Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

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Rayandron
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Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by Rayandron » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:51 am

The post from last week about kitchen features inspired me to finally write this post and seek the wisdom of the BH crowd...

We are under contract on a house (yay!). The house is in fantastic condition we're super excited about it, but there is one change we'd like to make: opening up the dining room to the kitchen by removing a wall and moving the fridge (see drawings & pictures below).

Image
Image

Basically, the plan is to remove a wall and move the fridge, and put in an island to make up for lost counter & cabinet space. The picture labeled "Similar to Future" on the right is from a house on our block with a nearly identical floor plan and is, duh, very similar to what we want to do (Edit: similar in layout, not planning to re-do the whole kitchen/appliances/finishes/etc as they did). The questions we have are as follows:

1. Any idea what removing the wall, moving the fridge, re-doing the cabinets, counter, and ceiling offset to look good, and installing an island would cost? (we live in the DC metro area, so high cost of living area)
2. My wife would prefer a tile floor in the kitchen (like in the picture on the right), but the existing hardwood floor in the kitchen and rest of the first floor of the house is less than 5 years old and is high quality Mirage wood. Happy wife, happy life or pump the brakes and install tile when the existing floor merits renovation in 10+ years?
3. As of now we're not planning to relocate the kitchen sink/dishwasher like the other house owners did. Agree/disagree? Note: doing so might also require relocating the ovens, see image...
Image
4. Any other ideas/suggestions?
Last edited by Rayandron on Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

30inMaryland
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by 30inMaryland » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:56 am

Judging from our kitchen remodel in DC three years ago, I'm guessing this would cost anywhere from 30-60K depending on the type of firm you choose to do it and how high end the finishes/cabinets/appliances are. This assumes that wall is non-structural. If you go to any of the kitchen design/remodel places in the area, they should work up a 3D model and cost estimate for you of what you'd like for free.

I would recommend getting floor the way you want it in the remodel. Changing the floor later may require pulling out and reinstalling some of the cabinets and certainly some of the appliances, which is way more pain than it is worth. That said, we've been happy with a wood floor in our new kitchen, but it's a personal preference.

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dwickenh
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by dwickenh » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:04 am

I would consult someone to improve the layout in the kitchen prior to the update. The ability to have the sink close to the refrigerator and stove makes for increased utility of the kitchen for cooking. It appears to be a beautiful kitchen, but may lack some utility due to the layout. My experience is limited, but my father and sister were both contractors that built new homes and some remodeling.
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stan1
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by stan1 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:16 am

* Aisle width and island width: Islands with seating are popular now. First thing you'd want to do is get the dimensions to determine whether you have enough width for an island. Keep in mind the refrigerator will stick out into the aisle unless it is an integrated model like a Sub-Zero. You'll want 39-42" MINIMUM aisle space on either side. I think you could put one or two counter stools over in front of the window but you won't get seating for 4 at the island. That might not leave you much width for an island (usually 25" minimum, 24" cabinet + 1" counter overhang). Looking at your photo it might be tight. Perhaps you are considering a movable island/cart.

* Traffic patterns. Do you have young children? I can see kids racing through the kitchen behind the cooktop in the proposed plan. Maybe you'll be effective at getting them to go between the pantry and island rather than island and cooktop/refrigerator, maybe not.

* It looks like there is a soffit over the current refrigerator. There might be ducting in the soffit which would be hard to reroute so you might not be able to raise the ceiling to the same height.

