1970 kitchen renovation | floor plan & changes I made from your suggestions

by | Apr 13, 2023 | 1970 home renovation, Kitchen, My House | 44 comments

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I have to be completely honest and say that doing a renovation or room makeover, sharing it online, and getting constant feedback can be a bit overwhelming.  I felt that way when I first started work on our previous Minnesota house and, at times, it was exhausting feeling like I have to explain or justify all of my choices.  Before you run away and never leave a comment again, let me say that I learned a lot through the process and it helped me grow.  I got much better at receiving feedback, taking in what was useful, and weeding out what wasn’t.  Well, it’s all useful.  Some comments made me rethink my choices and make adjustments while others made me more certain about my decisions.

The other day, someone (in real life) commented that it must be hard to work on a room and get real-time comments about it.  I actually had to remember back to a few years ago when I felt a bit exasperated by it.  But, I am a little older and a little wiser.  I answered something to the effect of, “It can be overwhelming at times, but it can also be very useful.  I get to learn from the collective experience of a lot of people and that’s a good thing.”

I get to defend my decisions, even if it’s just to myself, simply because the question was asked, an observation was shared, or an opinion was stated.  And, in the case of the kitchen renovation, I’ve received some wonderful advice that I have taken!

Before I get into the advice I implemented in the renovation, let me share a before and after floor plan of the kitchen.  Understandably, this kitchen is a little hard to figure out just based on pictures.  (You can see lots of before pictures HERE.)  It’s even confusing in real life.  I remember trying to draw a sketch of it from memory after our first showing of the house and I finally gave up.  It was just too complicated to draw without standing in the physical space and taking measurements.

So, here is the before…

You can probably see the issues.  It’s very chopped up and makes some spaces, like the mudroom and the eating area, cramped.  All of the walls also block the light and make the kitchen feel like a bit of a maze.

We had planned on taking down the mudroom walls pretty soon after we moved in but thought moving the staircase would blow the budget.  We were pleasantly surprised by the quote, so moving the stairs became a no-brainer.  It would do so much to open up this area and make it more functional for this day and age.  Here is the new floor plan…

Wow, right?  It’s going from an awkward, chopped-up U-shape to a wide-open rectangle.

We do lose some storage and a hidden place to kick off shoes, but we have plenty of storage elsewhere and can make it all work.  I’ll put a cabinet by the side door to act as a “mini mudroom.”

As I’ve shared before, I will put an antique island in the kitchen to add more counter space and storage.  I didn’t want to do built-in cabinets, so I had lots of flexibility with that wide open space plus I love the idea of having a great antique island as a feature.

You can see other plans, mock-ups, and sketches for the kitchen makeover HERE.

Now, to the things I changed based on your very wise comments…

 dishwasher panel

I initially thought I would wait and order a dishwasher panel when we swapped our dishwasher out to one that is panel-ready, but several readers suggested ordering one with the rest of my cabinets so the color would be an exact match.  I inquired about the price and, for $130, it was worth tacking it on to make sure we had a matching panel when the time came.  After reviewing the budget, I decided to order a panel-ready dishwasher when I ordered the range hood insert.  I’ll share more about both of those in another post.

moved the spice cabinet

I had an inkling about this, but when a blog reader pointed it out, it confirmed it for me.  Initially, the spice pull-out cabinet was right next to the stove.   It was suggested that I swap it with the cabinet next to it so the spices and oils aren’t kept right next to a heat source.  Heat can cause spices to deteriorate more quickly, making them flavorless.  It was easy to swap the two of them.  You can see my “swap” arrow at the bottom left of the stove.

ordered cabinet paint

I was just planning on trying to match the cabinet paint and felt confident that I could get it close enough to look good, but why do that if I can order some extra paint from the cabinet manufacturer?  I asked the kitchen designer if I could order a quart of each color for painting the range hood and anything else we add to further customize the cabinets and she added it to the cabinet order.

