Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reader dilemma: Weird space next to kitchen.



Hi Decorno:

We've just purchased our first house, which we love (mostly). We'll be moving in in less than a month and are putting together our list of projects (in a house binder thanks to your suggestion;-) Aside from having a microscopic kitchen, it has this strange hallway/room off the kitchen (first pix), The previous owner stuck an extra piece of cabinet in there (pix 2), but it looks awkward. I wanted to just tear down the partial wall between, but there's too much electrical and such running through to make it feasible right now. So what to do with this weird space that will also extend the storage or working area of the kitchen? Help!

Thanks,
Michelle





This is a quality problem. Although the wiring considerations make it impractical to tear that bit of wall out now, I think you could make it a kind of cool butler's pantry where you can store things close but still out of your way in the kitchen. I think you guys should tear the cabinet out and replace it with something you like more than that cabinet. What you will actually store in that space will help you make the right choice about what to put back in there. Open shelves are popular, but a lot of people don't have the time and energy to keep "styling" their home to make it all look right, so you may just want updated cabinets. Or an updated cabinet on the bottom and open shelves on top.

Readers? Ideas?




29 comments:

Erika said...

The space looks like it's by a back door. Is that right? If so, every bone in my body is screaming "mudroom! mudroom! mudroom!" We live in an old place with a detached garage and we typically come in from the back door, take off coats and boots and store tons of stuff there. In an organized and cute way of course.

Lauren said...

Since it's more of an entryway than kitchen space, how about a mudroom? http://www.laurencorbyn.com/Echo_Design/Blog/Entries/2009/3/16_More_Erick_Piasecki.html

You could build something in, or buy readymade if it fits. Ballard Design and Pottery Barn usually have lots of this stuff. Do you have pets? I saw a really cute dog/mudroom idea. I'll try and find it.

Lolo said...

Mud room or butler's pantry, depending on your needs and lifestyle. Where does that back door lead to? Driveway? Deck? Garden? Are those stairs for a storage basement or more living space?

Once you figure out what you're most likely to use it for, then you can make it stylish.

Michelle said...

We do have a dog. I was thinking of expanding the kitchen storage or working area since we both love to cook, but the mudroom idea is cute too. The door goes out to the side of the house, but it's also an area that everyone will see as you walk by it getting to the dining/entertainment room. So it definitely needs to look good. Thanks for all the great ideas!
Michelle

Mrs. Limestone said...

That would make a pretty fabulous mudroom but it would also make a lovely butlers pantry. I want one of those please!

Check out Eddie Ross' blog for what he did with his storage area.

Margaret said...

What about tearing out the cabinet that you have and putting in a tall,large pantry? You could store large platters and bowls and small appliances that you only use occasionally, and use the rest of the shelving for canned goods and other pantry items.

Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I would agree with all of the comments here. With the outside access and it being next to the kitchen, it would be a great place to have a mudroom, pantry or both.

For something quick, easy, cheap and could be adapted to either setup, look into metro shelving:

http://www.metro.com/application/Shelving

It is rugged enough to store muddy boots on the bottom and attractive enough to put cans, mixers and cookbooks on top.

Also, if this is a high traffic area, I would think of putting down some rugged area rugs.

Finally, right next to the door, I'd put a narrow bench or table to take off shoes or a landing strip. Just make sure it doesnt block the staircase.

Good luck!

Black Dog Salvage said...

the pantry idea sounds great - how much space do you have? we have a few here that might work for you.
www.blackdogsalvage.com
good luck with your project!

Michelle said...

Oooh, I like the idea of adding a skinny antique bench beside the door. Since the original (1926) wood floors are beneath, we're pulling out the linoleum and either painting or sealing the wood (depending on the condition), so an area rug/runner will be a must. So many great ideas - thanks again everyone!

Michelle said...

I'm liking the pantry idea too - one of the antique "pastry cabinets" would be great. The space is pretty deep actually, so fitting one wouldn't be a problem. Hmmm... if I could find one with a pull out board, maybe it could also serve as extra counterspace when needed?

Carla said...

Here we are again. And this time I'm on the right post! Michelle, if the space is on the way from the kitchen to the dining/entertaining area, it'd make a great bar. Countertop w small sink, wine racks, glassware display, linens, etc...

Sarah Arkanoff said...

I would not rip out the cabinetry- it still has hope! I recently repainted all my kitchen cabinets and they turnout fabulous! Sherwin-Williams makes a wood/furnture paint that I used and I added sleek new hardware. It looks like a million bucks! I would add beadboard panel to the wall just to jazz it up and add simple shelving straight accross to make a for a nice little Butler's Pantry. ♥

Susan said...

Can we see photos of the rest of the area. And can you tell us a bit more about your floor plan?

I like the idea of a butler's pantry----unless this door is one you use coming in and out of the house. If it is--mudroom. A bench, shelving or hooks on the wall. I've seen these as antiques---hooks all in a row on a great looking piece of wood.

Where do the stairs go? What's down there? Are these stairs that you will use a lot?

Hanako66 said...

great advice decorno

I say that if a built in is too spendy right now, look for an old hutch at a flea market and paint it to complement your kitchen.

Musette said...

