Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TKO Tuesday: Jazzing Up a Stock Plan

A bit of a back story... Years ago, Hubby was able to realize a long-time dream and developed a home construction program for his school.  With him at the helm, they (he and his construction classes of students as carpenters, plus volunteer subs to do specialty things like electrical and plumbing, with the kids learning by working alongside) built 13 houses in 14 years.  

Prince Inventive helping Dad,
& Sassy ready to help out, too.
She's standing on the tile entry
Stoic installed as a member of
that year's building class

It was a great program for the kids, well-regarded in the community, and he loved it.  He learned a lot... We all did, as the family seemed to take some part in every year's house, whether we wanted to or not.  ;-)  
But it was very time consuming, greatly infringed on family time, and he had new program ideas to pursue, so he turned over the reins.  

2006/07's kitchen.  Princess Eager is in the background,
cleaning window trim/
With the market as it's been, the program has moved along slowly since, and is just now finishing the first house since his last one in 2007.  As the instructor of the cabinet-building class, he still takes part with his cabinetry class building the kitchen and any other cabinetry for the house.  So when it comes to planning the kitchen layout and details, I get to help.

There is a local organization of area businessmen that funds each house-building project, and one of their members, a professional builder (and quality person extraordinaire), voluntarily GCs the project.  The group members help in locating and buying property, and in the latter years, the architectural drafting class at school would work on the house plan.  But this time, the lot the club bought was the last lot in a builder's development, for which there was already a county approved houseplan. 

I was a bit surprised, even aghast, at some of the features of the stock plan for this modest, 2-story house.  The first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that the powder room opens into the living room.  The kitchen was, in my opinion, not going to be comfortable or attractive, and in some aspects, even functional.  

I forgot to note on the plan, also, that the base corner to the left of the dishwasher was completely
inaccessible... A dead corner.  OK in a kitchen the size of mine, but not here.
Just because someone is buying a lower end, smallish home, they don't have to be stuck with an awful kitchen, so feeling for the future buyers, I gladly set to work.

First, I tried to reorient the powder room door toward the entry, and work with the peninsula plan.

The powers-that-be overruled the configuration change for the powder room, as it narrowed the living room (would have been worth it if it were my home), and didn't want to deal with filing a plan change with the county, as it would've required some changes in the understructure of the house.

Even though expanded as much as I dare, the peninsula plan was still tight inside.  Any bar overhang, especially with seating, infringed too far on the dining space.  In this plan the open dishwasher blocked access to the peninsula cabinets.  I could have moved the dishwasher around the corner into the peninsula, but when it was open, it would have obstructed a lot of the floorspace in the room.  So onto the next idea...

The aisles are tighter than optimum, but decent, as long as the fridge is counter-depth.  The aisles are 36"+ and about 42", respectively... and clear, not box to box, but counter edge to counter edge.  

Standard kitchen wisdom would say there isn't room for an island in this space.  Not optimally, no, but with the negatives of the peninsula plan, I thought the compromises might be reasonable.

I think an island, especially with the hefty butcher block top, adds some pizazz as a selling feature.  It helps the kitchen feel more stylish and upscale, which could appeal to a buyer looking at other economical housing.  --But it's not to the detriment of function, as it adds a bit of workspace, separation of zones with room and traffic flow for multiple workers, and storage.  Of course, Hubby always makes sure the cabinetry has full-extension drawer glides and high-quality construction.  This year, because of the better pricing than in previous years, the drawers and doors will even have soft-close hinges and glides.

I didn't have any say in the materials or colors so far, and I've heard the flooring, tile, and countertops are all ordered.  I know the cabinets will be fir, and since I have an "in" with the cabinet-maker, I can probably choose the island color.  I'll show finished pics when they're available.

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