A $10,000 Kitchen Design Mistake – Part I & 2


Hi Guys,


First of all, it’s Amazon Prime Day, today, July 11th and 12th! Get Huge price cuts off of your favorite Amazon purchases!


If you are just tuning in, this is a continuation of the post about Vicki’s kitchen and the issue of moving her cooktop.

No worries. She’s leaving it where it is.

As for any major change in the cabinetry. Well, this was the most interesting exercise.

I am grateful I can use Pickmonkey to make the graphics. Guys, this is such an invaluable tool for designing. Even a simple mood board is helpful.


If you’ve already read the post, please skim down to the new content you’ll see this bright green asterisk.


After Sunday’s post about the best white paint colors, I received a kind email from a lovely reader. However, I was a tad horrified to read about a potential and costly kitchen design mistake.


Dear Laurel,

Your post about the best white paint colors mentioned a few of my favorite whites (cloud white and simply white).

And I was waiting for you to mention one of my new favorites – Swiss Coffee  – which I think Studio McGee ( https://www.facebook.com/StudioMcGee ) uses.

But I also read that Studio McGee may mix Swiss Coffee 50/50 with a whiter white.


(Yes, I’ve read they lighten it, too.)


Here’s my problem…


We plan to add a base cabinet to our kitchen and change our Formica countertops for a stone that will coordinate with the new white cabinet, stainless appliances, and cherry cabinets.

Since our cabinets are a custom stain from 20 years ago and have darkened over time, I think a white painted finish to blend in with the walls would be nice instead of trying to match the color.  BUT, WHICH WHITE?



Benjamin Moore swiss-coffee best white paint colors


I was thinking of Swiss Coffee. That is until I read your post that it can read green. Plus, it’s great with dark woods but not woods with a red tone).


kitchen island family:living room

I’ve attached photos of our kitchen cabinets.  You can see more detailed photos of the cabinets here:

Can you please recommend a white that may work well?

Thank you so much

Vicki B.
Entri Ways

Yes, Vicki is a blogger! Please check out her website, here! (and follow her if you aren’t already)




Hi Everyone,

I am trying something new. This post will be a two-parter, with the second part going out 24-36 hours later as a follow-up. That way, I can address comments or incorporate your feedback. Plus, I think it’ll make life a little easier. Well, that’s the hope. I’m planning on doing this with most posts. This way, they’ll be a little shorter and hopefully better and more interesting all the way around.


Here’s my first response:


Oh, Vicki,

What base cabinet are you referring to painting white? I think that would be a kitchen design mistake with what you have because everything else is cherry.



The yellow-orange floor color is your biggest problem, IMO. It clashes with everything else, and this palette has a lot of heat juxtaposed against a pretty cool white wall. The balance is off. However, that’s a relatively easy fix.


Vicki reported back with her reasoning.


Hi Laurel

I’ve seen you answering readers’ questions in your blog posts, so I thought I would write and see if you wanted to use my dilemma for content.  I can take it and know that I will likely not be able to perform all of the renovations you suggest. I’m just trying not to make a horrific kitchen design mistake!

The immediate issue is that we need to move our stovetop to a new wall.


I’m listening…

The stovetop is broken and has a downdraft (which is horrible), so we plan to have a new base cabinet made and put it on the (outside) wall where the (temporary) dark blue/black dresser/sideboard is currently located.


Come again? I’m sorry. Would you mind repeating that last part?


The stovetop is broken and has a downdraft (which is horrible), so we plan to have a new base cabinet made and put it on the (outside) wall where the (temporary) dark blue/black dresser/sideboard is currently located.


That’s what I thought you said. Please continue.


kitchen_Island eating area

I was considering a painted base cabinet and also painting the woodwork white in that alcove like the rest of the house.


Okay, I see the cabinet and the roosters. Where is the alcove? And, isn’t it already white?


The door you see next to the refrigerator is a large walk-in pantry. I’ve considered painting that door or replacing it with one more interesting.


Vicki kitchen - entr


Sanded back and stained or natural floors would be wonderful, but way more of a project than we want to take on right now.  So I need to find a solution that goes with the few things that will not change:  the dark cabinets, the red oak floors, and the stainless appliances.


It is possible to darken hardwood floors without sanding down to the bare wood. These don’t need to be darkened a lot, just toned down the yellow some.



Hi Vicki,

Okay, these photos make your room look much better. However, this one’s beyond me.


But, but, but… do you have a professional helping you? Please say yes.


You don’t have to vent to the outside. There are recirculating hoods you can get. That’s what I’m doing. Venting outside is not an option for me.

It is possible to darken hardwood floors without sanding down to the bare wood. These don’t need to be darkened a lot; just tone down the yellow-orange some, and I feel it will all be more harmonious.


I feel strongly that the cooktop where you plan to put it is a bad idea.


It seems like the dining area, not the kitchen.

I’m not crazy about the fridge in that location, but that one might have to stay put.
At least from what I can see, which is limited. There should be some breathing space between the fridge and the pantry door.

Is it possible to move the door 6″ over? (Probably not, but just wishful thinking)

What’s in the big cabinet by the island? Could the fridge go there instead with a panel?

In addition, even if you put the cooktop in that location, painting the cabinet white doesn’t make sense. If you’re going to paint it, I’d make it dark blue and then paint the island the same color. But, again… I can’t see enough to determine if that’s the right thing to do, either.


However, all of these are great topics.


I would try to keep the new cooktop in its present location. That piece under the roosters looks nice over there.

Then, I would put my money into new counters, sink, faucet, and hunkier, more coordinated lighting. Those are the things that will help pull it together.

Anyway, I’m sorry. I can’t do more to help you.


But Vicki was not satisfied because she felt she hadn’t convinced me that her idea was not a colossal kitchen design mistake.


(She’s right.)


