Kitchen Remodeling for Older Homes
When there are a lot of functions that must be packed into a single space, it can be challenging, no matter what size space there is to work with. Kitchen remodeling can be especially difficult in older homes, not only because of space considerations, but also because older electrical wiring, heating and plumbing may be inadequate for modern tasks, difficult to update or reroute. In addition, structural concerns must be addressed, particularly if a planned remodel involves tearing out walls in order to create a kitchen that is more integrated with adjacent living space.
But the dividends of updating an older kitchen are great in terms of convenience, livability, style and even home value. If you’re less than enamored with your present kitchen, why not explore the options for giving it new life in your older home?
Assess Your Lifestyle
There are several ways to approach a kitchen renovation. It all depends on your individual needs and your end purpose. Remodels fall generally into three categories:
- Cosmetic Improvements: If you are basically satisfied with the space that exists and the work triangle (the placement of major appliances) functions well, your remodel can be relatively simple. You can work with a kitchen designer to select stylish new cabinets and countertops, flooring and lighting, fixtures, faucets and appliances. In many cases, you can add or enlarge a window, install or eliminate a door or modernize a pantry without too much trouble. You will gain a modern kitchen that functions well for your family’s needs and that pleases you aesthetically.
- Minor Adjustments to Improve Space Utilization: The most common kitchen complaint is that the space is not “family friendly.” Often that means that there is no room for a second cook, but it can also mean that the space is large but inefficient, or that it would be nice to have a place for snacking, homework or the dog dishes. Modern kitchens benefit from islands and peninsulas, making the space usable in ways other than simply for cooking and serving. The best kitchens also have traffic patterns that keep non-cooks out of the kitchen core. You don’t want the working part of the kitchen to become a pathway between rooms.
- Major Redo:Some older kitchens have few cabinets and little counter space, minimal food prep and cleanup space, inadequate lighting, and awkward traffic lanes. They can be either too large or too small and often feel isolated from family activity with full walls and/or doors that keep the space separate. Some older kitchens have windows that are too small, awkward cooking center, outdated appliances and less than appealing flooring, tile and wall colors. If yours is an ugly duckling, don’t hesitate to take the steps to make it a swan. In some cases, this may involve gaining space by expanding into another room, tearing out walls to open the space to adjacent living areas, or even adding new exterior space.