Planning the Kitchen Part 1: Door and Window Openings

Yep, it’s coming soon! Well my kitchen walls are anyway. I have a LOT of small things to take care of first, one of which is planning obsessing over important imperceptible details. Yeah, I found a little more complication in the midst of blitzing the finish work, but for better or for worse, I brought it all on myself this time. Just a reminder, this is a preliminary look at what I was thinking, layout wise.

kitchen rendering

Let’s start by looking in from the living room. The narrow “dining room” window tops off about 93 inches off the floor. Thanks to a convenient slope in the kitchen floor, this lines up perfectly with the 96 inch patio door I bought. In between, the window over the kitchen sink is a bit lower in the existing opening, but the 2×3 framing we added to make cabinet installation easier cheats the opening up to line up with the other two. The big interior opening, which we’ll continue to call the kitchen arch, is now about 4 inches higher than the others. I’ve decided to frame it down to line up with the other openings and then wrap them all in the same reproduction wood trim.

IMG_2972

Remember the original wall. I actually liked the way the division kept the living room well proportioned; about twice as long as it is wide. Completely open rowhouses are too long and narrow for my liking. I hope that building the opening down a little (but up a lot from where it was) and in on both sides enough to have trim all the way around it, will visually define the rooms without closing up the house.

P1010334

Then there’s the patio door opening. I love all the glass, but in the city I think I’m going to need privacy. My only requirement is that whatever I put up pretty much disappear when opened. This means no wood blinds. They would stack up over 11 inches deep if I put them on the patio door. Plus, they’d be heavy.

I thought of installing huge shutters that slide open like pocket doors. This has the advantage of being totally awesome. It would look great closed and completely disappear when open. They would never be in my way. And they would be unique. The downside? They’d be expensive and a lot of extra work. I’d have to build out the wall like this (the coat closet upstairs)

 

P1040741And plus with this framing I’d lose a little bit of my kitchen. And the wall is nowhere close to level, so I’m not sure how well it would work to have something hanging on a track from above. (The patio doors slide but on tracks above and below.)

The alternative? Some kind of shade that folds up to almost nothing. Either a pleated or honeycomb shade, or a (nice fabric) roller shade. Or really anything that gets really small when it’s opened. If I did a roller shade it would operate on a bead chain, and I might even make it myself (or get a friend who sews to make it for me), possibly out of colorful or patterned fabric. The spring loaded mechanisms on most roller shades fill me with rage. And if I have something that’s unattractive when opened, I’ll mount a piece of wood trim in front of it to hide it. Problem solved.

Anyways, what I choose to do there is not set yet. I’m thinking the cheap and easy solution is the way to go, but maybe that’s the tired, hungry, and (house) poor in me talking. What do you say?

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11 thoughts on “Planning the Kitchen Part 1: Door and Window Openings

    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      I could possibly build that style of door, but it would have to go into a pocket instead of sliding on an exposed track because there will be cabinets on the wall on either side of the patio door. It would be cheaper to use a solid door than a louvered one though.

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  1. Casey

    I still think the “pocket shutters” are an excellent idea, assuming it can be pulled off. It doesn’t sound easy or cheap. I hope to do the same thing over a pair of outswing French doors. All it takes is money, right?😀

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  2. Chris Harris

    Chad, I think you should not block off the view, or the light coming through the patio doors, with anything. I suggest you actually live there for a while to assess just how much you need the privacy.

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Well the beauty of the pocket shutters is that they would completely disappear. The downside is that I’d have to build the wall to handle them now, or rip out and reconfigure the wall and kitchen cabinets later.

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  3. infinitequery

    I wonder if you could do anything with closet doors. We have 4 large sliders across the back of our Rancher and I bought mini blinds online-single rail and two blinds they looked nice and neat lots of color choices and I didn’t raise and lower them just opened them and I could see out quite well and still had light. But my sons Rottweiler has slowly destroyed them so I have been wondering if I could use louvered closet doors as a cheaper substitute for the heavy plantation shutters. Hang them on one of those barn door slider systems or just attach them at the side of the door. Haven’t had time to think it through so maybe you can offer an opinion. Good start or delusional?

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Well, I have cabinets on the walls on either side.The ends of the cabinets, not any weight. So I’d have to frame out for pocket doors because I have no wall space for a barn door. I thought about louvered closet doors, but my patio door is 8 feet tall, and it doesn’t save that much. What I could do is frame out for the doors/shutters now and buy them later.

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  4. infinitequery

    Absolutely-We have been home owners for fifty years and my husband showed me how to proceed as budget allowed. He is very handy-as are you- and so we were able to get things accomplished with just the cost of materials. But I swear my Karma directs me to all of the houses that are frosting on the outside and disaster within. Beware of “charming”- So lots of repairs over the last 50 years. But we had some lovely homes when the dust settled.

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  5. MaryMargaret

    I’m with Chris. Live there a while and see if you really need it. I despise window/door treatments, although they are sometimes necessary. Maybe consider a window “cling” (essentially patterned vinyl that adheres with no adhesive)? Some have really subtle designs and no color — just enough pattern to obscure without blocking the light. We did this in a 1920s house for a few windows in rooms where we needed light but not the neighbors’ eyeballs (tiny powder rooms, bathrooms). Pretty cheap, pretty easy, pretty pretty. Apartment Therapy has some good options (some more expensive than others). We ended up NOT putting anything on our patio doors.

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Well the only thing I would have to commit to is this shutter idea. Nothing else would go in before I move in. And I’m considering that only because I would build the room specially so the window treatment would disappear into the wall.

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