Saturday, January 3, 2015

Renovation Diary # 2: The Ranchburger's Kitchen


Ever since a Ranchburger came into my life, I've wondered how to enhance its most striking feature: the view. I also wanted to brighten the rooms, especially the kitchen.




It took about two seconds to realize that I didn't want to enlarge the kitchen/breakfast.
One solution was to add floor to ceiling windows (or, in my case, "door windows"--stock doors framed as inoperable windows). I didn't want to blow out the 8' ceiling, either.
Why not?
It's one of those things I can't explain. But I had a feeling that a lofty ceiling wouldn't "go" with the Ranchburger's unique vibe. It had a cottage-like feel, one that could emerge fully if I didn't mess it up. I'm perfectly capable of that. The architect, Murdock, agreed that we shouldn't touch the existing 8' ceiling in the kitchen--it fit perfectly into the Burger's Goldilocks's Zone.

But doors were another matter.
Doors would work!

While it didn't take long to figure out the kitchen's footprint, everything else was up in the air. I took my time--all summer, into fall--and didn't do anything, except to test a few colors in the mancave. I thought and thought, then thought some more. Talked to Murdock and Mike, my GC. (Both of them had loved my Georgian, but they were enthusiastic about the Burger, pointing out virtues I'd overlooked.)

Still, the Burger needed a few tweaks (but it will be a while before--or even if--I tackle other projects). Where to begin? Did I want to keep the cabinets? I liked them. But with the last renovation, I'd winged it. No advance planning. It turned out fine, but I'd learned a vital lesson: plan ahead, and take your time.
I liked everything about the Burger's kitchen, except it was a little dark and the windows didn't take advantage of the view, which overlooks the foothills of the Appalachians. I'd grown up in those mountains. "Mom," I said, "I can wave to you."
It was an emotionally charged view. And the main reason I'd capitulated and had agreed to let go of my Georgian and move to the Ranch. 

So, I kept thinking. And half a year sped by. It was time to make changes or not make them at all.  
I decided to add a bay window in the breakfast area, which would give a little breathing room. In the kitchen, the small casements would be replaced with French doors--and stationary doors on either side. The downside: I would be losing a lot of counter space and storage.
Oh, but that view. . . the view of my childhood home. It was just over those mountains, and just seeing it replenished my soul. Surely I could find storage elsewhere? The solution was a roomy island, inspired by the "bespoke" style. An example is my friend Allison's magnificent, timeless kitchen. Her cabinets were made in England, and when they arrived in the U.S., they were put in quarantine!

Below, you can see my kitchen's layout. The architect was a little worried because the table caused a blip in the traffic flow. (The cabinets will be repurposed in the dish room. Some drawers and cabinets had special drawers and features, and they'll be incorporated into the new cabinets (I'll have an update in January about the cabinet style.) I'm removing the light fixture over the island (it blocks that all-important view--and it will be moved to the pool house).



This week, I choose doors (which will be framed as windows, except for operable doors in the kitchen). My friends on Facebook helped me decide on the type of muntins. Which one do you like?
I favored the door with 4 panes, but I was a little worried that the style would overwhelm the narrow space. Murdock, Mike Cox, and Tyler voted for the style with 8 panes. Almost everyone who voted on FB liked the 8 panes, too. It seemed to fit the house.
So that's what we will order on Monday. The lead time is 2 or 3 weeks, which means construction won't be delayed.

Here's Murdock's sketch. 
The bay window is on the right; the French doors are on the left (behind the island).


If you walked up the stairs, you'd pass by the existing French doors, which open to the breakfast area.
The little "bump out" is the kitchen--that's where the new French doors will go.

A closer look. 
French Doors will replace the casements.






And here's the kitchen today. It's a scary process. You can think and plan, and
still have second thoughts. It's best to go eat a cupcake and relax. 

I'll leave you with a view of the blue mountains.
Thanks for keeping me company on this new adventure.
I'll see you tomorrow (Sunday) with a "Tour of Homes."

Catch up on previous Ranchburger stories:
2014 in Review
Renovation Diary #1
Introduction to the Burger

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33 comments:

  1. Well you sure have some good bones to work with. A great space. Having recently moved to a home with a great view I can attest to the importance of it. Although I don't look out over anywhere that I used to live I do sigh with pleasure every time I drive through the gates at the top of my hill and see a valley spread out below. When I walk through my doors and see out my wall of windows to the deck and beyond it fills me up with happiness.
    You are making the right choices I think and you are taking your time about it. A smart way to do it. Can't wait to see the finished areas.