Hi Laurel

I don’t mean to bog you down with multiple emails. But if you’re writing a post about it, I figured you could use more info…

I know this is a tough one without completely moving all the cabinets and islands around and building new ones.  But there’s other updating we want to do first (rugs, couch, painting, walkways, crown molding)

We contacted 2 professionals and neither liked the idea of moving the stovetop to the other wall (not a perfect triangle!).


Okay, make that three professionals who think moving the stovetop is a kitchen design mistake.


And the other told me to come up with base cabinet and hood design ideas (but that’s why I called them!). Ugh


kitchen cooktop, sink, dining room

The stovetop we want to move is on the wall behind the sink.  In addition to moving it for better exhaust, we may get a larger 36″ cooktop.  Another photo is attached. (See above)

We’ve gone thru all of the options:

1.  A re-circulating fan.  But decided it would stick out from the cabinet too much and not look aesthetically pleasing from the living room (open floor plan).


I think you’ll barely notice it from the living room. It only comes a few inches past the upper cabinets.


2. Placing the stovetop on the island.  Adding any type of exhaust is too difficult


I concur with that one!


3.  Adding a new base cabinet would give us more counter space along a wall (which is lacking) for things like a toaster, mixer, coffee.


Why don’t you make a lovely coffee station on the handsome sideboard?


kitchen_Island eating area

So the new cabinet will go in the 12×12 alcove where the dark blue/ rooster pictures are (left of pantry door)

We plan to get new countertops and sink.

Yes, the lighting definitely needs updating.  That large round fixture was a $25 clearance item when we built the house 20 yrs ago. It was supposed to be temporary 🙂

This is incredibly common. You’ve been busy!


new kitchen faucet

We already installed a new Brizio faucet (updated photo attached)


So, let’s look at Vicki’s kitchen in plan view. I don’t have the precise measurements. But, this is close enough for our purposes.


Vicki Current Kitchen Floorplan


As you can see from the images and photos, this is an open-plan kitchen with two areas for dining and two islands with stools.

During our sharing, I discovered that Vicki has three children in their early to mid-20s. Yes, she and her husband are finally empty nesters.



Okay, let’s look at Vicki’s proposed kitchen plan.


Vicki Kitchen - Vicki's Proposed Solution for Cooktop & Venting

Vicki, my lovely. The only good reason for putting the cooktop in this location is to vent it outside. However, you don’t have to vent it outside; the placement will make you crazy. It’s on top of the eating area and a football field away from the sink. I feel this is a kitchen mistake you will kick yourself later.


In addition, now that the kids have flown the nest, you feel the need for a larger cooktop?


Okay, please stay tuned for the continuation of this post.

Of course, everyone, feel free to chime in with your ideas. I’ve already worked it out and have other ideas, and I can’t wait to show you what I did. Maybe some of you will guess. But, I’m not sure if you’ll guess all of it.


* Okay, I’m back to fix this potential kitchen design mistake!


Let’s begin with my first idea.

That is to put up a little wall next to the cooktop cabinet.

Vicki's dining, family room and kitchen

This floor plan shows how it all fits in with the rest of the space. Please note. I am only guessing the measurements. I could be a foot or two off. However, this is the general layout. Those dotted lines represent beams. One exists, but the other two do not. I don’t know if this will work, but I find in open plans, when there’s a football field of uninterrupted ceiling, the space feels a little hollow.


So, beams do help,, and little walls help even more, while still keeping the space, open.


Okay, I do have a rendering of the view from the dining room and how the wall will look, but I can’t show it to you yet.

Let’s begin by looking in the opposite direction towards the living room. This board is the one I worked on the longest.

Vicki's kitchen after updates soapstone counters-1 2

Let’s start in the back. I added a simple plaster mantel which would go over the what I feel is too much black marble for the fireplace surround. It’s all a little high, too. This ceiling is 104″ and I’d prefer to see another 10″ or so of wall above the fireplace.

As you can see, there are no structural changes.  Yes, I did painstakingly add in the subtle veining to the soapstone. That’s some kind of crazy, but I think it looks nice. I could’ve changed the sink, but it’s not important right now.




*********If you wish to make your floors a deeper color than they are, the top layer of poly can be screened, and then there are products that contain stain and poly in one.  (You can read all about hardwood floors here.)

For other posts about hardwood floors and finishes, you can find these posts by going here.

I put up some simple drum shade pendant lights which I think look great. Vicki can keep her iron fixture in the dining room.


The counters are all soapstone. The rest is styling.


Oh, incidentally, lol. Vicki IS keeping the range right where it is.

Should she keep the upper cabinets? Frankly, if it were my kitchen, I’d either get rid of them, or if they are for dishes and glasses, then glass doors.


Laurel, what about the cherry finish? Don’t you think it’s too much wood? Isn’t that another kitchen design mistake?


Hold on please. I can only type so fast. I’m getting to it.

In truth, I should’ve done the opposite view first. However, I was so excited about my beams. I love the way it looks!

So, last night I finally got started on the other view.

The cherry wood is lovely, but there is too much of it. And yes, the layout makes this an extra challenge.


So, let’s go through the process and no fair scrolling ahead. ;];];]

These first ones are very rough. But, there’s enough for me to tell if they are working or not.


Vicki says her refrigerator is at least 36″. I’m presuming they have another fridge, maybe in the basement? By the way, Vicki is a fell0w Masshole, we call ourselves when we’re being cheeky. (No pun intended. haha)

Your’e right. There is way too much wood, and not enough lighting that’s warm and lovely.

I created coordinating mirrored and black cabinets for the fridge and pantry.

kitchen-pantry-antiqued-mirrored-doors Marika Meyer

I’m not that clever. Here they are! Beautiful work by interior designer, Marika Meyer. Gorgeous portfolio and website too!

Why the red cabinet? With all of the rusty brown wood on one side, and virtually no color on the other, it feels a little disjointed. I like the red and think it helps, but I do believe I can do better.