* The GardenWeb kitchen people would tell you to swap the oven and refrigerator. You move food from the refrigerator to the sink to the cooktop so your proposed plan is not efficient (backtracking). You may want to post your plan on the kitchen forum at GardenWeb/Houzz. You should get some good advice just be prepared some people there prefer 500 square foot kitchens over 120 square foot kitchens.

carolinaman
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by carolinaman » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:53 am

dwickenh wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:04 am
I would consult someone to improve the layout in the kitchen prior to the update. The ability to have the sink close to the refrigerator and stove makes for increased utility of the kitchen for cooking. It appears to be a beautiful kitchen, but may lack some utility due to the layout. My experience is limited, but my father and sister were both contractors that built new homes and some remodeling.
I agree that you should consult an expert to design an effective layout. IMO, the kitchen does not appear to have enough space for an island and you will lose valuable cabinet space which you cannot afford to give up. We did a major kitchen remodel a few years ago and have a similar layout of kitchen and dining. We opted not to have an island and are very happy with our new kitchen.

staythecourse
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by staythecourse » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:07 am

First thing first is to bid it out. Find 3-4 contractors with good reputations and have them take a look. Then go from there. These questions of: How much it will cost is sort of useless as there are too many factors, such as; Supply of good tradesman in your area, the current demand (sometimes affected by time of year), cost of materials, etc... Another factor is how much hand holding you will need to pick materials (new countertop island, etc...). It is just easier to get some bids (they are free estimates). Now a days reputation is more readily known so quality shops make an effort to be on point with their proposals.

Not sure if it helps, but have a guestimation that labor is usually 100% of the cost of finishing materials. If your materials together costs 10k then labor is usually around 10k. Mind you that is a very weak rule of thumb.

Good luck.
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FraggleRock
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Expertise is worth it

Post by FraggleRock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:21 am

Hire an architect.
They are better at this than you.
We always do.

MangoMama
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by MangoMama » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:25 am

carolinaman wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:53 am
dwickenh wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:04 am
I would consult someone to improve the layout in the kitchen prior to the update. The ability to have the sink close to the refrigerator and stove makes for increased utility of the kitchen for cooking. It appears to be a beautiful kitchen, but may lack some utility due to the layout. My experience is limited, but my father and sister were both contractors that built new homes and some remodeling.
I agree that you should consult an expert to design an effective layout. IMO, the kitchen does not appear to have enough space for an island and you will lose valuable cabinet space which you cannot afford to give up. We did a major kitchen remodel a few years ago and have a similar layout of kitchen and dining. We opted not to have an island and are very happy with our new kitchen.
As a self-proclaimed DIY'er, I will admit this is especially true for the kitchen. There are so many variables and things to consider. We are currently in the planning stages of a new kitchen and the designer has definitely brought up and suggested good ideas and ways to increase our kitchen real estate.

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Watty
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by Watty » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:29 am

A frequent recommendation is to live in a house for at least six months before making any optional changes like that. This will give you a chance to figure out would really be best.

Even if you can easily afford it and want the change living in a construction zone for a month or more(been there done that!) would make me question if the change is worth the inconvenience.

A couple of things to consider.

There a chance that the existing cabinets or countertop will be damaged when the wall is taken out so you may find that the remodelers are reluctant to take the job.

It may be difficult, and add costs, to try get exact matches on the cabinites and the countertops will be impossible to match so you will not be able to extend them.

It might be better to wait to make the changes until some future point in time when are planning to do a complete kitchen remodel anyway.

kaudrey
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by kaudrey » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:44 pm

I have an open-concept kitchen in my townhouse - similarly long like your picture, and the entire level is hardwood. I wouldn't do tile there - I think the aesthetic looks choppy, when you are trying to make it all flow together.

Someone said it looked like an island wouldn't fit - it seems ok to me, and as someone who cooks, I would say "YES", you'd need that counter space. I've told my SO that our next house needs about double the counter space we have now (and after seeing me cook for the last year, he wholeheartedly agrees with me).

I also live in the DC area. I had a good experience with a company in 2017 who gutted my entire master bathroom; they also do kitchens. If you want a recommendation for a quote, PM me.

michaeljc70
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:13 pm

The proposed layout and neighbor's layout both have a bad work triangle and aren't ideal. The issue is to correct that would probably mean putting the sink in the island (or other major relocations) and that would mean relocating plumbing which can be expensive. If you aren't that big into cooking, then it may be passable and you just live with it.

