I had a good friend in our old neighborhood and I loved her house. It was gorgeous on the inside and outside. But what I loved most of all about her house was that there was a guest bedroom on the first floor that was right off the kitchen. She used this bedroom as a play room. I absolutely loved that. So when we moved here in 2006 and decided to build our house, I knew the exact floor plan that I wanted.
Peter had just turned 3 and Sarah was 1 1/2 and I scoured the internet for floor plans that included a bedroom right near the kitchen. I found one that was extremely similar to my friend's house. The kitchen, eat in area and family room where open to one another, there was a room for the office and a dining room and the much loved bedroom near the kitchen. Upstairs there were three more bedrooms and a bonus room. I was sold!
So we began building this house, sight unseen (other than the floor plan) in real life and have been here for the last 10 years.
We used the guest bedroom as a playroom for the first 5 or so years that we lived here until we eventually moved all the toys(junk) upstairs to the bonus room. So that aspect of the floor plan was perfect for us.
However, and this is a big however, the floor plan that I chose was much smaller than my friends floor plan - I would guess by about 500 square feet or so. Which meant that the kitchen, eat-in area,family room and dining room were all much smaller than my friend's house.
The dining room fit our table but there was no way it would fit if we put the extension in it. Our kitchen table fit but it was tight. The worst part however was the kitchen area itself. There is hardly any counter space to work. If more than two people want to try to do anything in there together (like bake cookies, or put away groceries, or wash and dry dishes) it is practically impossible.
I remember when the house was being built and I walked in after everything was framed out, I caught my breath. The kitchen is so tiny, kept screaming through my head. What the heck have I done?!
The kitchen has served it's purpose. I've been able to make meals for my family and occasionally for others, but it's never been a space that I've truly enjoyed or even wanted to be in. There's minimal storage, minimal work space, and if people are over - no space for any one to be. Because you know when you have people over, they always end up in the kitchen. Well, not here!
And even as I was searching for the floor plan with the guest bedroom off the kitchen, I was also secretly hoping to find a floor plan with a large center island and a kitchen sink that looked out into the back yard. I wasn't able to find a floor plan (within our budget) that met all those criteria so I opted for having the babies near me downstairs while they were little.
But now my babies aren't babies. They are big. They take up a lot of room. Sarah wants to help cook. I want to have more people over but the space just isn't conducive to that. So for the past couple of years, I have been trying to come up with something in my mind that would work. A new footprint for a small space. And I've watched a lot of HGTV.
I realized, there was no way I could come up with a plan on my own (even though I had some decent ideas) so I headed to my friend Google and found Thumbtack. Thumbtack is a website to use when you are looking for someone to help you with work on your house. You enter in your area and what type of work you need to have done and it sends your information to the people near you that can do what you need done.
I entered the information and held my breath. And by the next day I had an email in my inbox from a woman who was a designer. And she just so happened to work with her husband who was a contractor. Y'all! It's like I have my own personal Chip and JoJo! And a fun little coincidence - her name starts with J and his name starts with C!
She came over, we discussed what I wanted, and she got to work. I think she has come up with a plan that will be perfect. Our eat in area will become part of the kitchen and we will use our dining room exclusively as the main eating area. (In the entire 10 years that we have been in this house, we have used that dining room less the 10 times. I would say closer to 7 or 8. That's wasted space right there!) I will get my island and my kitchen sink overlooking the back yard. The foot print is still the same size (small) but I think this plan maximizes the space and will make it all more usable.
At least that's what I'm hoping and praying for - a good usable, family kitchen that takes advantage of our small space in every way possible.
The next 6 to 8 weeks are going to be crazy. We are heading to the Cape on Saturday and they will start the demo process while we are gone. When we return Dan will be gone for two weeks be home for one week then gone for another. And then school will start. I'm sure we will spend a lot of time at my parent's house. At least I imagine we will cook and eat our meals there.
It's going to be crazy, and stressful, and expensive but I hope it all turns out like I'm imagining. And I'm wondering if there's anyway to get some shiplap on the walls!