The Kitchen at the New House

We’ve been debating and debating about what to do with the kitchen at the new house.  We started out thinking that we wanted a corner pantry and custom built cupboards but the more and more we think about it, we don’t know if we do.

We love the old look and feel of the house and putting in a modern kitchen is going to take some of that away.  In most old houses the kitchens were small and made for one or two not a whole family to be in it at once like is typical at our house.  Everything happens at our house in the kitchen…everything.  We have friends that come and we laugh and laugh that neither of us could probably descried the furniture in the others living room as we never go in it.  Honestly all of our company stays in the kitchen.

We know that we need more kitchen than the house currently has…but how to work with the space is the question.

About Thanksgiving time we found these cupboards in a local for sale group.


They are sitting upside down and are in our garage covered in dust because yes, we bought them.  They are fir, the shelves are adjustable and yes, we love the them LOTS.   They are a 9′ long section which will work with a little revamp of the original drawing.   The window and sink will go in the opening.  The little small doors will go all the way across the ceiling.

Our problem…we need bottom cabinets to match-and no the person who had these didn’t recover the bottom cabinets.  We also need a few more other cabinets.  We bought these knowing the difficulty we’d have but decided we’d have custom cabinets made to match if nothing else.  At $300 for this portion we got a deal.

Now we found these cabinets on another for sale site.  In love-yep I am-but from the photos, the wood doesn’t match.   These are two hours away and need some TLC.  Of course the person who is selling them has no idea if they are fir wood or what they are.  Again, we could make these work with yet another kitchen revamp.  To make these work, I’d loose my pantry…but I think I am okay with that.  The cupboards are only 18″ deep and honestly, I am okay with that too.  In my experience I end up on my knees trying to find stuff if the cupboard is deeper than 18″.

This cupboard set is $500…we have to remove and haul it from 2 hours away.  The thing I love about this set is that it would be what you see when you walk into the back door and look into the house.  Of course we’d clean them and spruce them up.  Someday I think I would try to get the glass replaced to be frosted like what is in the cupboards we already bought.

What comes now is playing with the house plan to revamp it to accommodate the cupboards-if we would purchase these.

Remember when looking at this, our goal isn’t a new modern kitchen.  It’s to be a bigger kitchen yet with an old fashion feel.

This is the original plan…This is the addition on the main floor.  To the right is the garage.  Coming in that door is first a bathroom then laundry.  The laundry access is from the kitchen with a pocket door.  Once in the kitchen (room to the left) there is a corner pantry and big island.  The door in the kitchen goes outside.  The arch way in the kitchen opens to the dining room.


I played with the plan a little to accomodate the cupboards that we have and/or thinking of purchasing.  The upper cupboards that we already purchased would go above the kitchen sink.  The set of cupboards that we are thinking of purchasing would go where the pantry is in the first illustration the squiggly lines on the second illustration.


Where the “T” is, that’s our kitchen table that Hubby and I don’t want to part with.  Where the “B” is, that’s our butcher block table show below.  We are think of revamping that to make it into a moving island with barrel drawers underneath it.  Other things change as well.  The cupboards along the sink would no longer curve around to the stove.  Instead we would put a full window there.  I know full windows are not a modern feature at all but in old kitchens they had them.

The stove and refrigerator would now have to be side by side.  That is not recommended but in old kitchens when modern appliances came, that is what typically happened.

The thing I love about the cupboards that we are thinking of buying….When opening the back door from the garage, those cupboards are what I’d see and I really like those cupboards.

Friends that have seen it lament and say that I don’t have enough counter space.  Yes, it’s not a lot in modern standards.  Right now in the kitchen where we are living I do all the food prep on a space that is 28″ long.

To buy or not buy…that is the question.

Right now, more than this set of cupboards that we are thinking of buying we really need base cabinets for the ones we already have.  We’d love to not have to have them custom built.  Anyone know of an old section of fir cabinets that are 9 or 10″ long??

I k now with these old cabinets that my drawers won’t roll out beautifully.  I know I won’t have a huge island to work and serve food on, but I don’t think I care….