The kitchen counters continue to be a bit of a struggle.  Every single sample I have selected has been discontinued.  If you need to clean your showroom of samples or entire lines that are no longer being made, just let me spend a bit of time in there picking what I like.  The two that I do like and are still being made are almost twice the cost of the other samples I liked.  Surely we can find quartz that fits in the initial quotes I received and has the look I want.  The best way I can describe it is I want a cool grayish/white polished quartz counter with natural gray veining.  The Corian Quartz line is completely discontinued, most Cambria options are too expensive, and the MSI samples I liked were discontinued.  I did find some more options on the MSI website, so the kitchen designer is ordering those samples and we’ll review them once they are in.  I’m hoping one of those will be a winner.

So, the kitchen renovation world keeps turning.  The soffits came out yesterday along with more of the mudroom and staircase walls.  We already have drywall and electrical lined up for next week, so things are moving right along!  Since the same contractor is working on our pool, they will bounce between working on the kitchen and pool while we’re waiting for materials to arrive.

I’m off to do more trim in the hallway…

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    1. Cindy Pegram

      We are remodeling our 1970’s Kitchen as well. Picked out cabinets and layout. Will pick out countertop’s and backsplash. But cabinet hardware is what has me stumped. Knobs, pulls, cup pulls. And so many to choose from!

    2. Cindy

      Dorian Quartz now discontinued? My Ashen Gray is due to be installed on
      April 25. No word from my kitchen designer the line has been discontinued!

      • Cindy

        Sorry! That should read Corian Quartz.

        • Marian Parsons

          Yes, that entire line has been discontinued and they are selling off slabs. I asked my kitchen designer if she could get her hands on Ashen Gray, because I really love that one, but she said she wasn’t able to. I’m guessing it’s a recent discontinuation.

          • Cherylan

            A very conservative solution is to use a dimensional laminate with wrapped edges so it looks like stone. I recently saw a house with a 2” thick huge island top with a farmhouse sink. Stone counter tops along the walls. The two different materials worked. It was a Carrara look.

      • Shelley

        Hello Marian! I love the kitchen layout. My suggestion would be to add a second window. One looks small on the drawing with all that space you have now. Just my opinion!

        • Patricia

          There is a door with a glass window right next to the cabinets though.

        • Gabrielle

          Thank you so much for sharing. Like I said yesterday, I love the light flooding in from the now open mud room. You will have so much space to move around in your room now by moving those basement stairs. It will all be fabulous!

    3. Deborah

      I can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like, I know it will be beautiful. That’s a bummer about the tile choices. It’s so important!

      If you can’t find what you love, don’t spend a fortune on what you don’t love. Then you will never feel right about changing it out. Maybe leave yourself the option to change it out later?
      This is an off-the-wall suggestion; you could consider butcher block counters for at least part of the counters. It’s pretty inexpensive and looks nice with painted cabinets. I never used to like it much but lately I do. I put it on one counter in my laundry room and it looks great. At some point in the future when you find the perfect thing you wouldn’t feel so guilty about changing it. Possibly the same thing goes for Formica counters. Some of them these days look nice.

      It’s fun to have choices, even if it gets overwhelming!

      • Marian Parsons

        Yes, I agree that I’m not going to buy something I don’t love. That’s why we’re still ordering samples and looking into other options. As far as butcher block, we actually fabricated and installed our own butcher block counters in our PA house. It was really the most affordable option for us and they did look beautiful!

    4. marci

      Maybe you don’t like granite, but I used it in my kitchen and I do love it. I noticed that you don’t need a huge amount for the counters that you would’t need a huge slab. What I found at a local place was broken pieces. When the granite gets moved sometimes it breaks and for us and our kitchen, those broken pieces were perfect and half price. They installed for free and beveled the edges really nice. Just a thought. These types of projects are so rewarding when finished.

    5. Katie Frick

      So exciting to see this project coming along!! I’m looking forward to reading about the vent hood. We are doing a kitchen glow-up (too new for a guy job, but I strongly disliked every single design element from the day we first looked at the house!!) We finally saved enough to rip out and replace the backsplash (DIY) and paint the existing cabinets (professionals) Now I’m trying to decide between a stainless or built in hood!! looking forward to hearing about the one you guys are putting in!! Thank you for sharing your process, I can’t wait to see the beautiful end result!!!