What's on the left side of the room? It looks like a window or patio door. If it is a window, how low does the window go? Is there an opportunity to add cabinets below it or next to it?

EDIT: In the neighbor's picture I see the windows goes pretty low and it looks like it has low cabinets maybe with bench seating.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Pajamas
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by Pajamas » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:21 pm

Looks like your kitchen is already open to the breakfast area with a counter to eat at, so why in the world would you want to open it up to the more formal dining area? Many people don't use a formal dining room as a dining room, anyway, they use it as an office or hobby room or similar. What do you think you will actually use it for?

delamer
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by delamer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:39 pm

The oven opening into the breakfast nook looks problematic, as in very little clearance.

I’d agree with those who have suggested getting a professional kitchen designer. When we added on and redid the kitchen, our contractor subcontracted the design to a kitchen design firm. This was covered by tne contractor’s fee. They took our input and came up with a couple good designs, one of which we selected.

Regarding the flooring, if you take out the wall then you will have a gap in the floor. It might be possible to patch it and have it look OK, but it might not be. My guess is not.

Rayandron
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by Rayandron » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:41 pm

Thanks for the feedback everybody! My responses below...
30inMaryland wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:56 am
30-60K depending on the type of firm you choose to do it and how high end the finishes/cabinets/appliances are. This assumes that wall is non-structural.
Wow, that's much more than I was expecting. Hope it isn't that much! I am almost certain the wall is not a load-bearing one.
dwickenh wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:04 am
I would consult someone to improve the layout in the kitchen prior to the update.
carolinaman wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:53 am
I agree that you should consult an expert to design an effective layout. IMO, the kitchen does not appear to have enough space for an island and you will lose valuable cabinet space which you cannot afford to give up. We did a major kitchen remodel a few years ago and have a similar layout of kitchen and dining. We opted not to have an island and are very happy with our new kitchen.
FraggleRock wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:21 am
Hire an architect.
They are better at this than you.
We always do.
MangoMama wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:25 am
As a self-proclaimed DIY'er, I will admit this is especially true for the kitchen. There are so many variables and things to consider. We are currently in the planning stages of a new kitchen and the designer has definitely brought up and suggested good ideas and ways to increase our kitchen real estate.
Definitely thinking about having a professional look at the design. Will have to do more research on whether a kitchen designer or architect or contractor proposals is the best route.
staythecourse wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:07 am
Not sure if it helps, but have a guestimation that labor is usually 100% of the cost of finishing materials. If your materials together costs 10k then labor is usually around 10k. Mind you that is a very weak rule of thumb.
Thanks, even a rough rule of thumb is helpful!
Watty wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:29 am
A frequent recommendation is to live in a house for at least six months before making any optional changes like that. This will give you a chance to figure out would really be best.

Even if you can easily afford it and want the change living in a construction zone for a month or more(been there done that!) would make me question if the change is worth the inconvenience.
We might end up waiting that long by default if it really is a ~$50k endeavor, but yes, I would like to wait a couple months (til at least the winter when contractors are potentially a bit less busy with weather-dependent work?)
kaudrey wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:44 pm
I have an open-concept kitchen in my townhouse - similarly long like your picture, and the entire level is hardwood. I wouldn't do tile there - I think the aesthetic looks choppy, when you are trying to make it all flow together.

Someone said it looked like an island wouldn't fit - it seems ok to me, and as someone who cooks, I would say "YES", you'd need that counter space. I've told my SO that our next house needs about double the counter space we have now (and after seeing me cook for the last year, he wholeheartedly agrees with me).

