Kitchen Cabinets: A More Functional Layout

As part of our kitchen maintenance makeover madness (as I like to call it) we made the decision to refinish the laminate cabinets. This decision also allowed us to make some layout changes to the kitchen.  If we were going be painting, that means we can move some things around and the new paint finish will cover the adjustments!  Well, OK THEN.  The wheels get to turnin’.

We always had an issue with the upper cabinets above the peninsula, but they provided what we thought was much needed storage.  If we remove storage space we’d have to replace it somewhere else…  The plan is to add cabinetry to the left of the range, and an entire furniture style pantry to the opposite side of the dining area so…..  After really considering the space, and getting honest with ourselves about how many cups a person actually needs, we decided to go for it.  Take ’em out!!

BOOM. GONZO. I have to admit, Matt was the brave one and convinced me that we should just go for it. Usually its the other way around!  It definitely is the change that we wanted to make. The kitchen needed to be open to the eating area which makes the whole space feel much bigger, and that peninsula counter just doubled in functionality, but whoa man, we’re in for some serious reno’s now!

The cabinets to the right of the window now wouldn’t be the correct size once the peninsula uppers were removed, so we had to do some re-jigging. One of the cabinets from the peninsula section was carefully detached and now will become the right hand upper. Of course it was missing one finished side, where it was attached to the cabinet to its left, but because we are painting the whole thing out, we just rebuilt that side using MDF.

The width was a near perfect fit to put this cabinet in this location.  When placed the same distance from the window, the left side of the cabinet lines up within half an inch of the end of the counter.  The height is obviously the same and not an issue, but the depth is slightly deeper by about a quarter inch.  I do notice the difference, but it is so slight we still felt it was a good choice.  Once we filled in the missing side we painted the right hand upper cabinet out with the rest of the cabinetry and re-installed it.

We also had to change out the hardware on this cabinet.  When an upper cabinet is installed perpendicular to a peninsula you aren’t able to stand directly in front of it to open the doors, as you would a regular upper.  This means you are accessing the contents slightly to the right or left every time.  In order to make this more functional you need a 180° hinge instead of the regular 90° hinge.  This allows the doors to open fully and you can reach in and access the cabinet.

Now, looking from the kitchen space into the dining area, the view is clear and unobstructed!  The peninsula counter is much more functional with the entire depth usable from both sides and visually the kitchen feels considerably larger and has that ‘lighter’ feel I was aiming for.

On the opposite side things are looking great as well!  We did swap out the appliances that needed updating.  The microwave was actually replaced long before the kitchen facelift was a thought, as the old one literally went up in smoke.  The oven was replaced before it fell to the same demise. We swapped out our 70’s-beige-wood-panelled version with a newer, more functional model.  If we were working on the total gut and replace kitchen (you know, the 5-10 year plan kitchen) we would be installing a gas range for chef Matt, but for now replacing the electric range with a newer appliance works GREAT for us.

So we took the plunge and everything worked out pretty well! Yes, I obviously chose black as the new cabinet color, but more on that next week and how the painting process went…


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