    6. Shelley

      Hello Marian! I love the kitchen layout. My suggestion would be to add a second window. One looks small on the drawing with all that space you have now. Just my opinion!

      • Marian Parsons

        Well, that shop has sailed. We already ordered the window and planned around it. It will be 5′ wide, so it will have more presence than the current window.

    7. Nancy

      What a huge job a kitchen renovation is! And it looks like you’re doing it beautifully. I love the changes you made to the kitchen. Our kitchen has a similar configuration to what you will have when you’re finished. I think it is a good choice to have a moveable island, especially because your sink, stove, and refrigerator are on on three sides. For me, an island would be an inconvenience because I’d have to go around it to get from sink to refrigerator or stove, and the other way around. Also, our kitchen is sometimes a walk-through to the living room and that island would be a problem. But a moveable island? Perfect!

    8. Kim

      Oh, that kitchen will be so much nicer and simpler when it is one big room. It is really great that you were able to make all the changes work structurally! Kind of disappointing to say the least that the countertop choices aren’t available anymore, especially considering that they are classics.

    9. Kate

      I have spice and oil pull out cabinets flanking my 7 series Viking professional level range. Since the range is insulated and I am certain your’s is too there is no heat from the oven or the stove top that will destroy your spices, herbs or oils. There are strict codes in place so the kitchen cabinets don’t catch fire! The cabinets stay cool. If you doubt, check with in your manufacturer. Kate

    10. jenw

      Oh, that is the most frustrating thing in the world! Showrooms should be purging their samples on a regular basis. Do not show me something if I cannot order it! I understand if something was discontinued in the last month or so. But showing me something months and months after it was discontinued is the sign of a lazy showroom, imo. Good luck finding the right countertops and managing all the unsolicited advice!

    11. Terry

      Love it all and your blogging attitude too. Teaching us all to let comments roll off, perfect. BTW what brand is your miter saw stand? Could not tell from the pic.

    12. Denise Rambo

      I’m just wondering why you’re not going with the countertop materials you used in the MN house? (Or maybe I missed that somewhere.)

      • Marian Parsons

        We are considering that, but it fits in the “twice as expensive” category. The cost has gone up sooooo much since we last did our kitchen and bathroom in Minnesota. I was trying to find something comparable that left a bit more breathing room in our budget. If we can’t find something with a similar look at a lower price point, then we will go with those (Hanstone Quartz in Monterey.) That would likely mean I will have to wait a while on the island or other pieces.

    13. Mary

      While I have no “suggestions “ for you, I do want to comment that I look forward to seeing all the beautiful choices you are making! It is YOUR home and need only please your family. You will no doubt make some decisions that you regret which is both normal and “human”. As a professional designer, I still error occasionally!

    14. Linda Carman

      I love watching the changes you are doing. I know it will look gorgeous! As always, you do you!

    15. Becky

      Looks so much bigger! Looking forward to seeing it done. Will you share the general layout? Trying to figure out the views from the doors is confusing. Love to see how you make it flow!
      When do they project completion?

    16. Shelley Humpal

      Marian you might try Viatara Quartz. I am looking at it for a client and they are affordable.

    17. Amy

      Great new layout! I love all your choices but one thing bugs me – the range vent hood. It’s nice but in a room full of boxy shapes I thought maybe a modified trapezoid shape would break things up a bit and make it more of a feature in your new kitchen. I’m so excited for you and can’t wait until we see the finished room. Also, regarding the discontinued countertop maybe you could find it in another showroom? Ebay or Etsy might be an option also. Best of luck!

      • Marian Parsons

        Well, I want a boxy-shaped range hood so I can put floating shelves on either side. It will also have trim on it, perhaps a ledge/shelf, so the boxiness will be broken up. There will be other elements in the room to bring softness to all of the hard edges.

    18. SueA

      Ignore this if you do not want to have another person chiming in, but here goes. I would add a shoe/boot rack beside the door. I recently remodeled my kitchen and included a large built-in shoe rack which is so nice to have! It forms a bit of a divider and buffer into the kitchen and keeps traffic in a traffic zone. Also I chose quartz countertops and they are beautiful but also LOUD. Dishes and glassware clatter against them and produce harsh sounds. Next kitchen I do will be Corian. It is much softer and quieter. I prefer a serene kitchen.

