Late last week we had our second real meeting with our designer Carol and we got to see the plans she drew up based on the output of our first meeting.

Design at the early stage is fun. The budget prioritization comes later.

One reason that a designer is a real solid addition to a renovation project is their perspective as an “impartial” outside observer (in addition to their skills in assembling trades, know how about the process, design sense… I could go on.) During that first meeting Carol was quite detailed in her approach to finding out how we use our current kitchen and what we’d like to see in an improved one especially what some of our priorities are. This really helped as I think when you live with a situation for a while you overlook some of the big moves you could undertake that would help out further down the line.

One thing I mentioned was currently the fridge sits almost right in front of the rear door, so even though we put in a full glass door (see this post for more on that!) the bulk of the appliance blocks out a fair amount of light from coming into the kitchen. Now normally this wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but given that our house is so narrow and close to our neighbours, we don’t have any side lighting. (We have a narrow window on the dining room, but after about 12:30pm the sun moves around the rear of the house and that area goes into shadow.) The predominant light source is the back of the house since it faces south.

But one of my top 3 frustrations with the current layout is that when all of us come in the back door it is a traffic nightmare with boots, coats, dogs, bags flying everywhere, especially if it is cold or raining out. But I understand that because of the size of the space adding more program to a “kitchen” would be even more of a challenge. But there are always tradeoffs in any type of design job; so rare are those optimum conditions where all the stars align and things work out perfectly. So how are we doing so far?

Carol brought over two sketches: one moved the sink to the extreme south end of the kitchen and moved the range to the opposite end of the counter run. The big move in this one was closing up the existing window (what?) and replacing it with two thinner ones on either side of the HVAC duct. Did I mention there is a duct which supplies the second floor right smack dab in the middle of the rear wall?
The second one moves the fridge pretty much diagonally opposite to where it is now and the sink moves to the west wall. Now it becomes interesting! We took this concept and tweaked it a bit on the weekend so that maybe if we can move that HVAC duct a foot or so to the right, we can have a larger window.

Very rough sketch but you can see that the west wall is alot cleaner as the fridge is now tucked away behind the stub wall.

We are now trying to figure out how to maximize the amount of counter run on the east wall by putting the microwave into the uppers and maybe putting the sink into the corner on a diagonal, but I am not convinced of the diagonal sink and if we did this we’d have to swap the range over to the other side and figure out how to duct the range hood.

Next stage when we see if all this fits is to get preliminary costing on a scheme. Never the fun part because it usually means really getting down to what is important and what is only a nice to have because like everything else, it will come down to priorities and tradeoffs.

Ever had a diagonal sink? Let me know your thoughts!