I also live in the DC area. I had a good experience with a company in 2017 who gutted my entire master bathroom; they also do kitchens. If you want a recommendation for a quote, PM me.
delamer wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:39 pm
The oven opening into the breakfast nook looks problematic, as in very little clearance.
I don't know if our taste is sophisticated enough to have a strong aesthetic preference for flowing wood vs choppy wood-tile-wood, but thank you for pointing it out as a possible issue. I do agree that I think there's enough room in a 12"x10" kitchen for an island, although the breakfast nook-oven area is too tight and we are probably planning to ditch the table/chairs there. Kaudrey I will send you a PM, thank you for the reference.
Pajamas wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:21 pm
Looks like your kitchen is already open to the breakfast area with a counter to eat at, so why in the world would you want to open it up to the more formal dining area? Many people don't use a formal dining room as a dining room, anyway, they use it as an office or hobby room or similar. What do you think you will actually use it for?
The bar/counter near the sink sits 2 stools comfortably and is probably where most family members (currently 2 adults & 1 child, plan to have 1 more kid) will end up eating breakfast since we tend to get up at different times. The breakfast nook table/2 chairs near the ovens & window is too tight and will probably be removed as I mentioned above. The house doesn't have a natural space for a kitchen table, so we are hoping that by opening up the kitchen to the dining room that the dining room table can serve that function more naturally. When I was growing up our formal dining room was wasted space that never got used beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we really hope to avoid that and to make the dining room an every day casual family dinner type of room.
delamer wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:39 pm
Regarding the flooring, if you take out the wall then you will have a gap in the floor. It might be possible to patch it and have it look OK, but it might not be. My guess is not.
The current owners have advised us that they have 2 fairly big boxes of spare matching Mirage wood flooring boards that will convey with the house. We believe we can use these to fill in the gap on the floor and have it look reasonably good.
michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:13 pm
The proposed layout and neighbor's layout both have a bad work triangle and aren't ideal. The issue is to correct that would probably mean putting the sink in the island (or other major relocations) and that would mean relocating plumbing which can be expensive. If you aren't that big into cooking, then it may be passable and you just live with it.

What's on the left side of the room? It looks like a window or patio door. If it is a window, how low does the window go? Is there an opportunity to add cabinets below it or next to it?

EDIT: In the neighbor's picture I see the windows goes pretty low and it looks like it has low cabinets maybe with bench seating.
Under the kitchen is a concrete slab, so we're definitely more inclined to live with the sub-optimal work triangle vs. paying for the plumbing work to relocate the sink to the middle of the kitchen or to the side the way the neighbors did.

From the floor plan orientation, yes the left side of the room is windows. That is where the tiny 2 seat table is located next to the ovens currently. We want to get rid of this table as I've mentioned a couple times before, although we're not sure what to do with that space, if anything. We can't put cabinets in there due to the ovens needing to open into that space. Think it will look weird if it's empty space, but that may be our best option.
stan1 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:16 am
* Aisle width and island width: Islands with seating are popular now. First thing you'd want to do is get the dimensions to determine whether you have enough width for an island. Keep in mind the refrigerator will stick out into the aisle unless it is an integrated model like a Sub-Zero. You'll want 39-42" MINIMUM aisle space on either side. I think you could put one or two counter stools over in front of the window but you won't get seating for 4 at the island. That might not leave you much width for an island (usually 25" minimum, 24" cabinet + 1" counter overhang). Looking at your photo it might be tight. Perhaps you are considering a movable island/cart.

* Traffic patterns. Do you have young children? I can see kids racing through the kitchen behind the cooktop in the proposed plan. Maybe you'll be effective at getting them to go between the pantry and island rather than island and cooktop/refrigerator, maybe not.

* It looks like there is a soffit over the current refrigerator. There might be ducting in the soffit which would be hard to reroute so you might not be able to raise the ceiling to the same height.

* The GardenWeb kitchen people would tell you to swap the oven and refrigerator. You move food from the refrigerator to the sink to the cooktop so your proposed plan is not efficient (backtracking). You may want to post your plan on the kitchen forum at GardenWeb/Houzz. You should get some good advice just be prepared some people there prefer 500 square foot kitchens over 120 square foot kitchens.
Winner of my extremely prestigious most helpful response award! I think there's room for a permanent island as shown in the neighbor's kitchen, but yes, their island is probably a 25 incher and that's probably as wide as we'd go with it too. Yes, we have a young child (a baby actually). I am not too worried about the kids going between the stove and the island side as long as an adult isn't actively cooking, but it's a good thing to think about. I do not think there is any duct work in the ceiling above the fridge, but yes, if there is that will be a pain to deal with. Very interesting idea re: swapping the fridge and the oven and thank you for suggesting GardenWeb/Houzz. I will likely cross-post over there after we close and see what additional insights that community can share.

