I feel like I've traveled back in time because this is oak cabinet situation is MIGHTY familiar:
This is our new (old) kitchen! It hasn't been touched since the house was built in 1986, which is fine because if oak cabinets and butcher block laminate are your jam then who am I to rain on your parade? The style isn't the main issue (though it will be changing). I'm fighting another monster:
There. Is. No. Storage.
That frying pan has to live on the stove because none of the cabinets are wide enough to give it a proper home. DItto the silverware tray--all three (!) of the drawers are narrow, so the poor thing has to chill on the counter.
And over on the fridge wall, you can see our collection of small appliances that have nowhere else to go. The crock pot and rice cooker have to sit on top of the fridge like a pair of sad hats, the microwave (which we bought on day 2 because there wasn't one) has to be sideways on that sliver of counter, and there are two whole boxes we couldn't even unpack that are currently hanging out in the dining room.
So, that's a bummer. But on the bright side, we have what I call The Wall of Nothing that's about to become way more useful:
I assume the intent of the empty area was to provide a spot for a tiny table, but I think the space would function so much better as a galley-style kitchen without a table at all. The dining room is literally three steps away, so do we NEED another eating area in here? Nope!
Here's a quick sketch of our plan. For reference, the room is 10' x 10'.
Not only are we moving the fridge to the longer wall, but we're adding 30" of additional countertop and cabinet space, plus a 90" tall pull-out pantry because if I can't even put my frying pan away, you better believe I can't store much food. We're also replacing the sliding glass door to the deck, and widening the doorway to the dining room. I wish we could've taken the cabinets all the way down on The Nothing Wall, but the doors are in the way. We'll put a command center there instead.
The functionality is going to improve by 500%, and because the overall palette will be lighter, it will feel bigger, too. We ran around town on Sunday and found all of our main materials. Behold!
Because this house is going to be a rental property after we're done with it, we aimed for durable, easy-to-maintain finishes that were also pretty affordable. Example: those are laminate countertops and vinyl plank floors. Gasp! I feel like those are things a design professional like me "shouldn't" recommend or use, but I don't care. I design for real life, and the reality is that rentals need to stand up to wear and tear. Laminate and vinyl have improved leaps and bounds in the last decade, anyway, so I'm happy to use them for projects.
We won't actually swing the hammer for another month--still need to order the appliances, get quotes from contractors about the doors, etc.--but that will zoom by. Aaaaaah! I can't wait.
What have you been working on lately? Who else has gutted a kitchen? Have you dealt with a bad storage situation?