In the kitchen where memories are made

Our home is a place where everyone is welcome.

On a daily basis, we celebrate both the beauty and bedlam of everyday life, and a large majority of that celebration centers around great food.
The old cliché states that “the Kitchen is the Heart of the Home,” and it’s certainly true with our family.

In my house, the place we end up congregating the most is in our kitchen. So, when parties happen, life is lived to its fullest, but the entire time, echoes of “Excuse me, pardon me. Can I get by you?” occur non-stop.

When I designed my kitchen back in 1997, I wasn’t thinking space-planning, smushed kitchen corners, or five children. I had three toddlers that could easily slide by the island and peninsula.

So, for nearly two decades, this is what my kitchen counter space looked like; a very traditional layout, which gave me tons of surface space with which to work. You can see some pictures of parties in action. I had two cute stools which rarely were used, except as a clutter collector.

Note the close proximity between the traditional L shape and the free standing island. Everyone typically congregated right in this general area because I used the peninsula as the drink and main dish serving line and the island as the appetizer/dessert area.

Before removing peninsula

Who would want to move from all that delicious food?

Not too many, and thus the dilemma of being trapped. For years, I didn’t think I could solve this space issue until I was ready to remodel the kitchen, and that wasn’t a priority.

I needed the peninsula’s counter space, since I entertain large groups often, but my dear friend, Melissa from the inspired Room, had just removed the same peninsula in her remodel. I saw how it opened up her kitchen, and I kept going back to her floor plan. (You must click over to see her completed kitchen reveal. It’s breath taking and worthy of a “REAL GRAND REVEAL.”

So what I did next was a moment of sheer spontaneity, desperation or insanity. You decide.

(It’s all Melissa’s fault. I couldn’t get her gorgeous kitchen out o f my mind. 🙂

The text to my very handy eldest brother, who happens to live next store, went something like this, “I am getting my new Mohawk flooring put down in a few days. I know it is right before Christmas, but it’s the only option. I need to knock down my peninsula. Do you have some kind of tool that you can come over and cut off my counters and take down the cabinets? It should only take a few minutes.”

His response,”Would a chainsaw work?”

Needless to say, this spontaneous act required more than a few minutes, took a bit more than a chainsaw and left me without power on half of my kitchen still. But it was one decision I do not regret at all.

Removing that peninsula and replacing my island with a longer, custom island was on my wish list for 2015, but with the reality that I was replacing my ripped linoleum with gorgeous hand scraped laminate flooring by Mohawk, I didn’t want to have to piece meal flooring pieces together next year. I wanted it done all at once.

This required spontaneously removing the peninsula and island, which made up the largest portion of my bottom cabinetry. It was quite the mess. Not just from the demolition, but from the fact that I have more kitchen tools, bowls and small appliances than any one person should have, and now they did not have a place to call home.

Yes, three oversized base cabinets, gone!

Granted, I found three additional water pitchers in the corner cabinet that I probably don’t need, along with other duplicate items that needed to be donated, but still, I’m in a kitchen cabinet bind until I can either add onto my island or replaced it.

With our kitchen being the heart of the home, these linoleum floors were well torn, I mean loved, as you can see. Not to mention, I had amazing taste back in 1997. (Yes, I know. Someone told me they were tacky.)

Here is the before.

Kitchen Reno Before removing peninsula

As with the other picture above, I snapped this right before we were about to spontaneously demolish the peninsula, so photos are complete with contents that were removed from those cabinets littering the counters and floors.

Get ready!

Two Hour Kitchen demolition

In just two hours of demo, it felt like the size of our kitchen doubled.

Increase the size of your kitchen by knocking out cabinets

Isn’t it amazing what removing that peninsula did for the traffic floor? It immediately makes the kitchen seem twice as large.

Two hour kitchen demo before floors

Then, with the installation of the  Mohawk’s hand scraped laminate lengthwise, it looks that much larger. Every person that walks in mentions the difference and I agree.

In process of installing Mohawk laminate

This picture is shot during the installation process and taken from our great room, which I will show you on the next post..

It’s such a rich look, and while it’s now been nearly two months, I still walk in every day barely even able to recognize my own kitchen.

It’s that beautiful. We’ve also given it a thorough beating already, and it is holding up to Mohawk’s every claim.

Mohawk Ellington Rust Saddle Oak Handscraped Laminate

We did put felt pads on the bottom of the kitchen chairs since our kids do drag the chairs all over, and we wanted to make sure the floors stayed protected. They have also spilled food, beverages and miscellaneous unmentionables, and all wipe up easily without a worry about marking the floor.

We are so pleased with the end result.

As you can see with your own eyes, it’s gorgeous!

Mohawk Handscraped Laminate flooring

It’s not too dark that it shows every yellow lab hair of our dogs, but still rich tones – exactly what I wanted (see the style here). Granted, there’s a bit of bedlam still going on due to the masterful demolition that we performed.

Removing cabinet. Will add shelving

(The area where the peninsula and corner cabinet met.)

This new “creative concealment” area will be getting some shelves and a tension rod with some temporary fabric to hide this area. I am not quite sure how I am going to fix the counter yet. Unfortunately, the reality is that they will need new counters, but I can live with this imperfect area while I love the rest.

Enlarging the island is the next project

I’m brainstorming ways to regain my lost cabinets.

I REALLY need them for my kitchen items still stored in boxes. Ultimately, a new and much longer island is my desire, but in the mean time, I may try and extend the counter and add some legs to at least make up for the counter space that I lost. I feel it every time I entertain and cook large meals.

Again, I am all about the process, and the spontaneity. I don’t regret it for a minute.

In most of our lives, fixing up areas in our home is not a one time event. It’s spread over months, or with kitchens, even years. This is real life and I am thoroughly enjoying every moment of this process.

The best part of this kitchen renovation is all the additional memories that have already been made, and will continue to be made, on my new floors.

Christmas Morning

My iphone instagram picture on Christmas morning.

Hours early, we had ushered in this special day with 30 family members all congregating in the kitchen.

Warmth, laughter and life.

Are you dreaming of any kitchen renovations? I’d love to hear.

In the kitchen where memories are made

Are you thinking of getting new floors? Read my tips for picking out new flooring? I did enough research, so hopefully, this will be a help.

Did you get a chance to see the room that I pretended didn’t exist? See my Before and Almost After Dining Room renovation.

I’ve partnered as a Mohawk blogger and received my choice of laminate, but all installation and labor was at my own expense.