Kitchen remodel...homesteading style!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by New Mexican, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. New Mexican

    New Mexican Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2004
    New Mexico
    Well, we are about to take the plunge. A complete remodel of the LR/KIT/DR. We want to make it all one large room. It's a double-wide mobile, ground set with a cinderblock/slab crawl space. We live on an acre with over 150 trees, hens,dogs, cats and us two!

    Now, our thoughts include the following non-traditional ideas. If anyone has done a remodel with "function" in mind, and NOT looks or a "keep up with the Jones'" tactic, please reply!

    Walk in pantry with refrigerator inside. (the refrig will be on a wall opposite the walk-in side separated by a doorway to the laundry room)

    Raised dishwasher so as not to have to bend down so low

    Compost well next to built-in cutting board (hidden compost bucket for easy access)

    Very few, if any, overhead cabinets. We think they are a waste of space.

    Formica countertops. Granite is way too expensive for the same function. Anything is better than what we have now!

    Same for triple-level island with cabinets. These mobile home particle board cabinets have lasted 8 years so "their" lowest grade is higher than our best.

    Tile floors

    Anyone care to add what you've done or added ideas??
  2. Mommalee

    Mommalee Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2003
    What will you have instead of overhead cabinets? Shelves? Nothing overhead would be a waste of space in my mind...

    Don't forget, everyone needs a big deep sink with 2 tubs.

    Why does everyone pick tile for kitchen floors? I clean houses for a living and Pergo is the best, easiest to clean, prettiest, and probably not much more expensive.

    The Jones's we clean for are beginning to remodel using Corian (sp?) countertops, which I'm assuming are up there in price with granite, but boy, are they functional and easy to clean!

    Read "Confessions of an Organized Homemaker" by Deniece Schofield for ideas on organizing your new kitchen space for convenience, time and energy savers.


  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    Sounds like you've been putting a lot of thought into this. Love the compost hole in the counter. I was going to do the same thing, but with only the two of us now, it no longer seemed necessary.

    Love the raised dishwasher. You can put a drawer or two under it. In the same vein, a wall oven will make sure you don't have to bend over so far.

    I have pull out cupboards. That is, each self is only wide enough for a large can. All the shelves pull out at the same time so you have an easy to see and reach display. No objects getting lost in the back. I have three with two shelves (fitted to go into tight spaces), and one with five shelves.

    The kickplates, which you really can't see, I had made into drawers. Perfect for cookie sheets and placemats. Also a good place to hide the jewels as nobody knows the drawers are there.

    I don't have any overhead cupboards (can only reach the bottom shelf anyway!), except on the wall where I have the oven and refrigerator. The kitchen looks bigger without the over head cabinets, and the light from the windows is unimpeeded. We will put a narrow shelf up, but I think it will look attractive and still have the visual of a larger room. I insisted on tile counters. We put in 12 x 12 floor tile, which I think is more practical than 4 x 4 tiles. I can take a pot off the stove or out of the oven and put it right on the counter.

    Other than the wall with the wall oven and refrigerator, I don't have under the counter cabinets. We are going to make movable cabinets on casters. This way, a person can sit at the counter. Again, it gives the illusion of a larger room. The cooktop should really be lower than conventional counter height. At table height, you can easily see into the pots and pick them up.

    You might want to have a cold water faucet (goose neck) at the cooktop so you can fill up pots of water without having to carry it from the sink.

    A fan in the wall, one that actually blows the air OUT of the house is a must. If you can't put a hooded one over the stove, you can still put a fan in the kitchen on the outside wall to get rid of smoke.

    The book, Building for a Lifetime, has a lot of good ideas to help you design for wheelchair accessibility while still being practical if you are able bodied.

    My husband wanted a great room also, living, kitchen, and dining in one room. I put my foot down and had a wall put between the living/dining room and kitchen. This is the wall the oven and refrigerator are on. I can eat my dinner in peace without looking at the kitchen pleading to be cleaned.

