Our new English Country project remodel is underway! The process began with little time for planning after selling our previous house in one day, fully furnished, with a fast closing date and then after two texts to strangers asking if I could buy their house, one of them said “Yes”! This house was a serendipitous find with its perfect in-town location, a pool for the kids, golf course for the husband and an English Tudor Revival exterior for me, perfect for the English Country interior I was planning.

The layout of the new house had the potential to have the traditional, Ralph Lauren-ish country English look I wanted. The bones were good with a wide foyer and stairway, generously sized dining room, a keeping room and other interesting spaces. The downside – and a big one – was the kitchen – dark, oddly shaped, inefficient, full of angles and two large columns – which was very different than the large, open and symmetrical kitchens I love and the one in my previous light and bright Hamptons-style lakehouse.

Part of our pre-purchase house inspection was a meeting with our builder to determine if the two large columns could be removed. We soon discovered that their removal would involve large, oddly placed low-hanging beams, a solution worse than the problem it was intended to solve. I decided to leave the columns, slightly reduce their size, clad them in wood and incorporate them into the overall design. Instead of a large, bright, symmetrical kitchen with my collection of stainless pots and pans, now in storage, hanging on a new pot rack, I would instead be designing something else entirely.

My plans to remodel went from months in the future to the present time after one retailer had the appliances we wanted in stock and ready for delivery instead of waiting the current twelve-month lead time. With all the appliances safely tucked away in the new garage, it was time to assess the kitchen’s spatial, functional and aesthetic issues and devise a plan to make the most of this space. Read along for a quick list of the problems and and a few of the solutions:

RANGE WALLPROBLEM: This L-shaped range wall has lots of ups, downs and angles that are unattractive and inefficient. We will replace all cabinets and appliances with a more unified design.

  • New Shaker-style cabinets will all go to the ceiling
  • Cabinets and 48″ range will be on back wall only
  • No angled end cabinets
  • Cabinets will be painted a soft green-blue color
  • Backsplash will be white painted tongue and groove wood
  • White painted tongue and groove ceilings
  • White tongue and groove wainscotting will cover newly bare wall areas.

REFRIGERATOR WALLPROBLEM: This wall is too short, looks jumbled and lacks aqequate counter and cabinet space. We will attempt to create more function and beauty for this central space.

  • Cabinets will all go to ceiling
  • Refrigerator will move down to desk location
  • There will be 7′ of counter space and glass cabinets
  • No angled end cabinets
  • Cabinets will be painted a soft green-blue color
  • Backsplash will be white painted tongue and groove wood
  • White painted tongue and groove ceilings

DESK AREAPROBLEM: The desk, at right, is unneeded and wastes space in the small kitchen. We will remove it, creating more counter space and carve out a niche for cookbooks.

  • Refrigerator will move into place of the left side of existing desk
  • This area will also have built-in bookcase for cookbooks (behind the new refrigerator location)
  • The knee wall and light, at left, will be removed

UNUSABLE BAR AREAPROBLEM: The angled island has a tall knee wall that wastes space, is unattractive and breaks up the room visually. It will be removed as part of the new, large island.

  • Remove knee walls and create more usable counter seating
  • Replace angled island with a larger island with lots of counter space
  • All lighting will be removed, with more recessed lighting and a central chandelier to visually organize the space

COLUMNSPROBLEM: Two columns that hold up part of the 2nd floor are bulky and visually interrupt the already small space. We’ll make them work by incorporating them into the design.

  • Reduce size of columns
  • Clad columns in wood
  • Add panels to fronts and sides of new island
  • Add two half columns to breakfast area to incorporate the existing ones

SMALL FLOATING ISLAND AND SMALL ANGLED ISLAND – PROBLEM: The tiny island sits in the center of a busy circulation area and the angled island is too small and inefficient. Our goal is to create one large, efficient island in place of these two.

  • New island will house a farm sink, dishwasher, trash can and microwave
  • Island will also have counter seating
  • Lighting location to be determined

BREAKFAST ROOMPROBLEM: This space is small with poor circulation, an unattractive niche and a lack of identity. We will both close and open up spaces to achieve a pleasing look.

  • Add wood to the vaulted ceiling
  • Add a 64″ cased opening to new sunroom at left
  • Remove windows beside new sunroom (reuse in Keeping Room)
  • Close niche at right
  • Add wainscoting

KEEPING ROOM, RIGHT SIDEPROBLEM: This room is unatractive with lots of doors, odd windows and poor circulation. We’ll create better harmony with the room’s many elements.

  • Add 64″ cased opening to new sunroom in place of double doors
  • Remove arched windows beside fireplace
  • Reuse windows being removed from Breakfast Room beside fireplace
  • Replace mantel

KEEPING ROOM, LEFT SIDEPROBLEM: There is no access to the patio just outside the triple window at left. We will create better function and appearance in this space.

  • Replace triple window with door unit
  • Will reuse triple window in screened porch conversion
  • Replace mantel
  • Replace arched windows with ones from Breakfast Room

SIDE ENTRY AREAPROBLEM: The entry area from the driveway is too small and unattractive and is crowded by a rarely-used closet.

  • Remove closet at left of door
  • Add small chest as drop zone
  • Retain a partial wall between entry and Breakfast Room for visual separation
  • Add 1/2 column on wall to create further visual separation