but Susan has a point-- wine would probably not hold up well right next to the fridge. I wish that pantry wasn't where it is... that would be a perfect spot for the fridge. I guess I could put regular open shelves there...

  • 15 years ago

    I was thinking the same thing as buehl (isn't she awesome?) put the range where the fridge is now.

    I'll admit I didn't read all of the above posts (buehl's caught my eye because she's so darn good at layouts and has helped so many people!) but I wanted to ask where in NC are you? Did you know that Charlotte is getting an Ikea soon? It was supposed to be done this summer but now I think it's going to be January or February maybe. Anyway, my kitchen is done but I live on Lake Norman (North of Charlotte) and am so stoked about the new Ikea. Wish it had been done when I did my kitchen as I would have saved a lot of money on cabinets.

    Good luck with your remodel, you've definitely come to the right place for advice.

    Oh, and your puppies are adorable!


  • 15 years ago

    rmlanza-- I'm so torn on what to do now, I almost have to stop thinking about it for a while? New cabinets, or no? Move fridge, or no? What a headache... :)

    We're actually down near "Fayettenam" (aka. Fayetteville). My husband is in the Air Force. I'm not too crazy about this area, but I love pretty much anywhere else I've been in NC. What a beautiful state! Ocean, mountains, and soon an Ikea... what more could you ask for? Maybe I'll hang in there till February and see if it gets built.

    Thanks I love my pups! They're definitely a handful though...