I can say confidently that the very beginnings of this entire remodel are based on our love of food. When we were searching for a house, we agreed that our qualifications were, in this order, a good neighborhood, a great yard and then a good house. We definitely got what we were looking for. Our neighbors couldn’t be more wonderful. The yard is large and the soil is amazing. That left the house, which was good. It was adequate for our needs except for one thing – the kitchen. The first thing that we both agreed upon was that as soon as financially possible, we would refinish the kitchen.
Paul is a hobby chef. He’s considered, albeit briefly, culinary school and has taken numerous cooking classes. When he comes home from a long day at the office the kitchen is the first place he goes. Unfortunately for him, our current kitchen is a bit of an abomination. The cabinet where we keep most of our shelf food is so deep that things that aren’t in the front get lost. The burners on the stove slant at such an angle that the ingredients in the fry pan all slide to one side. That’s bad, but I think the worst part about it is that someone had the bright idea at one point to cut an extra door in the kitchen which is accessible from the bottom of the stairs going up and which connects a perfect circle through our dining room, living room and kitchen. Thus, Paul is always trying to cook while a few dogs and a couple of girls are running through.
Expanding the kitchen to encapsulate what is now our kitchen and dining room is a no-brainer. That takes care of the food preparation area but then how do we share it? Adjacent to the kitchen will be a great room which gives us versatile space including a dining room area and a family room/sitting area that is all open to the kitchen. As a family, we all sit down to dinner at night with the girls helping to prepare at least a portion of the meal. A large island with stools will be a great place for the girls to do their prep work. A big, open dining room will give us easy access to the kitchen as well as provide a more formal space for our nightly meals with enough room for guests.
Dinner guests are never in short supply in our home. In the summer, it is typical to share a meal with neighbors multiple times per week. At the end of the day, we’ve all got to eat so why not do it together? Paul and I have also been in a cooking club with friends for many years and host Thanksgiving. We’ll no longer be abandoned in the kitchen while our guests chat in the living room!
Finally, along with preparing and sharing food, we have also become quite good at growing food. The first summer that we were in our house, I broke up what I thought was a sizable garden space. The following year we converted our entire back yard to a garden. As you can see from the picture, we have been quite successful. Over the years our garden has produced rhubarb, asparagus, herbs, potatoes, strawberries, raspberries, broccoli, pumpkins, watermelon, eggplant, corn, blueberries, beans, edamame, beets, carrots, zucchini and acorn squash. (Oh, and eggs. Thanks to the ladies!) Our outdoor kitchen, just outside double doors from the dining room, will be the ideal place to enjoy all of the garden’s produce. On the patio, we hope to do most of our summer cooking for two reasons. The first is to enjoy the brief but beautiful weather. Secondly, cooking generates quite a bit of heat and humidity inside the house which is undesirable during the summer months.
As you can see, our remodel may have a bit of a slant toward energy conservation, but it’s really about food.