    My advice would be to use the colors and materials that you love. If you like wood, put it in the cupboards or even just some fancy trim. Have fun :)
  4. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 12, 2003
    New York
    We are going to build our retirement home hopefully this year. The kitchen is the most expensive room in your home to redo/build. We have decided to eliminate a HUGE expense and put in concrete counters. They are lovely, can color to taste, make it look like marble etc. We have a friend who did his own and the kitchen is BEAUTIFUL, cost less than $100 for all the counters!!!!! Also, we are not putting regular cupboards above the counters $$$$$$$$$, instead I go to auctions and buy for $30 or so miss-matched antique hanging cupboards. Have an OLD medicine cupboard with a towel bar that the spices will go in, a beautiful wainscotting cupboard with glass doors for the dishes and the top of a hutch for whatever. Will put them up with wall space between much like you would hang different size pictures on a wall in a group. We are planning on new, energy efficient appliances and have budgeted $3500 total for the kitchen--we think that will be high. The kitchen will look country with a large harvest table (made from our wood) and miss-matched OLD farmchairs around it (get at auction for @ $10 each and some are caned). I am not big on everything matching, the old furnature has history. If you are interested in this style you can save THOUSANDS in the kitchen...Joan :haha:
  5. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 4, 2004
    I am so drooling cause I want to remodel my kitchen. We replaced the countertops when we moved in with some cheap formica, which was still better than the cracked up formica that was on there. But over the years, even with special care, it just doesn't hold up. Might want to reconsider and get a durable countertop.
  6. stirfamily

    stirfamily Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 18, 2002
    Farmmaid, tell us more about the concrete countertops. Sounds very interesting.

    Karen in NE Indiana
  7. JulieNC

    JulieNC Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2002
    We have formica countertops, and I HATE them. They start to peel over time, and ours is a textured white--stained from pot burns (previous owner) and they always look slightly dirty because of the texturing. When I get new ones, I will not get formica . . . even if I have to spend big bucks, I'm going to get something that is functional, durable and looks nice. I'd love to hear more about concrete!

    Consider a recycling center. I saw an interesting idea where they had covered bins outdoors next to the kitchen wall, and you'd lift a cover from the inside kitchen to put the recycling out into the bins. I liked this idea because it didn't require any space in the kitchen itself. We're not likely to do it, though, because we have a brick house, and it just seems too difficult to do.

    When we remodel, I'm also hoping to get a trash compactor. It sounds extravagent, but we have to haul our own garbage, and I can't help but think how nice it would be to have to go every two weeks instead of every week.

    I also like the idea of pull-out shelves. Things are so much more accessible, and you really can see what you have.

    When we redid our floor, we chose earth colored linoleum tiles. It's a mottled look (quite attractive) and easy to clean up. The real benefit, though, is that it has the same red color as our Carolina clay, some gray (rock dust), and some brown (regular dirt), so that it doesn't look filthy all the time. (We used to have a white floor with stains and gouges, and even when it was clean, it looked terrible, and I'd have to sweep several times a day just to keep it presentable--mopping was basically an every day thing unless I was willing to let it look disgusting.)

    When looking at kitchen sink fawcets (can't spell), consider getting a tall, goose-neck or one that's flexible. It makes it much easier to fill large pots.

    Having a refrigerator in a walk-in pantry wouldn't work well for us. We seem to use the refrigerator a lot, and for us, it'd really disrupt the traffic pattern. Plus, I use the floor of our pantry for storage, so I'd get a lot less storage, especially when you consider what kind of clearance you'd need for the doors. Maybe the problem is that I'm having trouble envisioning what you're talking about.

    LOVE the idea of a cut-out for your compost. If you're handy, consider making it so that there's a wooden top that fits flush with the counter. That way you can still have uninterupted space, and it may cut down on flies and such. You can always put a "stick-up" air freshener on the buttom side of the top to keep down smell if you don't take your compost out every day.

    I also like the idea of drawers where the kickouts are. What a great idea for those awkward cookie sheets and larger pans!