No. It’s just too heavy. But, yes, you can paint only this part of the room.

Vicky entry looking into the teal office
This image is on Vicki’s website. It is the front entry which is on the other side of the dining table. But, yonder looks like an office with deep teal walls. This all looks terrific. And the floor looks completely different! Her home is already very lovely!


Let’s keep going.


It was at this point that I knew the black was wrong and I needed to see some painted white cabinetry.

white-kitchen-cherry-stained-island-pure-white-subway-tile-backsplash Roughan interior design

Above is a beautiful inspiration image from Roughan Interiors.

Well, I gave it the “ol college try.” I feel quite strongly that this is definitely the right direction. However, I do think it could be even better; there are a few more to see, so you can see my process.

I think we need hunkier lighting. So, I grabbed my favorite Lantern from Ballard Designs. I also tried a lighter counter.

Okay, I don’t think the dark blue (Gentleman’s Gray is working here.) It’s not bad, but I think maybe we need to go back to the white walls now.

This is starting to look very elegant, but not too formal. Ack, I’m not crazy about the buffet at this point.


I substituted a more classic Louis XVI style painted sideboard. Much better. We’re almost there! And, yes, I know a part of the faucet is missing.


Okay, I have two final iterations, and I love them both.


Vicki's kitchen cherry mix with white cabinetry soapstone island hydrangeas
Yes, I painted the door a soft black. Please notice how much better it looks not shoved into the fridge.

There are french doors in the dining area and I’d paint those black, too.


I agree about the seating areas that many of you pointed out.


So, I did make the sink island without stools. I do like the idea of storage in place of the overhang. I would love to 86 those back upper cabinets, next to the ovens, if possible. I’d love to get rid of the cooktop cabinets too. But, if she can do some beautiful glass doors, that would be fantastic.


Vicki's kitchen cherry mix with white cabinetry soapstone island
I also love this version with the Melchior D’Hondecoetter repro.


So, could she do a lighter marble for the island, and soapstone for the white cabinets. Yes!


What about the island we only see a sliver of? I think you could go either way. I would probably paint it white, but the cherry looks lovely, too.

This is reminding me of the beautiful kitchen remodel with the painted white cabinets.


Now, for the new wall. Let’s bring down the first image looking into the living room.


Vicki's kitchen after updates soapstone counters-1 2
And for the opposite view.

Sorry, I’ll have that for you on Wednesday and you can come back and look at it.

Thank you so much for all of your amazing responses!



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76 Responses

  1. As the person who made the budget suggestions, I have to say Laurel’s ideas will definitely make the kitchen and surrounding areas much more beautiful!
    The sideboard wall feels a bit awkward to me. On the one hand, you want the sideboard centred on the space between the two doors, but that makes it straddle the line of the beam that marks the limit of the breakfast room. So the sideboard has to either look asymmetrical or look like it’s sticking out of the room.

  2. Brilliant Laurel!
    One question, is the fridge behind one of the mirrored cabinets? It seems to have disappeared!😀

  3. I love how Laurel has built such a loving community that cares about home design. I have learned so much from this site. I responded earlier about the stove top, but I forgot to say, GE has many electric glass top options and my pull out upper cabinet vent system was Kitchen Aid. Just wanted to include that incase that is helpful. I have a 23 year old home that we also built. I have been changing out the look & old “stuff” of our house for the last 6 years. We had a large party last month & many people could not believe how updated & fresh our house looked. Thanks Laurel!

  4. great job re-imagining a difficult space, Laurel…
    can you mention which source you used for the rug in the photo with the chinoiserie bowls?
    always a well thought out process and learning experience with you… thanks!

  5. Cabinets are similar to children’s building blocks. They can be moved around (carefully!) to create any scenario of combinations providing the measurements work. These are my thoughts on the kitchen update bearing in mind that kitchen cabinets are expensive, they have a custom color and I like to repurpose where possible:

    -Move the storage cabinet, which is originally positioned to the left of the stove top, over to the right side of the ovens to create a floor to ceiling working wall. You will displace the wall and base cabinets currently in that location.

    -Get rid of the coat closet in order to extend the countertop on the left side of the stove top to terminate where the storage unit originally terminated. Grab the displaced base cabinet(s) from the working wall and attach it/them to the left side of the base cabinet beneath the stove top.

    -Remove all wall cabinets from above the stove top to create whatever awesome bright/light design statement you desire above your new stove top.

    -Use some of the wall cabinets displaced from above the stove top and from the working wall to create a stacked but shallow storage-china hutch which would be mounted in the alcove where the black dresser is currently located. This would create some cabinet height in that room. Replace some of the doors with glass.

    -Move the island which currently separates the kitchen from the living room over to the alcove where the blue buffet currently sits. Dress it up with a coordinating countertop. You have this beautiful well lighted alcove so why sit in a darkened area where that island is originally located.

    -Remove the overhang from the sink island but extend the countertop towards the living room. Less if you don’t want seating in that area, more it you want a couple chairs sitting at a 90-degree angle in that area. Add awesome lighting and light-colored countertop.

    -Remove the TV from the living room and formulate a conversational area. Or put the long dining table in that area and locate your conversational area next to the fireplace. If a TV is wanted somewhere in the area, locate it conspicuously in the alcove so it’s viewable for the cook as well as the breakfast patrons who want to catch up on the news.

    -Paint walls in the alcove that beautiful blue shown in one of the mood boards. I despise white walls completely. The idea of black mirrored doors on some of the cabinetry is a really nice design statement. I wouldn’t paint any of the cabinets. I wouldn’t refinish the floor but place some beautiful rugs.

    Best of luck!

  6. Laurel
    OMGosh! I never expected you to spend so much time & energy. It all started with me asking about the right white paint. Which lead to the cooktop… It’s true how updates can snowball with one thing leading to another.