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    1. Lori, I love your description of driving through the gates. You painted such a clear picture, I can "see" your view.
      Thanks for stopping by today! I am inspired by your words and images.

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  2. You have so much nice space to work with ML. I know it will be amazing when you and the architect are finished. Your views are wonderful and I know you are going to enjoy this kitchen. There's nothing like a kitchen with a view to relax you and making cooking even more relaxing. In the meantime, enjoy your cupcake :)
    Sam

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    1. Well, as it happened, I ate cinnamon rolls. LOL They did the trick!

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  3. It sounds beautiful...I can 'see' it! I love the process of designing in my head, to paper, to the finished project.

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    1. I much prefer to design in my head--so much easier. No dust from Sheetrock or checks to write to the drywall guy. :-)

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  4. Oh I'm so excited for you! Your view is going to be incredible. I sure understand why. I've been doing a couple of "small" projects around here. Started the year off scapping the popcorn off the dated ceilings. It;s not a pretty thing to do but oh so rewarding. It would take a miracle of winning the lottery to do all I want to do, all in good time huh? Lots of baby steps around here. I'm looking forward to following you on this journey Happy New Year. fondly ~lynne~

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    1. Lynne, Happy New Year! I'm eager to see your projects!!

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  5. Oh, I really, REALLY like where you are going with this. I think you made the perfect decision, and that view! That view is going to thrill you every time you go into the kitchen! I like either set of doors.

    I cannot wait to see where you go with your new home. And I think you are smart not to raise the ceiling. When my parents moved from a mid-Victorian to their retirement home (when I was in junior high), it was a ranchburger, and we lived there very companionably. Even after my sister moved home after she graduated college and went back to school in a totally unrelated field and pulled her hair out daily, we loved that house. It lived well. And I can see this one living well for you. I am excited for you. Ranchburgers have a good "nesting" feel to them, and I see that here.

    Years later, after being bought and sold a couple of times, a cousin of mine bought my parents' former home and did things to make it their own. Unfortunately, some of the things that had been done in a previous renovation by others had messed with the "Goldilocks" charm of the house, and my husband said upon viewing it, "The house seems diminished, somehow. I always thought it was so sophisticated and charming both, but now?" You are so smart to let the house talk to you and to take your time. I have seen great renos done of ranchburgers that gave the house life like two guys who renovated one that had belonged to a former friend, and it is just marvelous. This one will be, too. Because you have the talent and the taste to make it work. And you are starting out with a good looking house. So this will make it even better. Will you keep the drapes in the kitchen or move them elsewhere? I like the fabric!

    Getting off of here before I write a dissertation. But keep up the good work! Looking forward to updates as you progress...

    xo

    Sheila :-)

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    1. Sheila, I enjoyed your comment--a joy to read and very thought provoking. It's daunting to tinker with an older home, no matter the vintage, isn't it? How much to tweak? How much will take the house in the wrong direction? Sometimes just a pinch will do it. Argh. I started the project (in my mind) with a huge "to-do" list, and it keeps shrinking. I think that's a good sign!

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  6. I'm already excited, love the updates and your wonderful idea's. Looking forward to every "step-of-the-way" reveal. Gosh I love this kinda stuff! ML, you make blogging so much fun.

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    1. Aw, you are so kind to say that, Jo May. Thank you!

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  7. The view is going to be worth everything, Michael Lee! Just looking out at the Appalachian Mountains will soothe your soul and inspire your creativity. I look forward to seeing the progress in the coming months. The New Year is going to be a busy, but fun one for you.

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    1. It will be an adventure, for sure! Happy New Year, Kitty!

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  8. I love your view! We have a similar view just down the road from us and as I drive east those foothills are so beautiful. I just have a KY view! Ha! Fun to take the journey of remodeling with you...but without the dust!
    Sheila

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    1. KY is such a beautiful state. When I was little, my Southern grandparents moved to Chicago, and my mother and I drove through KY many times. I always picked out my favorite houses (I was a hopeless house junkie even then). You're right about the dust. Eeeek! Time to bring the Roomba over there!