Frisco Kid
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by Frisco Kid » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:07 am

From a construction standpoint concrete slab makes plumbing changes a nightmare limiting options and adding expense. Suspect you will find moving the wall quite expensive. What makes you think it is non load bearing? Another path might be to buy a different house? Don't mean to sound negative but changes like this sometimes are just not cost effective.

stan1
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by stan1 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:27 am

Here's another suggestion:
Rather than having the diagonal walkway between the cooktop and sink that enters into the middle of the room put the walkway between the oven and sink (like your neighbors I think). That will help keep the kids out of the kitchen and give you an unbroken L shaped work area. Worthwhile to hire a kitchen designer if you are going to put a lot of money into this project.

Unless you are doing the work yourself or have friends/family doing the work for you I think you'll be hard pressed to stay under $50K if you are replacing cabinets in a high cost of living/high demand area such as DC metro. Perhaps your neighbor can help you with an estimate since the construction aspects of your project are similar. The house looks newer so maybe you won't have surprises like asbestos but costs still add up.

Another factor is the kids. Kids can be hard on cabinets and furniture. You might consider waiting until they are out of the phase where drawing on the cabinets with a pen or scratching the paint with a coin is "fun". This might help with timing; the best time to get a good price on construction work is during an economic downturn (then you just have to be watchful that your contractor doesn't go bankrupt).

Leemiller
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by Leemiller » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:49 am

I would budget 50-75k given the DC area. Renovations are shockingly expensive here. We did a kitchen in the area which included removing a load bearing wall and opening it up. I believe our cabinets were around 25k, the wall wasn’t that big a deal cost wise but you want a good contractor. As someone pointed out the fridge will look better if it is flush and that costs more money. I would recommend a kitchen designer. I think ours was great, but it’s an expensive firm.

We have wide walkways, and I really love that about our kitchen. What is your end goal for these changes? Is it so your wife can see the kids while she cooks? I’d recommend at least holding off for a few months to see how you like living in the space.

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Pajamas
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Re: Opening Up Kitchen to Dining Room

Post by Pajamas » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:59 am

Rayandron wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:41 pm
The bar/counter near the sink sits 2 stools comfortably and is probably where most family members (currently 2 adults & 1 child, plan to have 1 more kid) will end up eating breakfast since we tend to get up at different times. The breakfast nook table/2 chairs near the ovens & window is too tight and will probably be removed as I mentioned above. The house doesn't have a natural space for a kitchen table, so we are hoping that by opening up the kitchen to the dining room that the dining room table can serve that function more naturally. When I was growing up our formal dining room was wasted space that never got used beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we really hope to avoid that and to make the dining room an every day casual family dinner type of room.
Okay, with this information I approve of opening up the kitchen, not that you needed my approval. Do be very conscious about ensuring sufficient ventilation at the stove to prevent odors and grease from spreading throughout the house and infesting carpets, upholstery, and other textiles plus books, art, etc. Dust on a greasy film can cause permanent damage.

The house I am staying in right now has a kitchen with a very similar layout and the countertop on the island is 33 x 39 in. and it has a 1 1/2 in. overhang. I think the width is perfect but the ideal length for it would be 6 in. longer so 33 x 45 in. The space between the island and the cabinets around the wall seems to be just right at about 36 in. from edge of counter to edge of counter. It is easy to move behind someone working at a counter or for two people to be working at opposite counters. Anything less than that would seem crowded. The 33 in. width looks and feels right. If you go with a more standard countertop width of 24 or 25 in. it may seem skimpy.

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