    That first image you did (facing the living room) is beautiful. The wall and beam add so much interest. ❤️
    Glass/mirrored cabinet doors to bring light in – brilliant!
    I love soapstone countertops but I hadn’t considered these with the dark cabinets. They look so nice in your photos.

    Had to read thru 4 times and I keep seeing new things in your drawings.
    Loving the fireplace. ❤️ I gave our contractor specific height instructions for our mantel and he installed it too high which resulted in too much dark tile. He was a relative so let it slide but it’s always bothered me. Love your solution

    Loving the accessories you chose too.
    The photo over the cabinet in the living room ❤️
    The drum pendants ❤️
    The window pane mirror ❤️
    The long window panels and white panels in the living room ❤️
    The new chairs❤️
    The large art over the buffet in the breakfast area ❤️

    Thank you so much for your brilliant ideas.
    And Thank you to each one of your readers who commented and offered suggestions. You are all amazing!!!
    I have so many ideas to move forward with – and NO, I will NOT be moving my cooktop to the breakfast area and making a $10K mistake. I’m now researching re-circulating vents.
    Thank you all

    Thinking Creatively!
    Entri Ways

  7. Great options Laurel! I love it. I wonder if painting the cabinets a light gray color like Edgecomb Gray would look nice or maybe the walls. That color looks lovely with soapstone. I’m not an all white kinda gal so take my opinions with that in mind. You would have to take the yellow out of the floors though.

  8. I have 2 suggestions for venting and for the cabinet color/style. Cooktop dilemma: Vicki could switch the sink with the cooktop or move the cooktop to the island…in either case she could put in a Best Brand ceiling vent. We have one installed (and just had another one re-installed yesterday after suffering a fire from 2021 and reconstruction is still in process). We LOVE this thing. It’s powerful and is flush with the ceiling. Best brand is a division of Wolf. The other option for the cabinets (we reused our cabinets since they were practically new and not burnt but did have to order some new drawers and doors) is to order drawers and doors from Harris Door & Drawer (Buford GA) or somewhere similar. We have 3 cabinets that sit on granite with X design and antiqued glass which adds so much architecture to the kitchen. (You can have a professional paint everything-in North Georgia there is a terrific custom cabinet painter if anyone needs someone Jerilyn Harder Creations 323 (Facebook). We had her paint our knotty pine judges paneled room that also had the same knotty pine bookcases in the room (big job) and it turned out beautiful …we have lacquered kitchen cabinets or I would have used her for those as well). Back to the door/drawers: for instance to replace one of our drawers in solid maple dovetail from Harris Door & Drawer was a whopping $44 and for 4 of our 37″ tall X design doors the total was $1100. These cabinet contractors are making SO much money because most of the time they make the boxes but order the drawers & doors from somewhere like Harris. Of course the contractor charged $90,000 to reuse and reinstall our cabinetry with only ordering a total of 5 doors/drawers but he did re-lacquer. 90K…. not bad for spending under 2K for materials but of course this doesn’t account for labor to reinstall….STILL! Anyway, the Best brand ceiling vent is one of the coolest features in our kitchen and almost everyone comments on it when they see it. Our kitchen has a 9ft ceiling & the vent really works great (rest of house is 10ft…not sure why they built it this way). It has a 1200 cfm power house blower and is pretty quiet on most speeds except the last most powerful speed & it’s still not awful. Hopefully this info helps someone.

  9. “Goat” Closet?
    Do I need new glasses? 🙂

    Your suggestions for kitchen are wonderful and so thoughtful…best idea is the mirrored cabinets!

  10. It will be interesting to see what Vicki decides to do. I bet she didn’t realize she would have to make over her entire kitchen due to her inquiry about moving the cooktop. Wow…although your suggestions are nice improvements, I see dollar bills adding up big time. Ultimately it’s her decision but I would not do soapstone or marble countertops as they are high maintenance. Do a nice look alike quartize counter instead. I do hope she will let us know her final decision and send pics later.

  11. I love seeing those virtual updates!
    If the island countertops are being changed anyway, then I’d also swap out the 2-bowl stainless sink for a large single bowl white farmhouse sink. (The number of bowls on a kitchen sink are like cilantro – everyone is adamant about their preference.) 🤣 But imo the white farmhouse sink (if the sink cab can be retrofitted to accommodate one) would look smashing.

  12. That additional side wall is a brilliant thought. Love the design iterations; it’s instructive to see your thought process drawn large. I had to chuckle at the “goat” closet on your plans- my mother, not a native English speaker, used to call our hall closet the “Leaning” closet. It made sense to me, because, you know, you’d “lean” things in there. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I learned it was called the “Linen” closet. Thanks for the sweet memory!

  13. Well, it sounds like if Vicki decided to move the cooktop…it would be a new episode of a reality TV show (or something sensational 😀 )

    My husband & I got a little cross-eyed looking at all the mood boards, and I guess I spaced out on the layout ideas, but love the lighter – colored cabinets.

    My only question (which I don’t think I saw anyone ask yet) is that the rest of the house looks like the flooring is working with the wall color. Would re-doing the floors mean repainting the whole house?

    Looking forward to the next post!

    PS: We have a darling billy goat named Curious George, who eats all our amazing kudzu, wisteria and poison ivy vines…but I would NEVER let him in my house. No sirreeee! He has shown me his very manly manners….and it’s true. Goats CAN…umm…perfume their own beards. ‘Nough said!

  14. OMG – I am loving the removal of upper cabinets – I always like that in most kitchens – gives such nice head room in addition to lightening up the space. And I love mirrored X doors in white and potentially a White Island top and black door. So much balance being brought into the space with your design Laurel!

  15. Thank you Laurel AND Vicki, and all who helped dissuade Vicki from her intended re-design. I’ll sleep better tonight.👍🏻😂. Can’t wait to see the finished product. It’s been so much fun reading all the comments and great ideas! Thank you, Laurel, love reading your posts.

