What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kitchen Renovation Restrictions

There are always restrictions imposed on any renovation project ranging from financial to physical space to bylaws and permits. I mentioned several times that we had a few restrictions for our kitchen renovation. After seeing the following pictures you will have a better idea of the restrictions we faced for this renovation. The major one was we really had to work within the space we had because there was no option for expansion without major and I do mean major renovations. The kitchen is on the lower level that is earth bermed so most of the kitchen is below grade. The window is at ground level and the patio doors are below grade. The patio doors lead to a covered patio below the upper level enclosed sunporch. The patio leads into the yard that ends at the water's edge. There is a lovely view of the water from both the kitchen window and patio doors as well as the large window in the family room. The second restriction was the wood ceiling, one of the selling features for this house. Honestly they are gorgeous! The third restriction was this house has a very cottage-like feel so we wanted to keep that feel meaning some materials simply wouldn't work well for the look. The property is waterfront and a good portion of our entertaining involves water activities. On weekends it is common for us to host one or more family and friend get togethers numbering 30 or more guests so the kitchen really has to perform but at the same time it has to have that cottage look and feel.

Family Room

We have a large family room with wood as the overpowering element. Not shown to the right is a large couch and to the left by the television is the dining table. On an angle and behind the love seat and chair shown is a empty space then my desk tucked beside the stairwell. From my desk going off the family room from right to left - under the stairwell is a large 10' x 10' walk-in pantry, our huge master bedroom, bathroom, laundry room. Off the laundry room is the furnace room. Off the master bedroom is the space under the front porch that we are going to insulate and finish for storage. The massive natural fireplace was converted to a gas fireplace by the previous owner. We are going to replace this fireplace with something not quite so fussy looking. The fireplace throws off enough heat to heat the house in the event the power is out.

Visually the room is very textural. Note especially the wood ceiling. It continues into the kitchen. Anything during the kitchen renovation that would affect the ceiling would have the potential of being quite costly. Since the ceiling was a selling feature, we were not prepared to change it.

View 1

This view is taken from the corner of the family room in front of the couch. It shows the only common wall between the family room and kitchen. This is an outside wall with patio doors and large picture window. Of note is the thickness of the lower level walls measuring about 18 - inches from inside to outside. This is the only wall on the lower level that is fully exposed although it is well protected to reduce any effects from direct winds. The other walls are earth bermed.

The kitchen is on the other side of the stairs leading to the entrance which technically is the only room on that level. Stairs from the entrance lead to the upper level consisting of a games room, a large room we aren't sure what we are doing with yet, an office, two bedrooms and a bathroom. Dividing the kitchen from the family room is the breakfast bar.

View 2

This view was taken from in front of the television. It shows how the ceiling from the family room continues into the kitchen. Removing or replacing the cabinets would have affected the ceiling. The expanse of wood in the family room and kitchen on ceiling, walls and cabinets does make the two rooms darker so lights are needed especially on cloudy days. Very little direct sunlight finds its way into the lower level. The wood continues up the stairwell and surrounds the entrance. The banister is heavy wood in keeping with the rest of the house. It forms a focal point for the entry and is quite visible from the two upper level main rooms.

The renovation really brightened up the kitchen while keeping that all important cottage look. There were so many choices and I actually fell in love with a beautiful shades of sea green glass tile that would have looked beautiful with the painted wall. The immediate problem was that tile would tie us into that colour for quite some time. I was flipping through a cottage design magazine when I spotted just the tile that would look great in our kitchen. Armed with the picture we went shopping. We are quite pleased with the results and our ability to work within the restrictions.

Garden Gnome