Mike’s Kitchen Renovation Part One

Mike from Pennsylvania messaged us on Facebook recently with the following:

“Hi there!

I bought my first home about 2 years ago. I got a really good deal on it, and I adore the neighborhood. Its a very small home on a very long/narrow lot. Unfortunately, it lacks a kitchen. The room labeled as a kitchen contains only a refrigerator and an oven. There are no cabinets (upper or lower). The kitchen sink is awkwardly located in an adjacent space. I am mentally and financially prepared for a full gut to this space and look forward to a redesigned, bright, and modern kitchen area. Luckily, none of the interior walls are load bearing. There is a brick chimney buried in one wall that will need to remain (hopefully expose).

There is a home tight to the left/north side of the house, and a home who’s rear end is near my right (south) side of the home, just outside the kitchen window. The backyard is very nice and bright. I would like to open up the rear (east) end of the home with windows and possibly skylights (the bump-out off the rear is only a single story)

What I struggle with is a decent layout that makes a good useful kitchen. The closet and sink room can go, as can the wall to the dining room. Other amenities can include a small powder room and a coat closet. As you can see, space is tight, and even though I am trained in design- I really struggle with making the best use of this awkward space.

Thanks for your help!


In today’s video, John and Matthew look at where Mike could possibly relocate his kitchen to.

Today’s Slides:

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Srdan-Nagy/1384815509 Srdan Nagy

    Hi,here are three options (perhaps with all possible locations of the kitchen)
    so, let me present brief description:
    1_this option keeps all elements in place, it adds coat closet at the entrance, and a large sliding door on the back
    2_for me this option is much better, it moves kitchen to the front (coat closet and high kitchen elements are in the same mill work element, but face different way). at the back I extended living room to that small 
    porch area… in current state that notch, created by the door and porch creates big problems when living room is in the back….
    3_Just to clarified one thing, I know this option is not relevant, moving stairs is a large, complex and expensive proposition. So this option just shoves what happens when you straighten the circulation areas (in the current state you always need to go around the stairs, and that takes a lot of space). Anyways, at the front I placed a dividing wall one side faces dining room, other the entrance, and it is place for coat hooks. The closet (for shoes, and other stuff) is beneath the stairs. This option can work even if you leave the stairs in their current position, but then (due to the odd circulation routes) you are better off with option two. 


  • Terri

    Hello John and Matthew, Long time, no see (for me). I was looking back at some of your archives, and by coincidence I see that we tackled a kitchen design on June 23, 2011 with similar layout to this–not identical, of course, but the stairs and entry are similar. Three of us worked on it, and then you guys came up with a kitchen in the middle. Will you do that again? ;-)

  • Steve

    Assuming the side yards are not usable, the main
    entry needs to stay on the street (west) end of the house. That only leaves ~11’ for the front room. Fortunately the east end of the house can be opened
    the full 15’2” width to the backyard. Since Mike didn’t mention a family, he
    probably wants more lounge/entertainment space than kitchen/work space, so I’d
    suggest putting the living room in the larger space in back.


    To create a long view from the front entry, I’d
    move the entry hall to the south side of the plan to avoid the stair and
    chimney obstructions. In this plan I’ve also created a parallel view from front
    to back over the bar counter and fireplace. Depending on the yard next door,
    the dining room’s south wall could be a window seat or a taller bookcase with clear or obscure windows


    ~ Steve (formerly of Vancouver BC, now in Seattle,
    hoping to afford a remodelling project of my own one day).

  • Pradeep

    SN, what do you use to draw these diagrams? Please let me know.