  16. Vicki, as another empty nester whose grown kids often come over (plus sons-in-law and grandkids), I appreciate the need for a larger cooktop and double ovens and extra island for serving. I also totally understand the floor colour not being your highest priority. I see what others are saying about it not coordinating with the cabinets, but it would not bother me enough to spend thousands of dollars. But having the cooktop way over in the breakfast alcove *would* bother me!
    I have two suggestions, with an eye towards saving money and trouble.
    (1) Find a bigger cooktop with an effective downdraft, including looking at the expensive ones like Fisher-Paykel. Install it where the current cooktop is, by cutting a larger hole in the countertop (whether existing or new). Have a carpenter or cabinetmaker rebuild the boxes of the drawers on either side of the cooktop, making them narrower to allow for the larger cooktop but keeping the same drawer fronts to preserve the match with the cabinet doors below.
    The cooktop itself may be expensive, and adapting the drawers will cost something, but the installation will be very straightforward and you will not have to pay for a whole custom cabinet, vent hood, new electrical line, new hole in the wall, moving anything, etc.
    (2) Install a new cooktop in the current location and a ductless fan. I would make a cardboard model to test whether a standard size one would really be annoyingly visible from other rooms. If it is, look for a shallow fan. I have seen some that are only 11″ deep, so they don’t protrude past the cabinet fronts.
    Good luck!

  17. If you really need to move something to the area of the blue buffet, then Charmaine’s suggestion of putting the wall ovens there is much better than the stovetop. You stick something into the oven and usually leave it for a bit so if they’re out of the way it’s not such a big deal. We’re starting to think through a kitchen reno as well, so this post is so interesting.

  18. Hi everyone, I’m curious what suggestions Laurel or anyone else might have for the floor colors here, if Vicki was able to sand down and start over. I also have red oak (and maple) floors, which are currently finished with poly only, and they also look way too orangey / pinkish (and too pale). We don’t have a lot of natural light on our bottom floor and I’m worried about going too dark but struggling to find a lighter / medium stain that counters the organgey-ness enough. Laurel, if you read this, would love to hear what suggestion you would make re: Vicki’s floors if she was able to sand down. Love your blog!!

  19. Just another thought about my own suggestion, having had another look at Vicki’s remarks. If you remove the upper cabinets, that gives you some unwanted cherry cabinets to play around with to test a new finish. I’m wondering about a finish to lighten the cherry (as you say, these wood finishes do darken over time), I know that here in France I can get a product which goes straight on to the doors, no sanding (a good clean first of course), and can be diluted with water to give you the effect you want, to show the wood grain more or less and to correct the colour a bit. This would be a lot of work because of the vast amount of cherry wood, and you’d need to do the whole lot.
    One thing I don’t understand about the current hob is that it seems to be divided into 2 in the middle with a black thing. Is that the downdraught mechanism? It certainly limits the space on the hob. Without that, perhaps a 36-inch hob isn’t necessary? Psst, I’ve just measured my own induction hob and it’s 61 cm wide (so just over 24 inches) and I find it perfectly big enough provided I’m well organized for the occasions when there are more than the two of us. So 30 inches seems huge to me, and I’m a very enthusiastic cook! By the way, Vicki, I’m with you on the double wall oven and I certainly wouldn’t get rid of yours. They’re great, the only problem is the doors which are hinged at the bottom, which makes reaching into them a pain. I feel hideously smug on this one: mine are hinged at the side, a much better idea.

  20. Advice to Vicki: Consider resale (and you should, even if you don’t plan to sell… because life is full of surprises). YOU may be the one person who loves your stove moved to the alcove; but as you can tell, no one else will like it! This will bring down the value of your home (buyers will factor in a kitchen remodel) and make your home harder to sell. – As for design, you love the new double-ovens but can they be moved to the alcove to make way for a stove next to the fridge? I believe ovens in handsome cabinetry in the alcove would be more bearable than the stove, both functionally and visually. Do a handsome, sculptural vent hood over the cooktop. I have one of those, and it’s not on an outside wall: the contractor instead ran venting to the outside via ducting hidden in the ceiling. Works great, looks great!

  21. I agree with others that:
    1st, declutter ruthlessly to keep only what is needed in the area. You will have more space for what is important now, proceed only after this first step is done.
    2nd, do not move the cooktop to the breakfast nook area, accidents are waiting to happen, and it simply is a bad decision. Putting a coffee bar in that area is perfect.
    3rd, there are too many islands/barstools for the kitchen area, the one near the dining/living room looks like an afterthought, with consideration, you can make room for large parties with other counterspace. I would remove the barstools entirely.
    4th. I question the new faucet when you will be replacing the sink and countertop later,
    Will you reuse that faucet? And definitely get either a single well sink or a double well sink large enough to soak a dirty 9×13 baking dish completely submerged.
    This is my opinion only, and what I have found to truly work in my house.

