The winner of the informal face-off poll in my last house post is THE KITCHEN, narrowly defeating the bathroom with a current tally of 30-25. Congratulations, kitchen! Smell ya later, bathroom (figuratively, that is, not literally). How about we take a look around at the the entire kitchen from all angles, and then look over some plans?
As you can probably tell from the photo above, the kitchen is on the small side, but not ridiculously so. The room is about 7′ wide and 14′ long, so the L-shaped configuration makes a lot of sense. The cabinets—original to the house and built on-site—are simple and spacious. I love that they extend all the way to the ceiling. I’ve never been a huge fan of corner cabinets because I feel like they waste a lot of space in the back, but it does make a difference here. Even just that little bit of extra counter space helps.
Okay, so here’s where things might get a little controversial. This sink is original to the house. It’s also in really bad shape. The enamel is very pitted and badly etched, and no amount of scrubbing I’ve done with Barkeeper’s Friend and Scotch-Brite pads (my usual let’s-make-a-miracle-happen combo) gets the sink to a place where it feels like it’s sanitary to use, much less nice to look at. Also, I greatly dislike double sinks. I guess if one side were big enough to wash a cookie sheet and the other side was small it would be fine, but that would be a huge sink in a relatively small space. So I’d much rather have a single sink that’s a little smaller overall, but with a basin size that’s more practical.
So the sink is a goner. It’ll go to Habitat ReStore, where hopefully someone will figure out a good use for it, like maybe in a laundry room or an art studio.
Also, can we talk about what’s going on with that grout around the sink? Because it’s gross. The original kitchen countertop would have likely been either Formica or Linoleum over wood, edged with metal. When someone decided to “upgrade” to cheap floor tiles, they just put the tile right over the old countertop—which made the surface significantly higher than the sink edge. Clearly the solution was to create a sloped edge with a whole bunch of grout?? Don’t do this. It’s gross. It’s impossible to clean, and every time it gets wet (which is often, since it’s around a sink), a little bit of the grout wears off and goes down the drain. Did I mention it’s gross?
Time for more controversy! Like the sink, these cabinet handles are also original to the house, and they are also gross. At first they look like they just need to be cleaned up, but on closer inspection, the finish is also really pitted and scratched—and a lot of them are actually cracking. I don’t know what kind of metal they’re made out of, but it’s weirdly brittle? Also, I honestly don’t even like them. I don’t think they look right with this style of house. So…bye, handles.
No, that’s not a miniature stove! It’s a standard model, but it’s in a 40″ space. In 1950, most stoves were 36-40″ wide, and surrounding cabinetry was built accordingly. Nowadays most stoves are narrower (standard in the US is 30″ wide), so they don’t always play nicely in older houses. Similarly, refrigerators in 1950 were much shorter than they are today, so the options that exist now to fit in these predefined spaces are really limited.
To me, the most obvious move here seems to be to replace the stove with a wider model (it’s tricky to find 40″ stoves that aren’t super expensive, but there are a few good options at 36″ wide), and put the refrigerator somewhere else (see below). THEN…extend the upper cabinet to the right of the stove down so it matches the cabinets on the left, and add another lower cabinet (and more countertop!) where the fridge used to be. Does that make sense?
Like this!! This gives you a whole additional 36″ of countertop, plus a ton more storage space, PLUS more options for refrigerators (taller, narrower, etc.) when it comes time to eventually deal with new appliances. Get it?
This is where the refrigerator will be moved to. This is completely dead, wasted space currently. I assume it once was used for a Hoosier cabinet or something like that, because there’s really not enough space for a dining table. Also, the actual dining room is only about 4′ away.
Now, about the floor. Why do people put this faux-rustic tile everywhere? This is the exact same tile that’s at Fritz’s vet’s office. Why is it also on the floor in this house? AND THE COUNTERTOP? I do not know. Yes, it’s cheap, but there’s all kinds of tile out there that’s cheap. Like Saltillo tile, for example, which is totally appropriate for a Pueblo Revivial house. Why go with the faux-rustic stuff when you can do the real thing for roughly the same price? I do not know.
Anyway, we knew we didn’t want to deal with demo’ing and replacing the entire floor right away, so this floor is going to get a stop-gap prettying-up for the time being. You’ll see.
So that’s the overview of the kitchen, and the rough plan for the eventual layout. I’ll be back next time with specifics about colors, materials, appliances, and all of that good stuff. Yay! Then it’s work time! Yay! Yay!