There are three other areas that I wanted to talk about quickly, as they are part of the design and reno — the ceiling, the flooring, and some special cabinets.
For the ceiling, the main issue was the bulkhead over the island which matched the island layout but was basically useless to the regular design. Somewhat aesthetically pleasing, but had to exit for the new design. We cut it back considerably as you can see in the photos, and changed the lighting options. We didn’t know what we would find exactly when we opened it up, but there were no issues in the end.
For the flooring, we had considered a number of options. Some required a subfloor that would have meant a step up going into the kitchen, if only a few inches. So, no. Others would be cold, others would be hard, some would take some wear, some wouldn’t take much. Some were insanely expensive, others were not. Some were really popular but had tons of bad reviews after a few years. In the end we went with a vinyl-ish panel that goes down, sticks to the floor, and then has grout in between. It looks quite good. Our only real issue (other than figuring out WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE!) was the series of holes in the floor and “patching” them. There were holes where the ductwork went through in the walls; there were holes from earlier plumbing locations. In the end, it all got done, no real problems.
However, there is a small “drop”/groove in our floor in the middle of the prep part of the kitchen (just past the sink, before the fridge). The floor drops a cm or two over the space of a foot or two. If you think of it more like carpet, it’s like there’s a cord running under the rug boosting it up a bit, while in reality it’s just that the floor that was under the cupboards and behind the wall was just a bit lower before. Not entirely clear to me why, but it was there after they removed the wall, and short of adding in a sub-floor for part of the floor, it wasn’t an easy fix. My only real complaint was they didn’t really talk to us about it either, it was more that we found it after the fact and had to ask about it, before we decided to live with it. No real issue, just annoying. The other thing was that we expanded on the old kitchen and extended the flooring to the corner where the bathroom meets the family room, much roomier kitchen for walking space etc.
The last area I wanted to talk about quickly was some special shelving / cupboards that we had installed and they really turned out well in the end. First and foremost, we wanted a space for Andrea’s spice collection. She sells Epicure spices and that means a decently sized collection of spice jars. We used to have them in a cupboard with some “step shelves” in it, plus some just loose, plus two separate spots on counters, etc. We wanted them all together, highly accessible, well-organized. In short, we either wanted shelves or actual cupboards. We went with cupboards in the end. Room in one for six shelves, room in the other for 7 (different size jars). By about 18″ to 2′ wide. Lots of space. Turned out great. Interestingly, at one point, we were worrying about cost and asked about things that we could scale back — turned out one of their designs that wasn’t broken out in detail included $1000 for EACH of two cupboards. We scaled those back fast. And while they work great, the design isn’t perfect. The one door bangs into the other cupboard a bit when open, would have preferred it go all the way to 90 degrees, but easily livable.
The second area was in response to our lost china cabinet. We added lots of room for shelving on the front of the island, but behind one of the spice cupboards was an 8″ space we could use for our china stuff. We added some drawers nearby for things like placemats, but we added shelves and glass doors going up. It turned out great — in the end. During the implementation, they mis-read the blueprint and the first version had the shelves only 4″ deep. Honestly, who would make a china cabinet 4″ deep and not think, “WTF?”. Apparently they would. We had to have them redo it. There’s even a counter shelf that is open for some stuff to sit on too, looks fabulous. Interior lighting, not super expensive. The cabinet was definitely an “add-on”, but worth it.