Creative Planning, Colorful Splashes

Creative planning, colorful splashes and handy hubby helped update her kitchen.

By Margaret Raube, Centreville, Virginia

New Kitchen Photo

New Kitchen Photo

With our two daughters in college, my husband, Jim, and I decided to downsize our living space. We found a home outside of Washington, D.C. that fit our new empty-nest lifestyle just fine…but the kitchen looked dated and lacked sufficient counter and storage space.

So once Kristen and Katie graduated, we decided to do something about it. Since we were still recovering from college expenses, we had to work within a budget. That meant sticking with the existing plumbing and room size.

Before we started shopping for flooring and cabinets, Jim and I laid out a plan. In order to expand the counters and increase storage without moving any kitchen walls, we'd have to relocate the refrigerator.

Before Photo

No solution seemed ideal. We ended up installing the fridge in what had been a closet at the far end of the room. Although this arrangement removed the refrigerator from the nucleus of the kitchen, the sink-stove-refrigerator triangle was still just 27 feet. I could live with that.

Fridge Photo

To keep the refrigerator "connected" to the kitchen, we planned for a narrow counter with cupboards below and shelving for knickknacks above.

With a tentative layout in hand, we contacted four cabinet dealers who drew up designs and provided cost estimates. Luckily, the one we preferred was also the least expensive!