A Kitchen in Woodstock | Before

This kitchen has been so much fun to work on. Not only is the client great, but the house is great! From the architecture through to the client’s style, I’ve loved working on this project.

I’m excited to share more on this one as progress continues because compared to most of the projects around here, it isn’t a full gut! We are taking the space and using a lot of existing elements to change the overall look without changing everything. The kitchen has a lot of natural light pouring into it as you can see in the photos above of the existing space, which is great. It is a really great size and everything is in relatively good shape.

So, what’s the plan? (Images Below: left, existing floor plan; top right, proposed new floor plan; bottom right, new window wall elevation with shelving and molding details.) We are stripping and painting the cabinets, replacing the island with something that fits the space a little bit better and offers a bit more function, replacing the countertops, sinks, faucets and backsplash. Then to elevate things we are raising the upper cabinets, adding some floating shelves to the space and opening up the pass through window to make the space flow better. Sounds like a lot? Well it’s a lot of carpentry work that will add up to make a huge impact on the space, without gutting the space completely.

What are we keeping exactly? All of the perimeter cabinets, base and uppers (with the exception of the kitchen sink base which was shot), all of the appliances-including the built in grill in the island, all of the shelving in the space is staying (cookbook storage and art storage above cabinets now) and actually we are adding more around the rest of the kitchen, lighting will remain as is since the kitchen is so bright already, and most importantly we are keeping the flooring which continues throughout the first floor and is original to the home.

What do I love most about this project? When I first started design school, when I was still in Washington (state not DC), my second semester I took an environmental design class learning about all the ways interior design adds to landfills and how to use better products and re-use what you can to help limit or prevent this. After that class I actually dropped out and switched majors for a while to environmental science. I realized that there wasn’t really a career path I could see myself in that would fall under that new major, so then I quit altogether and did some living and some soul searching. After a few years, I finally decided to follow my passion of interior design and go back to school, promising myself I’d do my best to encourage ‘green’ choices when I could. This project totally speaks to that!! And I can’t wait to share with you all how beautiful it can be, after we get it all wrapped up, to renovate this way!

Maybe it’s the location, but this project is really bringing me back to my Pacific Northwest tree-hugging roots in the best way possible and I’m loving every minute of it. And if you made it all the way through this wordy post, I appreciate you hanging in there! I’m going to be up at this jobsite next week and I’m hoping to get some pictures for an in-progress post to share with you all then!

Do you think you’d be a fan of keeping some of your existing pieces and only refacing cabinets and updating some of the details to make a change instead of doing a full gut renovation? I’m interested to hear what you think of the concept and see how you will feel when you see the completed space–maybe I can convert some of you!

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Work In Progress… {Putting Pen to Paper}

… Or in my case, I always use the same type of pencils. I keep an overflowing quantity of them on my desk at home and in the office at all times. Putting pencil to paper for me is how everything really starts unfolding in the design process. After meeting with clients and discussing their wants and needs for the space, I go home and lay it all out.

Finding the Right Layout

This is a layered process, and I mean that very literally. The way that I typically work through a space is by first drawing the shell and giving myself an outline of the immovable space we are confined to for the project. Then, I make copies, and from those copies I layer in the different elements of the space working to see if we can get all the wants and needs into the space. Most of the time there is a compromise that has to take place. Something big is required (by code or by client) so something else less important has to take the backseat.

For each project, this process is different. For some clients, it is very cut and dried and only takes one draft; for others it can take dozens. I just finished a kitchen plan that was very straight forward with the space allowances, the clients requirements and the materials we specified. It took one first draft and the final was essentially the same with some minor tweaks. Simultaneously I am working on two separate bathroom spaces, an expansive master on-suite and a small family bathroom in a farmhouse. Both are much more complicated and have taken several drafts to get on the right level with the space, the client must haves and the necessary design details.

This process can be frustratingly drawn out and can take a long time. I wish it was all easy..but going through the motions for me also helps solidify the design we move forward with knowing that it is the best option and that all other options have been drawn out and considered.

Hand Drawing Detail 1

A lot of my clients ask if I’m going to send them a computerized drawing of their space and plan when we do our initial meeting, and although I have learned software programs while I was in design school, there is something about putting pen to paper that is so much more valuable to me and my process than clicking the mouse a few times. Maybe someday I’ll go all fancy and switch to the software, but I love the practice of drawing plans and spaces. From a creative standpoint, it also allows me to connect with the space so much better and really see the layouts take their best shape.

I thought it would be fun to share a bit about my process when I get started on a new job as it starts to take shape, especially as there has been a ton of drafting and re-drafting of plans happening around here lately.