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Wall Can't Come Down (All the Way) - Pls Help With Design Dilemmas!

4 years ago

Hi Everyone,

Cross posting from our discussion Share Your Progress and hoping to get your design input...

I've been reading and following everyone's fabulous renovations while waiting for my own project to kick off — and now it's taken off like a rocket and decisions are coming at me fast and furious. I'd like your opinions on some things.

Demo kicked off Monday, and once we opened the wall and saw what we are really dealing with, quick change in plans.

When you live in a NYC co-op (similar to condo) building as we do, you go into your renovation prepared to make compromises. On Brickunderground there are about a dozen articles warning about what most co-op boards will just flat out say no to. For example, I never even considered a pro range because most boards won't let you cut a hole in the building's facade in order to properly ventilate. I can understand the thinking: If 146 apartments start cutting holes in the facade, the building will be dealing with water leaks for the next 100 years. Plus, board members are volunteers not paid, and who wants to supervise 146 contractors cutting holes in the facade.

No pro range was a compromise that doesn't bother me too much. We've opened up walls in what was a very narrow 1946 galley kitchen and the narrow aisle remains (because we're constrained by the kitchen being on a raised platform), so a cooktop + wall oven was the best choice for workflow anyway. So, compromise #1, and so on...

Best case scenario we're on the top floor and thought we might be able to cluster and/or cap some pipes, and I hoped for this:

But now that the walls are down and we can see what's behind them, I'm going to get this:

I won't bore you with the details. The wall contains pipes, called risers, and they are water, waste, and gas pipes that affect the whole line of apartments under ours. Redirecting these lines would cause lack of service to other units so most NYC co-op boards including ours will not approve this kind change. Unfortunately, the pipes are not clustered together, they're spread out. End result: We've got about 52" of wall that can't be moved.

And this brings up a whole handful of design decisions about what to do with the other side of the wall. Thoughts?

Problem #1: What to do with the open space from end of island to wall?

I don't need a shallow pantry and I don't really want anything tall on that wall. I also don't want to add another base cabinet, because it would run into an exposed steam pipe (behind the stool in the drawing) that can't be moved. But most importantly, there's a functionality issue in that the standard 24" depth base cabinet would obstruct me from accessing the wall ovens on the opposite wall comfortably.

So, I'm thinking we extend the countertop, with a dip to 12" and I'll slide a stool under there. It will be a nice perch when reading recipes. And I can tuck the cat bowls underneath.


Problem #2: I'm back to having a partial galley and the two sides need to integrate.

I have a sudden whole expanse of wall that needs to look intentional. I'm not a fan of using open shelves, but as a design element they would help pull things together.


Problem #3: I suddenly need another backsplash.

The backsplash on the opposite wall is marble slab. I don't want the busyness of tile and grout lines on this adjacent wall, however I will need a functional backsplash behind the sink. I'm thinking a simple, curved marble backsplash rising just behind the sink.

Or, would it look better to mimic the slab on the other side?


Problem 4: Countertop material.

When I was dealing with a perimeter and island, it was fine to have two different materials. I wanted marble on the perimeter and pure white quartz on the island, where I I'll be doing most food prep. Now that I have a galley kitchen again, I feel like I need to keep the countertop materials consistent.


Here's the top elevation, to orient you.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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