30 thoughts on “The Kitchen at the New House”

  1. I love the cabinet you are thinking of buying. I would want to get it if I could. That said, I think a kitchen can still have a vintage feel with modern convenience. When I got a new kitchen 9 years ago, I went from a prep area about the size you have now, to counter space that allows more than one thing to be prepared in the kitchen at a time. In other words, room for help to work alongside me. I would sacrifice authenticity for that any day!! I would give up the full window and just have a window above more counters wrapping over to the stove. Just my two bits, but it is your kitchen! : )

  2. I love the cabinets. What about putting the butcher block by the stove so you have a counter space close to it and a shorter window over the butcher block. If you have lower cabinets built in the sink area, they could arrange the depth so it would work with the butcher block. Is there already a window where the sink is shown. If not, you could move the stove there with those upper cabinets and move the sink by the fridge. I see no problem mixing woods. I like the idea of some of them being painted as well. Have fun with it.

  3. I really like the cupboards you are looking at and I think they would be neat and gives you more room for that table area with chairs. I would do away with the full size window and if you are worried about light get a door that goes to the outside that is a full glass door so it lets in a lot of light. then move the stove over a little and give your a little space next to the refrigerator and the stove. Other wise when you get things out of the refrigerator you are going to end up setting them on the stove.

  4. I like the cupboard. I think, with a little cleaning, you can stain the woods to match on all the found and new cabinets. The woods may not have to match if the colors do. Try it. Then you can get base cabinets and make them all the same finish, and the new bases can have some of the nice modern amenities, like slide outs and pot/cover storage. I do suggest you move the range over towards the window a little, and put in a small base cabinet/countertop. I would also wrap the countertop around to the range. An L shape really helps, and extra space for a coffee maker or cooking tools next to the range will be nice. The window can stay, but smaller. See if you can find or make more of the little cabinets to go along the ceiling on both sides. I think you can compromise between your two designs, and get the actual working space you would really enjoy, with the look you want. What are you going to do with that little wall space between the garage entrance, the one on the outside of the laundry? How big is it? I hope you have something fun to put there! Or are you keeping it to store a grandbaby highchair?? I’m enjoying your renovations.

  5. I love those “new”/”second” set of cabinets! Ok you asked, here is what I would do…..

    Move the stove over 12″ and find a smal modern base and have hubby make an “old” fir door (He CAN DO IT :). The only possible issue will be finding hinges but I can ask hubby were his woodworking magazine is if you need it.

    As for the pantry, I would make a closet type pantry along the laundry wall.

    And finally, do you have a Habitate for Humanity Restore that you can go to? Ours always have something that can work. Again I would use the carcass and have “old” doors made to match.

    I can’t wait to see how this all turns out!

  6. You will soon love whatever you do!! DH and I renovated a 100 year old house, doing all of the work ourselves. We were unable to move the wall between dining room & kitchen so DH built an archway, creating a pocket for my frig to slide back into, another pocket for my upright freezer, and on the other side of the archway we built a small pantry. In order to use this full space, he built a small closet in the corner of the dining room to hold extra dishes and overflow of pantry items. For additional light, instead of the full window we put in a dutch door leading outside. I could leave the upper part open and the lower part closed, or latch the 2 parts together and use it like a normal exterior door.

  7. Those cupboards will make your kitchen–I would sure get them and work it out… would not bother me that the wood doesn’t match…….

  8. Lots of great ideas already! Cute cabinets, both sets. I’m for a modern kitchen with lots of counter and cabinet space as I dread doing the daily meal preparations but I love the big family get together ones! Will the cabinet you’re thinking of getting fit behind the door coming in from the garage? Or I like the idea Teri has of using it in your sewing room. If you keep the new to be purchased set of cabinets where they are I like the idea as already mentioned of putting a small cabinet with a door your DH makes between the refer and range with the butcher block by the other side of the range. Whatever you decide I’m sure it will reflect you and your family’s preferences and loves!

