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Keep small dining room, or redo as 2nd office/library/music room?

5 years ago
last modified: 5 years ago

Hello all

Five years ago we bought a house in a great school district, in a great location with a nice yard. The downside - the house has an odd layout and much was original 1970s. After we bought the house, I pulled the plans on file with the town and realized that the rooms are not as deep as indicated on the plans (or what was on the listing, but that's a different story). It seems the original owners who built the house decided to make it 5 feet shallower. The overall result is a house that feels sort of squished together and doesn't function as intended. (Like the fridge door hits the stove or the toilet in the kids bath is placed so close to the wall their arms touch the wall when they use it). How some of this passed code is beyond me.

We are at the point where we can afford to do some major remodeling. We are in the very early planning stages. I'm not sure which rooms to keep as is, which to re-purpose and which to try to combine.

The house is a cape code style, with a central staircase at the front door. To the left of the front entry is the living room (app 15x15) and DH'soffice (15 x 9,5) is on the right. (he works from home) Behind the living room, looking out over the back yard, is the formal dining room, which is only 10x10. The dining room isn't fully open to the living room, there is a wall between them with a 4 foot opening. That dividing wall is a support wall AND full of duct work, so the most we could increase this doorway is to 5 feet without rerouting stuff. I don't know how expensive it would be to open it up, but I suspect with the age of the house, there could be asbestos in there as well. While I very much want a formal space for entertaining at holidays, it's too cramped now and even if we did fully open it up to the living room, it still will be tight on 3 sides.

The dining room is connected to the kitchen by a 28 inch doorway. The wall between the dining room and kitchen has plumbing for the 2 upstairs baths. The kitchen, with the eat in area is 28 x 11 (it kinda feels like a bowling alley). The kitchen cabinets will be have to be reconfigured anyway, so my thought is to simply divide the space into about in half with a peninsula, so we'd have app 13x11 kitchen "work area" and app 14x11 "dining area". We could make the dining area feel a bit more formal and while it would never hold a large family gathering, I think that size could fit 8-10 people.

Which brings me to the question of what to do with the small formal dining room. Options that I have come up with are as follows.

1 A) close up the doorway into the kitchen and put french doors on the entry from the living room and turn it into a second office or library.

Pro - I'd be able to have more counter and cabinet space in the kitchen.

Con - completely cuts off the kitchen from the living room.

1 B) Move DH into this office and maybe use his office as a formal DR?

2) Close off the 4 foot entry between the dining room and living room and leave the doorway going into the kitchen. Turn the dining room into a large laundry/mudroom if we turn the window to an outside door.

Pro - OMG a big laundry room! And a second way to access the backyard instead of my kids tracking mud into the house by coming in through the patio doors in the kitchen! Also would make furniture layout easier in the living room.

Con - seems kind of a weird. Loss of light in living room from the big window in DR. Also, no gain of cabinet and counter space in kitchen.

3) Leave doors as they are and just use it as a small den.

Any other ideas? Anything that seems like a terrible idea?

We want this house to be updated because we would like to move in a few years. so whatever we do, I want something that won't turn off potential buyers.


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