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    2. I have to share that my daughter and new hubby are starting to look at houses in Lexington. And what does she want? a midcentury style....which will probably translate into an older ranch in a certain part of Lex. Partly do to location, and partly due to the style...but those fifties, sixties, and seventies houses are attracting the younger set. When I think of mid century...I think of when I was a kid and the furniture my parents and grandparents had. ....i.e. old. Now such is considered "vintage." ha! Life...roll with it I guess.
      sheila

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    3. And houses from that era were so well built. I love MCM. My Ranch has a sort of muddled style--it's almost this, almost that. It has been renovated several times--a faux fireplace was added at one point (two story; front elevation; exquisite stone work; short chimney). The roof has been raised once--it was originally a pancake (my GC went up into the attic and looked). It has an "H" shape, and each part of the "H" has a different vibe. :-) The house next door is a gorgeous Mid-Century Modern. I enjoy looking at it each time I go up my driveway.

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  9. I live in a ranchburger now.....we built it 30 yrs ago and I love it more today than the day we moved in. It sits on 360 acres so we do have a beautiful view too......I have French door and fixed doors beside them as well going into my sunroom. After having panes in the doors, I decided to take them out because I wanted all the light I could muster into my family room. Never went back to the panes......gives a much more open effect...just my experience.
    Your place is going to be spectacular! But tell me.....did you sell the house you spent so much time remodeling? I fell in love with that one too because we all felt like we were building it right along beside you!!! what made you change your mind about it and find another??? just curious!!

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    1. It was a Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus story. My husband had mixed feelings about the Georgian and was a reluctant renovator. I loved it...love it still. My husband had longed for the Ranchburger since 1982 (or 83...memory fails), when we went to a party next-door. It became available right after his thyroid surgery, and he flew out of the house to go see the burger. I hope you'll join me on this new adventure. Here are a few "how we ended up with a Ranchburger" stories:
      http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-peek-at-our-70s-ranch-house.html
      http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/2014/12/ranchburger-renovation-diary.html
      http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/2014/12/simple-fresh-design.html

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  10. I am so excvited to see the renovations. That VIEW is spectacular, I understand now tyour need for WINDOWS!!! This is going to be great fun going on this journey with you!

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    1. Thank you, Pinky! Hope you had a great New Year's Day--and will have a wonderful 2015!

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  11. That porch! That view!! It is going to be insanely gorgeous with those doors!!

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    1. I'm thinking about screening the porch--hate and fear mosquitoes--but I can't pull the trigger just yet. :-)

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  12. Oh, that view! I admire your spunk, Michael Lee. It takes a lot of energy and enthusiasm to take on another renovation. I know it will be fantastic once you've worked your magic.
    Thanks for taking us along. It's fun!
    Happy New Year!

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  13. Love the idea of french doors....in the back of our ranch home the back entry is actually lower with the elevation...so the kitchen has two steps up to enter it. I am still trying to talk hubby into raising that floor and adding the 2 steps outside so we can gain extra kitchen space...and add french doors. Your porch and view are just breathtaking and I am so excited for all the progress you are making on your kitchen!

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    1. My ranch has the same thing--multiple levels. Some big, some little. It's hard to say if it was the style or if the floor was lowered during a renovation. The center of the house has 9' ceilings (small living room, small ?? room, foyer, and a sun room); one bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, and I suspect it was added. Everything else has 8' ceilings. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Michael Lee, I think you are doing the perfect changes to your kitchen and bringing in more light with those beautiful doors, you will love it. I wish you all the luck. Carol

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    1. Thank you so much, Carol! Hope you have a great New Year!

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  15. OMGosh, ML...that view from the porch just takes my breath away!! You certainly made a great choice with this home...to get to live in such a beautiful spot has to be pure bliss. (once all the construction is over with) You amaze me with your ability to *see* the possibilities where walls exist. I hope & pray it turns out even better than you had anticipated. I know your Mom had to be thrilled that you'll be so close to her. I am 4.5 miles from my only child & I gave up FL warmth & sunshine & golf & tennis & country club living to be here. No regrets, either!

    Looking forward to seeing the completed renovations.
    Hugs,
    Rett

    ps. LOVE the doors!!!!

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    1. Well, it was my DH's dream house--he loved the man cave, of course, and the setting.Thank you for your good wishes and prayers! I hope you have a *wonderful* 2015!

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  16. What a fabulous plan you have in mind and the mountain view is worth it all. Keep dreaming.

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