  9. Run, don’t walk to get that cupboard- it’s perfect and will set the tone for the entire room. I especially love that it’s something you will see when you come in the door. Your kitchen ideas sound wonderful; we will be renovating our kitchen in a few years, so looking forward to seeing how your’s progresses.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  10. I love the cabinets and I agree with others this would be a “great statement piece” . As for the frosted glass you might consider using “etching cream” on the glass putting a design on it to say have clear stars and the rest of the glass frosted. Pintrest has tutorials. Best of luck.

  11. Jo, you are just like my sister! She was born old-fashioned, and she does it with such style :*) I love those cabinets – both sets – and I know you can make them work together to make something beautiful and unique and amazingly YOU!!! Follow your instincts and you won’t go wrong :*)

  12. I love the idea of mix and match! Have you considered putting the washer and dryer in the bathroom (making it a wee bit larger, then using the reclaimed laundry area for your pantry? Also,what about putting the fridge on one side of the full set of cabinets and the stove on the other, then you have a bit of counter space when you are cooking.

    I am really enjoying following along on your home renovation project!

  13. Mix & match is “in” right now for those who care. So much more interesting than most cookie cutter kitchens. Go for it!! Good on you!

  14. I love the mix and match, you don’t have to have all matchie matchie anymore,love both set of cupboards. I agree I would not have the stove and frig next to each other you need something between to set stuff on for preparing and cooking. Also in some parts of Europe they put washer, dryer in bath, and as long as it’s not your master bath, it might work to give you more spaces for kitchen space. I also think the old with some of the new would look really nice. Enjoy working in your kitchen.

  15. You know Jo I went back and looked at the cupboards again and I agree run and buy them before they are gone. Your going to kick yourself if someone beats you to them, they are perfect for your house whatever room they land up in. So put on your Tennys and run run run.

  16. I would paint the top or bottom (or both) cabinets a solid color. Then if you want to, leave the other wood colored. Take a look at for non matching cabinets and see if you like them not matching.

  17. It’s a huge design trend right now to have different color and/or types of wood for the upper and lower cabinets. My take is do whatever makes you happy. I agree with Deb Brown about making a pantry along the laundry wall.

  18. I love the cupboards and it doesn’t need to match since they are not next to each other besides old houses rarely have matching cupboards, not the ones I have been in at least. It would make a nice focal point where you were planning to put them. I would reallytry to find a better place for the fridge though and like the idea of putting it against the laundry wall with maybe an extra table/counter.. Using the cooker close to the fridge will soon feel very awkward when you havent got anywhere to put hot dishes or pans, also the heat from it will make the fridge work harder keeping cool and shorten its life. I know from having to have our fridge close to the wood fire stove in our kitchen.

  19. The wood of the cupboards doesn’t match, but the style of the panels do — so run get them. You have three choices as to the woods — they’re set apart from each other, so you live with the different woods… you try to redo the lighter wood to match the darker… or you paint them all to match. Either way, you won’t go wrong because you LOVE the cabinets!

    As to not enough counter space or the fridge next to the sink — it’s YOUR kitchen. Do what you want and tune out the “proverbial wisdom”. What’s right is what works for you. And by the way, I love a window over the sink.

  20. Jo., that cabinet is amazing probably hand made and my guess would be oak or even better chestnut which isn’t even available any more. I have one in a similar style made by my great grandfather before he had electic tools. I would have to say run, no question to buy it.
    We recently built a new house and our archects told us appliences and sink should be placed in a convienent triangle with no more than three to four steps between . This makes a efficient food prep pattern. Just something to keep in mind with lay out. A custom cabinet maker should be able to create a base for the upper cabinets that would tie it together. Ask around we found some amazing workmen in our area that could do it better than buying box cabinets. Please, please, don’t paint the antiques! One last thing if you decide you don’t want that cabinet I DO !!!

  21. I agree-the cupboards are lovely! Personally, I would hold on tight to the window-I wither without natural light. Have you considered have the lower cupboards painted instead of natural wood? It would look like the kitchen grew naturally and would add interest. Also, you could make your fir cupboards the star of the kitchen!

