Kitchen/Dining Layout Help – After a house fire, it's a clean slate

Doris Rudd
16 days ago

I’ve been lurking on Houzz for a long-time, creating idea books as we planned various updates to our home. I’ve long admired how helpful everyone is and this has been a go-to source when I need answers. I can usually find discussions that’ll steer me in the right direction. Hoping that’s the case now.

We had a house fire on December 31 that destroyed the inside of our house. We’re now in the process of rebuilding. The number of decisions that need to be made is a bit overwhelming and I want to be sure we get the rebuild right. There's an opportunity to make changes to the floor plan and we would love some input on what makes the most sense for our family.

Our house is a classic brick ranch, built in 1965 and the basic layout remains. We bought the house in the 1980s, raised our two children here and will live here until we feel a need to downsize. There are three bedrooms, two baths and we have a walk out basement. We’re the second owner of the house, the first owner, the lady was a home economics teacher and had a sewing room off the dining room. In the diagram below, you’ll see this room labeled “Future Laundry”. Our laundry is currently in the basement and we’ve talked about moving the washer and dryer upstairs for years. There was also a side porch between the kitchen and garage that the previous owners enclosed, you’ll this labeled “Music Room”.

The living room and dining room were only used on occasion. There’s so much wasted space here. A long load-bearing wall separates the living room and den and we’re considering removing this wall to open the space. Our den and our kitchen is where we spent the most time. The den was always awkward to furnish, the sofa could only go against the long load-bearing wall. Having more room here would be wonderful.

We’re working with Marsh Cabinets on our new kitchen. They gave us one layout and we went over to the house and marked this off using masking tape. We realized how small our kitchen was and wondered if there was a way to incorporate more of the dining room. We’re not formal people and having a formal dining room isn’t needed. Our dining room is small, we had a round table with four chairs that could be expanded to seat eight.

Here's the answers to the questions in the "How Do I Ask for Layout?":

  1. Goals: Our goal is to rebuild our house making better use of space in our kitchen and dining area and possibly in our den and living room. We’re also updating the room off the dining room to become a laundry room. The entry to the laundry room is beside the door leading to the music room and out to the garage – two doors side by side. I’d love to rethink this area and eliminate one of these doors.
  2. Family Composition: We're empty nesters. My husband and I are in our 60s and live with our senior dog. We had two dogs, the young dog Lexi was lost in the fire and we're heartbroken. But on a happy note, we're expecting our first grandchild very soon and are very excited. We have two children. Our son lives locally and visits often. Our daughter and her family live about three hours away and visit as often as possible.
  3. Kitchen Workers: We both cook – usually not at the same time. My husband is retired so he cooks during the week and I cook on weekends. An instance when we're both in the kitchen is if we're grilling. He does all the grilling, so in this case he's in and out of the kitchen while I'm preparing the rest of the meal.
  4. Does anyone in your home cook: During the week, it's quick, easy meals and on the weekends the meals are more involved. I enjoy cooking and love to try new recipes. I like to bake, but don’t bake very often.
  5. How is the kitchen used: Cooking and cleaning, people gathering when we entertain.
  6. Entertain? Not so much over the last couple of years due to Covid, but now we'd like to entertain more. Always informal.
  7. Hang out place? Yes. I like that our kitchen and den are connected. You’ll either find us gathered here or on the patio. We love having friends and family over.
  8. Separate dining room? Yes. We use infrequently. Would love to make better use of this space.
  9. Open the kitchen to adjacent areas? It's already opened to the den and partially opened to the dining room. Reconfiguring the space is a goal.
  10. Merge two rooms? Possibly – could the kitchen and dining room be merged to better utilize space? Could we incorporate some of the living room for a small, expandable dining table?
  11. Basement / Crawl Space? Yes, we have a basement. But under the kitchen is a crawl space.
  12. Where are you flexible? • Windows need to stay where they are. • Interior doorways around the kitchen and dining room can be moved or eliminated.• The sink has always been under the kitchen window. We will replace the garden window that was there so it seems like that's still the best place? Open to considering new ideas though.
  13. Electrical and plumbing moved? Yes, we can move both electrical and plumbing.
  14. Ventilation hood? Yes.
  15. If one can fit: room for an island and/or an expandable kitchen table that’ll go from seating four to eight.
  16. Appliances: We’ll have a 30" slide in induction range. A 36" counter-depth refrigerator. A standard 24" dishwasher, a microwave (considering a microwave drawer), a range hood.
  17. Cabinets – Marsh cabinets will be supplying these. They’ve given us one layout and it includes an 18” pantry cabinet. These cabinets follow a close footprint to what we had before and looking at it realized how small our kitchen was. Given the space we have, I think there’s opportunity to do better.

This was a long post. If you’ve made to the end, thank you! Let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing everyone’s ideas.

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