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upcoming project, planning, kitchen remodel, architect on demand, advice without strings

As a DIY Ally, I am always on hand to help with a layout for an upcoming project. This particular kitchen remodel is no exception. A couple came to me with the following request: “Our main goal is to open up the kitchen to the adjoining dining/living room area in order to take advantage of the view through the living room to the 12-foot sliding patio door that looks out onto our backyard and pond.”

A wish list for the upcoming project

If possible, they wanted to retain some privacy so that they’re not in full-view from the front entry door. With a structural column lingering nearby, they couldn’t decide how much of the wall to eliminate or which side of the current opening to expand.

They informed me that they would like a center island and wouldn’t mind moving plumbing. They wrote: “We’re looking for best design and layout and possibly best finishes to complement the decor/style choices in the adjoining dining/living room. We’re new to how all of this works, so let’s start with the basics and let us know the next steps to getting a more complete vision.”

upcoming project, planning, kitchen remodel

Existing conditions & layout ideas

Upon receiving some snapshots and a rough sketch of the existing conditions with two possible layouts they are considering for the upcoming project, I am able to propose a couple of alternative solutions.

In my opinion, the first order of business in this particular upcoming kitchen remodel would be to deal with the door to the garage. Next, would be opening up to the view through the living room.

When planning for a kitchen remodel, arranging equipment is not enough

A kitchen is not just a compilation of prep, cooking, and storage nodes placed in an efficient manner. It’s a machine in itself and has to be designed to look and feel as such. Clean. Streamlined. Intelligent.

upcoming project, planning, kitchen remodel

Existing & proposed versions A & B: floor plan

Cabinets and what’s inside of them need to be considered very carefully. Selecting a door style is the icing on the cake. For an organized, clean look, I like establishing a module. Adhering to a module of 18” & 24” (also known as stock cabinet dimensions) is a good idea even when choosing a custom-made option.

Thus, I attempt to organize the built-ins. As mentioned above, I’m proposing to conceal the garage door by making it look like a continuation of the cabinets. FYI, hatching represents full-height storage. I opt to design cabinets for stockpiling everything, as opposed to a walk-in pantry. (Take a look at this article; it outlines the pros and cons for both.)

upcoming project, planning, kitchen remodel

Option A: floor plan/elevations

I can’t help it. I need to test my assumptions by drawing elevations. I am leaning toward developing version A. It doesn’t seem that there’s enough room to put a 48” stove between the windows as featured in version B. I am guessing on the sizes of the windows. Based on the pictures I have, they appear to be the same width but not the same height.

The opening to the living room (elevation A-4) is 8’ wide and aligns with the structural post on the dining room side. The garage door to the right of the full-height cabinets is camouflaged (elevation A-3). The stove with the hood placed 30” above kitchen counter height of 36” has its own wall (elevation A-1). The 24” wide dishwasher is placed right next to the 36” sink. The fridge is balancing the windows of different heights (elevation A-2).


Every square inch matters. Maximizing storage is a must in a kitchen remodel. Would you agree? Is there an upcoming project you would like to discuss with your DIY Ally? Please DO NOT HESITATE to ask for help! You can write to me here.


  • Mia Kazovsky
    December 6, 2016

    I LOVE the idea of the kitchen as a machine!

    • Alla DIY Ally
      December 6, 2016

      Mia, for a cook like you, it clearly has to be!

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