    I'd also pay special attention to lighting. Our house is very dark--they used inexpensive lighting and not much of it when they built this house. Even with windows in the breakfast room, the kitchen can get pretty dark. We haven't had the money to remodel, but I did spend some to get recessed lighting in the ceiling in addition to a flourescent light over the sink. Most of the time I just use the sink light, but it's wonderful to be able to flip a switch and have good lighting.

    I love seeing other people's ideas--some day we're going to redo our kitchen, and I really appreciate some of the clever ideas folks are sharing.
  8. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
    I have always wondered if the refrigerator should be vented to the outside so it doesn't put heat into the house, but then again, I live far south, and if you live where the added heat exhaust is a benefit, ignore that suggestion. :p

    Putting the fridge in the many times a day are you in your fridge? do you want to have to go to another room every time?

    For SURE use drawers or pull out shelves for the pots and pans. I wish I had done pull out shelves EVERYWHERE in the kitchen, but I do have two big ones for the pots.

    Here's a link on the concrete countertops:,2046,DIY_14346_26823,00.html
  9. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2004
    Will the refrigerator in the pantry cause too much heat in a space where you are keeping food stored? I have some cabinets above my refrigerator that I had planned to put extra canned food in, but it's way too hot, so I use that space for the canner, etc.
  10. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2002
    South West MI
    If you hate your old Formica put new right over it. A 4'x8' sheet is about 60$ and all you need is a router and counter top bit. It's so easy you will be P**sed you ever thought about paying someone to do it.And once you do one you will want to do them all. I could give a short course if someone would like.

  11. NeHomesteader

    NeHomesteader Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2003
    Your ideas sound really good.
    We bought an old farmhouse a couple years ago. It has taken alot of work but has been well worth it. The kitchen was the worst and we didnt' have much to spend. I am particular but we are really thrifty also. Cabinets were the trailer house ones you were talking about. Originally they were all oak but the guy took them out before the previous owners bought it and substituted. I knew that we couldn't afford new cabinets and they were that dark ,pressed board and the centers were unable to be sanded and stained. Evidently they had gotten wet at some point and they were a mess. We took all the doors off and my husband cut the centers out. We bought wainscotting and attached them to the center of the cuboards where the other board had been taken out. We then sanded all the cupboards down and painted them antique white(would rather have wood but......). The hinges were brass and I painted them a dull black and then bought the old fashioned black handles. We put crown molding on the top of the cupboards along the ceiling. IF you dont' look inside of them ,you'd never know they werent' new. The kitchen is so bright and is very old -fashioned looking to fit the house. Plus we did it on very little cost. The floor was all linoleum and we tore that up and restored it to the original pine flooring. That was MAJOR work but well worth it. I guess I really like wood floors so it'd be my choice if I were you. Hope it turns out really well. Dawn
  12. Peanut

    Peanut Member

    May 10, 2002
    British Columbia
    OD brings up a good point about the heat from the refrigerator in a small room. At the barn where I work there's a fridge in a small room and we have to leave the door open all the time because it gets really hot in there and reduces the efficiency of the fridge as well.
  13. I don't know how long you plan to stay put, but just to remind you, as the years go by you won't get any younger. I used to hate my upper cabinets because I'm only 5' tall. Now I wish I had more of them because I've developed arthritis in my back and hips and it's almost impossible to get down to look and to clean in my lower cabinets. If you're still young you likely won't live there forever.
  14. New Mexican

    New Mexican Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2004
    New Mexico
    OMG!!!! Wonderful ideas!!

    The concrete counters sound WONDERFUL! Thanks for the link! Sounds like what he wants to do! DH says, "Now you're talkin' my language!"

    Ok, the frig idea in the pantry is to get it out of the immediate kitchen area. DH says he'll put a fan or vent. Thanks for the heads up!! It would not be far, at all, from the kitchen. In fact, we are adding the pantry walls, coming out of an existing wall now. There's only the two of us so not much traffic there.

    Love the kick-place drawers. But question. I hate bending over that far. Is it too far down to reach so much? I'd rather have them standing upright.

    We've already got the wall oven on our list as well.

