The Kitchen/Dining Mega Suite
This Old New House

text Here is Linda in her new kitchen. Enjoy the view, it’ll never be the same. text First, the appliances and cabinets disappeared…(view to south) text …from the whole kitchen (view to north). The pics are dated 5 August 2003. It’ll be a while.

text Then the wall came down. Now the kitchen and dining room are open to each other. text This is looking from the master bedroom door through the dining area into the kitchen. text Although we used the old refrigerator for a while, we replaced it with this, which is temporarily in the living room.

text So first, I had to do some more demolition. This shows the east wall after I finsihed the plumbing and wiring, and you can see the hood support hanging from the ceiling. It is ready for sheetrock. text And this is the same wall after it was rocked. I have also built the island wall. The vent support was temporarily removed in this shot, but the vent pipe itself is visible. text I also stripped half of the west wall. The refrigerator will go here. By the way, take note of the fluorescent fixtures in this picture, the previous one, the one before it, and the two after this one. They lasted until November, 2017, when they were replaced by LEDs. That story ishere

text Then one day the cabinets were delivered (10 May 2004). Is that red I see on the walls? text They’re in! Yes, it’s red. Now we wait a month or so for countertops. text While waiting for the countertops, I started working on the pantry. This is the enlarged and slightly moved doorway.

text This is the framing for the enlarged pantry from the den side. text This is our kitchen designer’s rendition of what our new kitchen will look like. text And this is how it turned out (10 July 2004). That design software did a pretty good job of projecting what the finished job would look like.

text These are the cabinets next to the refrigerator on the west wall. This may wind up being the baking area, as the counter space is plentiful. text This is the finished kitchen on the refrigerator side. The potential baking area is to the left of the refrigerator. text One of my favorite views. This is the wide angle shot of the counter to the left of the sink.

text Depending on how your monitor is set up, this is a good rendition of the color of the counter tops. Below is the dishwasher. text On a recent trip to Charlotte, NC, to visit our daughter and grandkids we found the perfect barstools for our new kitchen/dining suite. text This is the dining area finished. I had to mount a swag hook and move the chandelier about a foot to the east and 6" to the south to center it over the dining table.

End of July (2006) and I have started in on the pantry doors. I special ordered two 15" six panel doors and custom built the jambs. I modified a Sears mortising jig I’ve had for probably 30 years and got the doors hung perfectly. I have ball catches in the tops of the doors. So far they are just primed and I’ll start in on the swinging shelves soon. The storage capacity of this pantry will be amazing. If I built it as shown, there’d be room for about 140 cans of soup. I’m planning a taller center section, so there will actually be room for around 170. Then I’ll still have all of the fixed shelves in the back and along the sides which will accomodate a whole bunch of cereal, soft drinks (2 liter size), juices, chips, and all sorts of other boxed goods, plus vegetables (potatoes, etc.). The pantry is approximately 24" deep by 46" wide. There is a light above each side which comes on automatically when the respective door is opened.

text Here are the doors to the pantry in their initial test fit. text The primed pantry doors are hung and the dummy levers are attached.

text This is the plan for the shelves in the pantry. This idea came from an article in Fine Homebuilding magazine to which I’ve subscribed for several years. text This is how I mocked up the swinging doors and shelves to verify clearances. There will be a ton of storage capacity in this pantry when it’s done.

Inserted update: May 2009. Things with the pantry have dramatically progressed. Clickhereto see it all.

December 2007 update. After the major progress report in August (casings and crown in the library), we now have the end in sight for our kitchen/dining complex. In conjunction with door casings throughout the library/hallway, I now have all of the openings in this space cased as well.

All that’s lacking in this room now is to case the window and install base and shoe molding. As in the library, the valence was salvaged from a house our realtor neighbor had listed, and our son-in-law picked a new fabric, and our daughter re-upholstered it. She also did the dining table chairs in the same fabric. What a rich look this space has now.

doors done The doors to the pantry and the arch to the library are cased. valence This valence is the final dressing for the sliding glass door to the sun room. pocket door to media room The pocket door to the media room.

January, 2008. Finally. After nearly five years of various stages of construction, the kitchen is virtually done (lacking only base and shoe molding around the perimeter—and the pantry innards). Can you say “happy SWMBO?” We love our house and we love our kitchen.

doors window As you can see, the window was uncased—that is, raw framing—on three sides for some time. doors window The window is finally cased. window detail This is a shot of the detail showing the faux trim and rosette. I also installed a new, wider marble sill.