    19. Peggy

      Do you remember how Victoria Elizabeth Barnes used a piano as her kitchen island?

    20. Claire

      As I was reading your post I stopped to study the existing floor plan and all I could think about was “Whoa, that stairwell in the middle of the kitchen!” I am glad you can change that!

    21. Jeanine

      Wow is right, what a transformation your kitchen will be! I know you’ll love it and spend many hours enjoying it, especially with two growing boys! Now, here comes the advice, lol, make your window above the sink as wide as you can. This is something I wish I had done when planning my kitchen:). The more light, the better!

      • Marian Parsons

        Yep, we made it as big as possible given the constraints on the outside of the house.

    22. Tamara

      Your choices are all really classy and will look great! I cannot wait to see the antique island you use. We remodeled our bathroom last summer and I chose Quartz in Shadow Supreme. It may be called different names in different parts of the country. I am really enjoying it.

    23. Karen B.

      I can’t imagine hearing from so many readers and having the subtle criticism that probably comes your way. You have always handled it so gracefully. I, for one, appreciate your sharing the renovation of each of your homes. It’s always so inspiring for me, and I want to thank you for your patience and time spent writing these posts.
      Karen B.

    24. Kimberly Carnegie Bruhn

      THANK YOU for posting the before/after floorplans you made….now I can really see all the magic and truly visualize how you changed that basement staircase!

    25. Janice

      Wow was my initial thought, too! How to open up a space!

    26. Michele M.

      I think your plans are amazing. I do have one question for you though – just based on how much cooking we do
      here at home. Have you allowed yourself enough counter space to the left of your (amazing) range for working?
      I hope that appliance “garage” doesn’t disappoint you for losing that work space. But truly your kitchen is going to be ah-mazing! Thanks for sharing. I hate to be one of those putting a wrench in your plans – but this is such a pricey project I thought it was important to just ask. I am sure you have already given it much thought.

      • Marian Parsons

        I have paid attention to how I worked in my last kitchen and in this one and I usually just use a small section of counter when I’m prepping for meals. I only need lots of room to spread out when I’m baking or for special occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I also noticed in my MN kitchen that I did most of the prep on the island opposite the stove, so that is where the island in this plan will come into play. There is still room for prep on both sides of the stove, next to the sink, and, of course, on the island, so I feel pretty comfortable with it.

    27. Beth

      I just saw a large handmade German hutch listed on Facebook marketplace in Pittsburgh ( Latrobe ) I thought of you for the open wall in your kitchen.
      You might want to take a looks. Very interesting.

    28. sandi m

      I say go with the MN counter top. You loved it, right? Instead of looking for an alternative, I vote for the Jeff approach. How many pictures would you need to paint and sell??

      Thanks for the Floorplan. Really helps to ‘see’ the space.

      • Mona Ellison

        Here’s my two cents. With that staircase moved, I would not get rid of that enclosed mudroom, maybe just make it a little smaller. What I would do is have a solid, counter height wall with a divided light, counter wall-to-ceiling window wall above it to let in light from the window in the door to the outside (and to have a more open look than having a solid, floor to ceiling wall). Then I’d have a french door from the kitchen into the mudroom to allow light from that side, too. If you plan to have an island (with possibly more cabinet and drawer storage), then maybe you don’t need all that counter space and storage you’ve added due to the mudroom being gone. I just wouldn’t want everything that usually belongs in a mudroom (dirty shoes, wet jackets, etc.) out in the open in my kitchen.

    29. Vicki C.

      Love reading your posts! I have Silestone countertops and love them ! They are older now but look as good as the day they were put in! There is no upkeep! They are quartz.

    30. Suzanne

      I would forget the sconces, use maybe pendant light. And the whole wall would be window!! Love that look, but not everyone has the chance to do it.

    31. Hoodsly

      Hope the plan is executed well and you get the desired results!

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