    Hmmmm....cooktop at table height. Great idea! We can do a multi-level counter area for that. The cooktop "recessed" down. We like THAT too! Already had the swivel pipes on our list for easy water access!

    Also, the mismatched cabinets are a great thing too! I can definitely see us doing something like that. Going to estate sales, antique shops etc. I'd imagine they ARE cheaper than factory-made ones. We've already got a couple of antique pieces so it just might be what we would want!

    Keep those cards and letters coming folks. Ya'll are opening our eyes to great possibilities. The sky's the limit!

    By the way, the tile floor is for our four dogs actually. They come in/out. Plus we've got cats. So, the flooring needs to hold up to that kind of traffic. We live in the desert southwest. Lots of dirt, grit etc. Very hard on "soft" flooring. The linoleum we have now gets pitted and has ground-in dirt. :(
  15. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2003
    If you spend any time in your kitchen at all, forget the tile floors. They're really hard on the back. Wood floors are the best for the kitchen, and properly sealed, they stand up very well to all kinds of traffic. Pergo would be my second choice, and linoleum third. I would never use tiles.

    About the countertops-laminate ends up being cheapest in the end. If it's not properly installed and maintained, sure, you'll have problems. There are maintenance concerns for all types of countertops, and no one requires less maintenance; it's just different. Also, your trailer might not be strong enough to hold up the weight of a properly poured and designed concrete countertop, and they are extremely expensive, and one of the most difficult do-it-yourself jobs. For the price of that or stone, you can replace your laminate countertop 8 times before you catch up to the price of the other stuff. Then you can change the look of your whole kitchen with the new laminate and a can of paint. It's more flexible.
  16. New Mexican

    New Mexican Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2004
    New Mexico

    Yes, I've heard that about tile floors. But I've also heard one gal just purchase nice comfy flip flops that "feel like you are walking on a water bed". Also those mats that hairdressers uers. The ones with the beveled edges?

    Thanks for the comment on the cement counter tops. I'd thought it would be MUCH cheaper. We'll look into it, and the other materials, further.

    You are right........time might be our restraint. We both work outside the home "in town". DH is an instructor at a tech school so he's gone until later in the evenings too.

    We'll see. Just in the beginning stages of talking right now. Plus, the money has to come in too!!

    Too many decisions and it overwhelms me!!

  17. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2004
    Zone 9b
    We have tiled the entire first floor. I bought a beautiful $8 rubber mat with a European fruit design on sale at Pottery Barn for in front of the kitchen sink and put a braided rug in front of the fridge because if anything rolls out of the fridge it will not only break but will break the tiles there, too. My kids use a push-broom to push the dirt in each room onto one tile, then they use a shop vac to pick up the dust pile from that tile. I follow them with a mop using hot water and vinegar and the floors look as good as the day I laid the tile. We have parquet upstairs but it has to be babied a lot more than the tile floor. The dog is not allowed up there!

    The ex had me buy a huge side-by-side fridge before the house was finished & it was not installed until after he was long gone. Of course, it left little space to pass thru the galley kitchen (you couldn't open the oven door if standing in front of it as your back was up against an unyielding fridge). So a dear friend cut out a fridge size slice in the wall and we shoved the fridge patially into the pantry behind. The pantry is large enough that the room doesn't get overheated but then we seldom shut the pantry door anyway. I am the only woman that has no excuse for not vacuuming the fridge coils.

    I'd suggest finding a thrift shop or antique armoir, then installing an electrical outlet in there so you can hide your toaster, coffee maker, etc (an appliance garage).
  18. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2004
    ~Flooring suggestion-
    We installed glueless laminate flooring (Armstrong) in our kitchen/diningroom/livingroom and I think it is wonderful!! It is so easy to keep clean and very easy on the feet, legs and back. The cost was about what ceramic tile would have been and it was much easier to install. The stuff is durable too-I bought a sample and tried to scratch it with keys, knives, and sharp rocks and then tried to dent it with a hammer.......nothing fazed this stuff.
    Here's a picture of the style/color we used.