The results of the kitchen remodel have made us happier than we ever imagined. The original ceiling fluorescents (with new lenses) are more than adequate for overall lighting (since upgraded to LEDs). The under-cabinet lights are spectacular (since upgraded twice with LEDs—both LED upgrades available in links at the bottom of this page, newly added in November, 2017) as are the can lights in the soffit/valence over the sink and the can lights over the bar. Note the shot of the designer’s rendition compared to the finished (except the pantry) kitchen. It’s every kitchen we’ve ever dreamed of. All that I have left to do is build the pantry, case the window and doorways, and install base and shoe molding. Oh, I have to get the pot rack(s) installed.

No good deed goes unpunished. I had to tear into my careful work twice to make some modifications. The first was when I realized I had neglected to account for the thickness of the countertop and had to move the two switches above the bar up about 2". Secondly, after getting the range in place, I realized that the hood projected into the kitchen just a little too much, so I uninstalled the hood, tore into the ceiling, installed an elbow in the attic, and then patched the ceiling (again), and reinstalled the hood. That ultimately put the hood 3" further back from the front of the stove and it’s more comfortable to work at now.

We have had breakfast in the dining area with our daughter and her kids and we’ve had a couple of casual suppers in the dining area, too. It’s a remarkably social and cozy space for such a relatively large area (12'x24'). We can’t wait until the renovation is complete and we can have some guests over.

The kitchen is a joy to cook in. I don’t have the overhead pot racks up yet, and I don’t have my appliances over on the Metro shelving yet since it’s currently serving as a mobile pantry. However, to be able to draw water from the sink, run the dishwasher, put food waste down the garbage disposal, all in our dream kitchen makes all the work and the living-in-a-construction-zone worthwhile.

Ha, ha. I still can’t stop from tinkering. Several times in loading the dishwasher, we noted that without the ceiling fluorescents on it was quite dark in the work area of the shelves and door. So, I fished some wires while I still had access to the attic in the pantry and installed a couple of eyebrow lights in the ceiling over the door of the dishwasher. I put the switch to the left (the back of the wall was still un-drywalled on the library side) and it really helps when loading up.

Update: October 2011. Well, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve posted any updates, and about seven since the kitchen was fully operational. An ongoing disappointment turned out to be our choice of faucet. We bought it at the same time we bought our sink, and although I’d learned long ago not to have much faith in Moen fixtures, we bought this at a Home Depot Expo, which usually had higher end stuff (note the Franke sink) and it seemed heavy duty enough. Not the fault of Moen, but the finish didn’t quite match the sink or the soap dispenser, either, but that was just an annoyance—not an outright disappointment.

A couple of years ago an internal part broke on the handle and I had to order a replacement online. While waiting for the part, I used one of my needle nose Vise Grips® on the shaft, which my daughter instantly dubbed a “redneck handle“. Over the last couple of years I’ve also noticed it becoming more and more difficult to swivel the arm, and a few days ago, noticed serious grinding noises when so attempting. This is almost always not a good sign. So, while SWMBO was away for the weekend, I set about clearing a work area under the sink and attacking the removal of the faucet. It literally fell apart as I was trying to fit wrenches and other implements.

When SWMBO got home Sunday evening I dragged her over to the big box and we selected a replacement—not Moen.

doors window Here’s a fortuitously taken picture of the Moen faucet. doors window And here’s the Kohler replacement. Looks like we haven’t used a single sheet of paper towels in seven years…

Hmmm, looks like we changed soap dispensers somewhere along the line…I believe it, too, is a Kohler. The finish on the new faucet exactly matches the finish on the sink and the dispenser, so it looks like it’s belonged from the beginning, and of course, completes the complementary appearance of the lavello gruppo. In addition, the high arch suggests the commercial look we’d been aiming for from the beginning. We were thoroughly pleased with the choice less than five minutes after installation was completed.

Update: November 2017. A couple of tidbits in the lighting arena. While the under cabinet lighting was great at first, it became necessary to make an adjustment. I wound up making two. The bottom line is we’re now fully LED under the cabs. And, you can read/seeall about the conversion(s)

A year or so down the road, and we’d begun the realization that something was going to have to be done about the fluorescents, too. At least two of the four fixtures were exhibiting intermittencies, and while we don’t use them a lot, as we get older, we’re using them more often. Reliability, among other considerations, is becoming a priorty. Here’swhat we did.

Last updated: 30 November 2017

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