  22. Sometimes pieces that do not match look the best! Light stains go great with darker ones. Even mixing painted pieces with stains go great in old homes. Gives it that real feel of evolving over time. Believe it or not your architect or a designer consult can help you out with all this to make it work for you.
    Love the second set of cupboards! Oh yes also sometimes custom can cost less then big box store cabinets if you need base cabinets.
    Good luck!!

  23. I do not have much counter space, especially on both sides of my stove and this is the one thing I hate about my kitchen. My frig. is right next to my stove also and I dislike that a lot. The more counter space the better.

  24. The cupboards are lovely and fit into your “old fashion kitchen”. I would put them as you walk in from the garage on the left and paint them red or other color. Then you would keep your counter space and a better work triangle; especially for multi cooks. Second diagram shows no work space on either side of the stove. I also think the work triangle is too small, should be over 13′. From the drawer fronts, it looks like pine or plywood. My DH grandparents had a cupboard like that, no glass, plywood. Yes, change the glass. Maybe put no uppers above refrig/stove wall or some open shelves.

  25. I agree with the above post that basically suggests finding an wall in your original plan to put the large cupboard against. The wall as you come in the back door, or the kitchen side of the laundry room wall look like possibilities. Or, put that cupboard where it will please you to see it as you walk in the door, and add more similar storage units to those aforementioned empty walls.

    But I wouldn’t put the stove and ‘fridge right next to each other. I have that situation now and it is a real pain, mostly because there is nowhere to put things you are gathering to put in or get out of the ‘fridge. I think you should pick — either replace the pantry with the cupboard, OR put in a full size window. Either will allow room for cabinets on either side of the stove.

    There are many examples in magazines these days of kitchens where the upper and lower cabinets have different finishes. I say paint one or the other. And you don’t have to replace that clear glass — use a thin clear glue to fix fancy paper to the inside of the glass, or paint it.

  26. I have different style from you but know that you, like me are big on function. I would get custom or stock cabinets w/ similar doors – perhaps painted? for the bottom. I think the combo would look nice and period authentic. If you got stock cabinets, then with the $$ saved you could do full extension pullouts which are so nice for big pans, platters… I LOVE mine, they are worth their weight in gold. I wouldn’t give up the pantry… it is so nice for large things like crockpots, bins of linens, and food…otherwise you might end up sticking those things somewhere outside the kitchen. I would be you could find a repurposed door somewhere that would look great. Just my two cents, you have a good size family and it will only grown with grandbabies (then you need space for sippy cups, little bowls, etc.)… don’t short yourself space to save $$$… you are creative and can find a way to get lots of space for less than most. :)

  27. Jo Anne Schnebly

    Yes, you need that set of cupboards. Even is the wood isn’t exactly like the upper cabinets, that’s OK. Can you get more space in your kitchen by making the bathroom larger and including the washer and dryer instead of a separate laundry room off the kitchen. There looks to be a long wide “hall” from the garage to the kitchen area. Make the bathroom longer perhaps.

  28. You might regret not having a counter on each side of the the stove for a landing spot. We had a house that had a couple inches of counter to the left of the stove, and it was actually a safety issue because there was no place to put the handle of the pot that wasn’t over the stove. It was really bad when using both the front and back burner on that side at the same time. With the fridge right next to the stove, there isn’t a place for pot handles to point out to the side.

    I’m all with you on the wood. We even have wood windows, though in our moist environment (western WA) they do grow mold if using blinds that don’t allow air to circulate all night, like pleated insulated blinds. I would, however, like one room with a white wood floor and white trim … just one!

  29. I agree the the cupboards you are thinking of purchasing would look great with the rest of the cabinets. I would combine paint and the wood. Also I would definitely NOT put the stove next to the refrigerator. It would be a safety hazard but also the heat from cooking does affect how your refrigerator runs. It would have to run a lot more to keep the cold temps on the inside. How about putting your frig on the small wall to the right of the door going into the laundry room? or on the back wall of the laundry room. I don’t know the measurements, but it looks close unless you have a very large refrigerator. Another idea would be if you did remove the washer and dryer and put it in the bathroom, and made the laundry room a pantry, you could put the frig in the pantry. Then I would definitely put smaller cabinets on each side of the stove with counterspace.

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