The season of mosquitos is upon us. My niece just returned from a camping trip, covered from head to toe in bug bites. As you can imagine, telling a four year old to stop scratching is next to impossible.

Long warm weather weekends brings another kind of itch – suddenly what could wait all winter is urgent. The idea of ignoring the itch is next to impossible.

It’s time to renovate.  At the very least its time to plan the renovation.

For many people the itch starts in the kitchen. That is where they feel it.  If you live in a mid-century bungalow with its original layout, your kitchen is a separate room – very cut off from the living spaces.

Like a bad bug bite, layout problems can be painful. Your caught in a closed off kitchen while everyone is around the corner and out of sight.  We have found that the most successful open-concept layouts put the kitchen as the hub of their living space.  In most houses, kitchens are the working heart of the home, and a lot of time is spent there.  Creating a link to the dining and living areas transforms the kitchen experience.

Tear Down Walls

The most obvious way to do this is to start tearing down walls. Clearly, that is not always possible as some walls are bearing walls.  They are needed as they carry the second floor or the roof load.  Another issues is ceiling finishes.  A lot of homes built in the 1940’s – 1960’s have plaster ceiling cove in the living and dining room. Taking out a wall breaks that cove and often leaves you with ceilings that are different heights.  Another issue is wall space – loosing walls in kitchens usually means losing cabinets that were placed against those walls.

If you are in the position to put in beams to replace bearing walls, tear out and refinish ceilings, and reconfigure your entire kitchen then that first impulse makes sense. It is a great opportunity to transform your living space so that it fits your lifestyle and your family much better.

If you can’t tear down the wall, then what?

If you can’t scratch the itch with a complete renovation, does that mean you are stuck with the closed off kitchen?   Not at all. You still have some options.

  1. We have found that in small homes, opening up a doorway into a double wide arch can dramatically change the feel of a cramped kitchen.  It might even give you a view of the large screen TV on the other side of the house.
  2. Opening up a “pass-through” is another option.   This gives you a connection with the dining room that is visual so you can be part of what is going on.  It also saves steps – food and dishes go directly from kitchen counter through the pass through to the table.
  3. Add a bar to the other side of the pass through. Now you’ve brought everyone close, without having them in your way in the kitchen.  Serve kids their breakfast, and serve friends their beer.

New Life for Mid-Century Homes

We are excited about the future of small bungalows and mid-century homes in Niagara.   These are often solid, well built homes.  With careful planning and creativity, homes that raised families two generations ago are finding new life again – and they are affordable.

Next week we’ll dig deeper into what happens once you are past the logistics of bearing walls, coves and ceiling heights. The layout challenge become one of traffic flow, work zones, and design issues.  What happens when three separate spaces have to look and feel right when they are all visible at once?  How does everything work well and look good at the same time? Open-concept is more than open space. It is space with purpose, space that makes sense, space that works hard and looks great.  Perhaps most importantly, its about bringing your personal touch and style to the whole project. Leave us your email address and you’ll get the update right in your inbox.

If you think about your urge to renovate as an itch, the solution can be as simple as a dab of After-bite or as a complex as grandma’s home remedy. At TLC, we tailor our solutions to meet your unique needs, allowing you to choose the best fit for your priorities, budget and wants. [button colour=”accent” type=”standard” size=”medium” link=”” target=”_self”]Give us a call today and ignore the itch no longer.[/button]