Everything depends upon your lifestyle and the folk in your house. We have 3 dogs and a Very Messy Lifestyle (well El O does - I'm relatively neat). I'm renovating this godawful little back lean-to next to the kitchen into a mudroom/laudry and cannot wait for the day it becomes an integral part of the house. Right now our primary entry/exit is the front door and our floors are trashed!

You could do a mudroom bench on the stair-side and go cheap and cheerful (perfect for the short run) with an Ikea wardrobe or something similar.

And congrats on your new home!

DB said...

that looks like it would be good space for a mudroom. Next to a an outside door (looks like), hard floor, so good for taking off/storing boots, sunscreen, bugspray, gardening equipment, outdoor activity stuff (sports equipment, toys), lawn/house decorations, that sort of jazz.

LIMOM said...

Mudroom, kitchen office area, butlers pantry.

If you entertain a lot you know that the kitchen is the place, so if you could make it snazzy enough for kitchen/party room spillover that would be good also.

Julie said...

Either the mudroom (hooks for jackets, maybe a bench with storage and a rack for shoes/boots) or the butler's pantry are great ideas. I'm lucky enough to have a butler's pantry, and it's the best for kitchen storage for either serving pieces you don't use often or, as we use it for, a bar/glasses cabinet.

Anonymous said...

That cabinet is what - 32 or 34" deep? I'd throw a jelly or pie cabinet in that space (around 18" deep). They usually have five shelves - perfect for a pantry. You'd have display on top - or throw a buffet picture up there (short & wide usually inspired by Hudson River School).

You could also kick shoes off underneath since most have primitive legs. In the MidWest they go from $300 up.

That tiny space between the door and stair could be a wall hanging coat rack with key hooks and mirror. You would, however, have to keep that shit edited so it doesn't block your door.

My main concern with a similar back entry is a clean floor space. You don't want any extraneous shit on the floor because it attracts pine needles, dust, dog fur, and gravel. When you sweep, you don't want to have to move fifteen things out of your way.

Michelle said...

Just got back from work and am checking in. Wow! Thanks for all of the input it's much appreciated.
As far as questions to our lifestyle, we love to entertain - small gatherings with good food, wine and great discussion. We also have our earthy side though, and love to garden (we're going to go crazy outside with organic gardens everywhere). Being a 1926 house it doesn't have a ton of storage, so the area needs to have some practicality in that sense (I agree with keeping the clutter off the floor!).
I start a 4 day weekend tonight, and I just know with all of these great ideas a good part of that is going to be spent playing with our house binder:-)

mary said...

I don't know the dimensions of the space, but it looks like an antique French bonnetiere might fit in there and then add an antique bench to the side. The bonnetiere would make great pantry storage and when you eventually redo the area, you could move the bonnetiere to another location. How about a well-used tribal persian rug with great geometric pattern that won't show dirt but will add a lot of color. And you can find everything at great prices right now as all of us dealers are hurting,

Mojo said...

Like others, I initially thought mudroom. But...what about using this space for some modern-day practical needs like sorting mail, recycle bins, charging station for cell phones/iPods, a drawer for for stationary/stamps/mailing supplies, and maybe a drawer for each family member?

Saga said...

Pantry would be perfect, especially since you said the kitchen is microscopic. It doesn't have to be for food necessarily, but for appliances and serving trays and other big items.

IKEA!!

Butler pantry is okay, but not the most efficient use of space.

If you have any inclination to eventually tear down that wall, don't spend too much money.

pve design said...

I would make it a mud room with cubbies and a spot for re-charging cell phones and such. I would love a little spot like that.

Ivy said...

How about a combo solution? Since you'll be spending plenty of money on other stuff, I would paint it, add some nice hardware, maybe add some shelves or a glass fronted cabinet above it on the wall. Then the rest of that hall area can go more mud room-ish, with hooks for coats and leashes and a bench for putting on boots.

Zelda said...

a home theater with a bar .. or ... Landry ..or the butler quarters . . what ever you need .

Anonymous said...

Combo's a good idea. If you're going to end up tearing down the wall, you might not want to spend a lot. Then again, I so much wish we had a mudroom into our kitchen. We always come in that way, not the front door, and so do friends and family. It would be great to have our coats and shoes and door stuff right there. It would be a must if we had kids. Maybe that wall is a good thing after all. The metro shelves someone else mentioned would be cute if you like the color of food labels and dishes, etc, or closed cabinets if you're more of a neatnik. - Jean

custardbydesign said...

what a great blog...glad i found it today...!!!
that space looks like its an entry way to a garage / basement is it?
like everyone else i would be imagining it to be a utility space!
i'm working on something similar for a couple here in dublin, i'm creating an extension to a 1940's dormer bungalow! what i'm creating between their kitchen and garage is a storage space for boots / jackets etc with a combined bench and storage space for recycling boxes! recycling is such a big thing here in dublin and many families now find they need storage space for this to separate glass, plastics and papers for weekly collections! hope this is more food fofr thought...

Michelle said...

The space goes through to the entertainment/dining room area so all of our guests will be walking through there. That's part of the quandry - making the space practicle yet attractive. All of the great ideas here have given us a lot to play with as we work on our designs. Recycling is huge here in Portland too. The door in the picture goes to the side of the house where we'll have the recycle bins, so that's covered. We might try to combine the ideas of a pantry and mudroom - the space is a little over 9 feet by 7 feet, so we might be able to squeeze both in...