  22. Vicki, your home is beautiful! You have so many nice touches. I concur with everyone that moving the stovetop to the breakfast area would be bad for resale, functionality, and aesthetics. The blue cabinet looks great (white would look washed out) and Laurel is right, it would be a perfect coffee bar and get your coffee maker off the countertop. You love your two islands and your new double oven and plan to spend your decorating budget on other projects right now (I get it!), so many of the otherwise good ideas that people have suggested won’t work for you.
    Priority #1: venting. Have you spoken with contractors about venting through the attic or basement? Have you been to a high end kitchen place? The one near me gives cooking demos and offers appointments where you cook on the units you’re considering in their display kitchens. Try out a downdraft venting induction unit; the new ones are far better than those of even ten years ago. Check out the thin, sexy retractable range hoods as well as the large statement pieces. I’d sauté a dish with lots of onions and garlic, maybe even fish to test them. Lol! They would know all the specs on BTUs, all flow, etc. Any of these options would be far superior to moving the cooktop to the B.A. If none of those works well enough, could you fit it on the counter next to your new double ovens? That appears to be a continuation of the exterior wall behind the blue cabinet. However, you’d have more counter space and it would look better on the current wall, where you could even center it. For either of those two walls, you’d probably need to remove/reconfigure upper cabinets, or the tall unit and coat closet, but it would open up the space and still be better than the B.A.
    Priority #2: Refreshing the space. I love that you are getting a new sink and countertops. I agree with Laurel that the floor and the dark cabinets clash and the color of one or both should be changed before you invest in countertops; those three big areas need to coordinate. I like the ideas of stripping the stain and letting the true cherry wood show or painting the cabinets. Perhaps more/larger carpets, like washable Ruggables, to hide more of the floor and continue more of your pretty blue palette?
    We had our red oak floors lightly sanded (not full sanded), left raw-no stain, just poly-about 3 years ago. They are lighter (less yellow/orange!) & gorgeous-everyone still thinks we got new floors. It was @ $2000 for 500 square feet. I also needed LR furniture, so I bought an “acceptable” couch and two chairs second hand. I finally got the dreamy couch I wanted this year. For me, it was worth it to do it in that order, but you have to do what works for you. I know Laurel will have intriguing ideas that none of us have even thought of. Can’t wait to see part 2 and to hear what you decide to make your kitchen better for you.

  23. Vicki likes the extra island for buffets and her oven is new, so it needs to stay. She wants new countertops, a larger cooktop and a draft that works. A larger cooktop will not fit in the present space. My mom has a JennAir downdraft that works well with both smoke and steam. When I cook fish for her, there is no lingering smell. Also, there is no puddling in the downdraft when I boil water. Perhaps a new downdraft cooktop would be more efficient than her present one? Could the sink and the cooktop switch places??? That would give lots of space for a larger cooktop. Navy or white cabinets would be pretty with the floor color. GL’s idea of removing the uppers with the tall cabinet is really interesting. She could have a long run of counters with some open shelving above for additional storage (although it would affect where she stores her goats). Looking forward to Laurel’s solution. She sure left us hanging!

  24. Wow, I would never move the cooktop to the proposed location. You have NO prep space! You will be traipsing all over the kitchen for meal prep and wear yourself out! Imagine doing holidays. Ugh! If you think you want to try a test drive, get a hot plate and try cooking breakfast over there. See how it goes. BTW you are only talking about a cooktop. You could probably get a better cooktop and perhaps an inch larger and put it in the existing cabinet! Again, you can’t cook without prep space!

  25. yes to stripping the cherry cabinets back and leaving them natural with a clear finish. if the color is pleasing, there is no need to do anything more.

  26. Okay, so when I first read this late last night, I was tired and really confused. Now, after reading it and all the comments, I am somewhat less confused. Aside from the charming goat closet which I noticed last night, why would installing a new cooktop in a three season room work even if it was a good layout? What happens during the 4th season? Isn’t this probably a 4 season room?

    Taking into consideration the comments and more info from Vicki, I suggest leaving the cooktop where it is. Is there no up to date engineering solution for a vent? If the vent cannot go up through the roof, can it go down through the basement as someone already suggested? And I’d look at UPSCALE ventless hoods which can be customized to be a beautiful focal point. I’d take down the cabinets over the range area completely and let the new hood be the star of the show.

    As to the mismatch between the cabinets and the floor and the feeling that painting some of the cabinets white is a mistake, I concur (although I love white painted kitchen cabinets). But I would not change the floors if budget and just the stress of doing floor refinishing is an issue (although I would look into re-staining if it meant minimal dust, etc.).

    Instead, I would look at staining the cabinets blue. I can’t remember the name of the colored stain (not a brand, a type) I am thinking of. In any case, as Vicki seems to like blue, that would not clash with the floor and it seems the home has enough light to handle darker cabinets. Maybe blue on the bottom and whitewashed on the top? The cabinets themselves are lovely. What happens when cherry is bleached? It seems that Vicki is not fond of the dark cherry, but maybe bleaching them would work.

    Definitely get a farmhouse sink. Not only are they great for big pots and pans, they are much easier to reach into if one has a bad back (and as you age, this happens to most).

    Vicki really uses the double islands even if we think they are a mistake, so I would look into redesigning them to minimize the feel of a diner/restaurant with a seat in every direction. Perhaps one island without any seating which would allow for some added shelves.

    I’d take a good hard look at kitchen arrangement before I did a single thing. Is it possible to get a kitchen designer’s look at this without one insisting everything be trashed and rebuilding from scratch. In other words, a space designer who would look at reconfiguring the existing cabinets in the space.

  27. I was all for deleting the double ovens and putting a range over there, until I read Vicki’s response late in the comments that they are new and she loves them LOL. She also loves the extra perpendicular island. So after all that, my take is to keep the stove about where it is and extend that run of base cabinets, sacrificing the coat closet. As commenters have said, there are valid options for venting that she seems to have overlooked thus far. I had a vent that fit neatly into the 12″ uppers – we built out a custom hood cover that only jutted out about 5″, for looks, but it was a grille setup made to retrofit into an existing normal upper cabinet.
    Looking forward to Laurel’s follow up!

  28. I absolutely agree that moving the cooktop to the breakfast area would be a huge mistake. I also think that a lot of the other suggestions would require a LOT of money. With lots of cabinet space already, and the blue buffet, AND a pantry, I would remove the cabinetry on the wall above the cooktop and replace the cooktop with an induction cooktop with downdraft in the same space. (I’d looked for years for one and finally found one I could actually buy here in the US……it’s the Fisher-Paykel 36” induction with a downdraft so strong, you’ll never complain again. And I, too, had the same problem with not having enough room behind the cooktop for a separate downdraft). With the upper cabinets removed, the look would be so much airier and of course, a cool shelf could be installed or some other cool decor. I also wouldn’t have two cabinet colors going on. If painting all the cherry cabinets is not an option, perhaps she could do what my friend did. She had her beautiful, custom cherry cabinets stripped back to their natural (lighter) color and a clear finish applied. Then she added white quartz countertops and the whole kitchen is so much lighter, brighter and more current.

