Classic Kitchen: A Traditional Kitchen Remodel Series | It’s Time

A kitchen makeover without paint - making the best of an 80's or 90's kitchen

At least I think. I’m finally going to do it, I hope. Since we purchased our home over two years ago, I’ve dreamed of renovating our kitchen. We’ve talked about a light remodel, similar to what we did at our previous home, with new countertops, backsplash, etc. Eventually we decided we’d be far happier by investing in a kitchen that works for us, but I’ve been putting it off because I dread making decisions and having our home torn apart again. Can you relate?

I’m going to take you along my journey as we plan and renovate. Are you ready?

As it is now, we’re only using half of our kitchen, but it feels crowded. Baking and cooking with the girls is challenging because they pull 3 chairs from the breakfast room to our tiny island with narrow walkway as I try to assist. 

I created a rough sketch of our current kitchen for you to see…


See all of that dead space to the right? The previous owners used it as an eat in kitchen, but I found it to be a little too cramped, so we converted the sunroom into a breakfast room and now we have plenty of space to build into.

We have a traditional style home with lots of doorways and one tiny window in the kitchen. I don’t want to impede on any walkways, but have some goals to make the effort and expense worth it:

large kitchen island where the kids can sit to cook/bake with me

wine cooler

recycling bin

large window

more efficient pantry

storage for the girls’ art supplies

deeper drawers

better lighting

a vent that actually vents 

hidden microwave since I primarily use it to melt butter


One option is to turn the island and position it in the large opening, but then it would prohibit a flow of traffic from the living room to breakfast room, dining room {which is near the stairs} to the mudroom, etc. I also don’t think it would be aesthetically pleasing as it’s in direct line of site from the living room to breakfast room and vice versa. I want to feel connected with my family. Speaking of connected, if we relocate it there, it would be disconnected from the stove and sink area, losing workspace value.

follow our kitchen design progress from planning to perfect

So, I’m considering moving the pantry and refrigerator to the walls adjoining the mudroom. I know, I know, the work triangle. But as it stands now, I have to walk around the island to get to and from it, I think walking directly to the right would be just as easy, not to mention that I usually pull ingredients before I start cooking. I’d love to know, what do you think? Do you think the triangle is still important?

I have so many things on my mind and I’d love your help! You can follow along with my series of decisions here. I’ll be back next week with my design inspiration!

entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner


  • Barbara says:

    Check out “Young House Love” for their kitchen remodel. Don’t rush and you will come up with the best design that suits your family.

  • Lisa says:

    The proximity of the fridge is important to me just because sometimes I forget an ingredient while something is on the stove and run over to get it. If you’re a more organized cook, which you sound like you are, then this might work. 🙂 I love having the pantry across the room though. What would you be in the space where the refrigerator was before? Would you just be using it as open space?

    • Julie says:

      Well, I’d use the term organized loosely! It would just be a walkway from the dining room to mudroom since the island would consume considerably more space with barstools. Thanks so much for weighing in! There are so many things to consider with a new kitchen.

  • Jen says:

    I agree with the previous comment.. Don’t rush! In my opinion there still seems to be a lot of dead space. I personally, wouldn’t place the fridge that far away. Maybe a u -shaped layout where you can have stools and working space on a peninsula? No island in the way of the working triangle and your girls/guests won’t be sitting on the inside of your workplace. Just a thought.. In the end do what works best for you.

    • Julie says:

      I know, right? The only way to eliminate the dead space interferes with walkways. I have a designer coming Wednesday, hopefully she’ll have a few ideas. I like the u-shape idea! Thank you SO much for weighing in!

  • Nancy says:

    Check out… posts from Jan & Feb 2016. Lots of discussion of her kitchen remodel layout…due to placement of frig on other side of island from stove. Lots of good design ideas in the comments, also.

    • Julie says:

      Oh yes, thank you! That’s a great idea. Emily is a dear friend of mine so I definitely need to reach out to her! I completely forgot that she struggled with the same issue. Thanks for chiming in!

  • Leslie says:

    Ugh, it is terrible having the house in disarray during a renovation, isn’t it? I don’t know what to tell you about the layout, it looks like it’s going to be a difficult decision no matter what. The most important thing is that you love being in the space when it’s done, right?

  • I’m ridiculously excited for this series!

  • Cora Layton says:

    I love the idea the fridge/freezer on the far wall with a pantry. It looks like if you opened up the doorway into the dining room by removing the few feet or wall at the opening you would have the room for the the larger island.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.