  29. I agree with Stacey at 2:21 a.m. I don’t see how this can be made to work without a major remodel. And because of the plumbing, the sink is stuck where it is. One question (which may be pertinent for everyone): what is the ventilation system for the whole house? Why do you need a specific system for the cooktop? Of course nobody wants lingering cooking smells, but how often does your normal ventilation system change the air in the house?
    If I had to live with this, I’d leave the hob where it is (same as every other commenter) and I’d get rid of ALL the upper cabinets on that wall — and that includes the upper section of the huge cabinet to the left of the cooktop. It would lighten up the place no end, and give the illusion of a more spacious layout. It would also add to the counter space, since the counter could extend right along that wall, albeit with the back of the coat closet making the counter narrower. Several people have suggested getting rid of the closet and making a straight wall across. It would be even better to close off the opening entirely and have a straight run of cabinets right round the corner… But I’m back to serious remodelling here, stop.

  30. Hi Laurel!

    What a fun dilemma Vicki has got. So many great ideas pouring in; here’s mine:

    In my opinion, the current issue — and maybe a reason that Vicki feels her stovetop wall feel ‘not exactly right’ is that it’s just unimaginative, maybe even plain uninspiring, despite the, truly, lovely homey & cozy overall space she’s got to work with.

    I’d remove the double ovens on the right-hand wall and put, in place of that, the storage pantry.

    I’d remove all the cabinetry, storage cabinet and coat closet included, as well as the stovetop on the stovetop wall. Now, Vicki has 108” in which to install a centered, 48” double oven with beautiful & functional recirculating air hood. In this new configuration, the oven and kitchen sink are in symmetry — I know. Phew!!
    Since Vicki is replacing her countertops, I would scrap the rounded counter edge and square it instead, since she has a full 44” between the island and the edge of the sink-island to create, again, symmetry, which just makes us feel good, in my opinion, whereas off center sink, singular curved edge, and uninspiring 36” empty wall above the old stovetop each contribute the sense of a lack of ease.

    The new range-wall still has 60 inches, 30” on either side of the 48” oven/stovetop combo to play with. 30” is the right amount of space on which to place hot things coming out of the glorious new ovens. Instead of upper cabinets, I’d install open decorative shelving units of relatively shallow depth, above the 30” lower cabinets.

    I’d make the wall where the old ovens were, upper & lower cabinets, from the corner of the newly installed full sized pantry to the wall on the other end.

    Personally, I love the separate island, that is perpendicular to the kitchen and can imagine it’s usefulness in so many ways that bring the family/friends together whether in cooking or in entertaining, since the dining table is beyond the island.

    I love the idea of making the blue cabinet top a coffee/tea bar, and I’d include a toaster there, since Vicki has a dedicated breakfast area.

    Love your blog so much, Laurel, and look forward to every post.



  31. I am really enjoying and appreciate all of your comments and suggestions. Please keep them coming! And Laurel has me on the edge of my seat having to wait for her suggestions 🙂

    More info:
    We have an electric glass cooktop (not gas).

    We just purchased the double ovens last year and got rid of our microwave that was above the lower over. I love them and have not regretted removing the microwave at all. Since they are so new, a range (oven/stoptop combo) is not an option.

    The refrig/oven wall is the same length as the wall the stoptop is currently on, so we would not gain any additional space by swapping them.

    The walk-in pantry is 5’x8′ and filled with shelves. I love being able to hide our dry goods food, pots/pans, serving dishes, and linens in there.

    I love having 2 islands. We have family over often and the 2nd island is used as a buffet area.

  32. I agree with the interior designer, move the fridge to the wall across from sink I’d place fridge not centered so you get counter space for prep and unloading groceries. I went to a range to save wall space I rarely use oven. Owner has options for ventilation too. Placing range over where the ovens were again gives you counter prep space.

  33. Another thing to consider on hood/fan venting in an interior wall. If you have an unfinished ceiling in a basement below, you can run the vent duct down and then out a basement wall. The local big box stores have glass block window replacements with the vent part already installed.

  34. Just a quick comment. Our JennAir downdraft cooktop has been in our kitchen for thirty years and still works beautifully for removing smoke and grease in the air. I am eager to replace it with a similar downdrafting cooktop. I would, if I were Vicki, consider looking for a larger, induction range top that could still work with all the downdraft piping under her house. It would save a lot of money.

  35. I agree with everyone, do not move stove into breakfast area. Since you are getting new countertops, getting a new larger electric stovetop is easy. For venting, there are very thin recirculating pullout vents, where the housing fits in the middle top cabinet and you pull out the vent under cabinet when in use. I had one for years and they work. If you are wanting a newer look, remove upper cabinets and put in a fancy vent on that wall. There have been many great ideas in the readers posts.

  36. To add to my post, I just noticed a cabinet below your current stove. If you want a stove top rather than a slide in one, following what I first said, use the present stove base cabinet adding legs to each side to fill the remaining void on the bottom. A good carpenter can make this work.

  37. I can’t wait to see your ideas for her. I keep coming back to that second island. It seems out of place to me. Do they need three seating areas? I’d leave the stove where is is and take your suggestion of turning the blue sideboard area to make it a coffee station. If also paint all the cabinets one color, not just the lowers. Take care and thank you for all your wonderful posts!

  38. Hello,
    While I understand completely wanting a larger stove, please do not move it. It will be very awkward in looks and function.
    Here is what I would do. Take your storage cabinet that backs up to the coat closet and move that to the left side of the breakfast room. It appears to be about the same size as the cabinet that is currently there, then you don’t lose that storage. The closet door on the reverse side can remain, maybe just put hooks inside for coats.
    Then open the inside wall of the closet making enough room in the kitchen to extend the counters into that area. Take the left top cabinet and the left base cabinet and place them on the left end of that wall, taking out the smaller top one over the stove. This will make your stove wall symmetrical. Put your larger ,(slide in) stove/oven in the new bigger void with a space above for a stove vent hood. Now the issue with the void in the base. You should have enough stained wood from the upper cabinet that was removed as well as the stove front pieces to either remake an area on the base to fill that area, or to take to a good paint store to have them match either a couple of leg trims for either side of the stove or a small cabinet next to the stove. Sometimes you will see pull out cabinets for spices and such to go on either side of the stove to fill in that you can attach legs to making it interesting.
    You have a lovely house! I do think it will be worth reworking the kitchen a bit, but moving things around is not as massively expensive as a new kitchen. Plus if you are going to the expense of new counters now is the time to do that.
    Good luck and enjoy the process!

  39. Of course you are spot on. I can’t imagine trying to prep food and walking across to the dining room to cook. Or imagine taking a meal out of the oven and burning a guest seated at the table. No no no.
    Also, I too am so very curious about a goat closet. 🙂

  40. Moving the cooktop to the eating area seems so awkward to me. It would be a huge mistake from a functionality and resale perspective. As others have mentioned, maybe replace the existing cooktop with an induction model and an attractive recirculating fan above.

  41. As someone with very little counter space, almost as little as what Laurel is going to have, for Vicki to say she needs more counter top space boggles my mind. However, if she is a baker or does fancy cooking (I don’t even own a big mixer) there are needs I’m not familiar with. We have wonderful modern kitchen showrooms here in Austin that display the newest ideas in appliances, and there will be a draft that solves that problem even keeping the stove where it is now. Don’t move it just for the sake of wanting to create something new in the space. My gas stove vents into the attic with no issues, and I’ve also used recirculating with no issues other than when I burn something badly. :/ I don’t mind the floor color, it could be incorporated into a color scheme and made to look intentional for now. I agree that the second island that makes this totally open is odd, I would put a taller height wall piece at the back of it topped with a counter material or wood narrow top to hide the kitchen messes but still be able to see over it. There’s so many options besides her solution that isn’t a viable one IMO.

  42. As an interior designer, I would never advise a client to put the cooktop in the location she is considering! Keeping in mind that I have not had the benefit of being in the space and understanding the traffic patterns, storage needs, etc., I might suggest the following:

    Give up the coat (goat) closet and move the fridge to that location. Rather than a cooktop, opt for a 36″ range which would let her get rid of the clunky double ovens and create a more attractive sight-line from the room with the fireplace. (That is a lot of “oven” for such a small kitchen.) The closet does not look to be more than 36″ wide so my guess is that it is not super useful anyway and would be a good trade off, something people always have to do when designing small spaces.

    I am not sure what is behind the wall where the fridge is currently located but that is the wall she wants to move the cooktop to now so maybe there is an opportunity to vent it to the outside there too. If not, she would need a recirculating hood as many have suggested. I might also suggest a more interesting door for the pantry to make it feel more like a part of the kitchen rather than an entry door, but I digress.

    Moving the fridge and deleting the ovens would “lighten up” that wall and give her an opportunity to create some symmetry there. In addition, it would keep the person working at the stove and the person working at the sink from being “tush to tush” (as I call it).

    As for paint color, the only way to select a paint color is to take a cabinet door to a local paint store (not a big box store) and get paint chips that look nice with the cabinet door, take them back to the space and pick a few of the colors that look nice there too. Then, go back to the store and get actual paint samples and put them on the cabinets in good size swatches and on each wall of the kitchen, look at them in morning, noon and evening light and then select the one that looks best. This is how someone who is not experienced in paint color selection should do it (IMO). One could purchase a paint deck and start at home with that too. One caveat, because she wants to tone out the yellow floors, great care needs to be taken with the undertone of the white selected. We are getting into the area of color theory here and it is beyond the scope of this post. Can’t wait to see what Ms. Bern suggests.

  43. Don’t move the stovetop! Have you ever spilled a pot of boiling water on yourself? I have. The last thing you want is MORE space between your stovetop and your sink. Especially if your kids are grown. Imagine walking a pot of boiling water all the way across a room with little grandkids running around leaving toys all over the place?
    Plus then you have two separate dangerous kitchen areas you’ll need to prevent little hands from reaching for.

    Also don’t paint the base cabinets white!

    1) As Laurel mentioned, the rest of the cabinets are cherry. It will look unintentional, like the base cabinets were just sort of tacked on without thinking.

    2) Whichever white paint you choose will compete with the white paint on the walls, making one or the other look dingy or dirty.

  44. I agree with moving the stovetop to the area of the blue cabinet is a HUGE mistake! I love the idea you had, Laurel, of making that the coffee station!
    Looking forward to the next post!

  45. If I went to see this house to buy it the stove in the breakfast room would be a hard no. If more counter space is needed why not take out the double ovens add more counter space there then purchase a wider stove/oven and leave it in the current location. One of the cabinets by the current stove top could be placed where the ovens are. I completely agreee about the floor and cabinet color it doesn’t go at all. I would paint the cabinets but I would still want the floors to be a more neutral color.

  46. I think you’re being generous when you call it a $10,000 mistake to move the cooktop to the dining area.

    More like $50,000 or more. Why? Because when they go to sell the house, anyone would look at that layout and know they’re looking at a complete kitchen remodel to get it back to sensible.

    That said, it’s important to read the installation and ventilation requirements for a new cooktop. Higher output gas ones do typically require a vent hood capable of 600 cfm or more plus make up air (MUA). People forget about the latter, and it can be almost as expensive to add as the cooking appliance itself. Induction will have a lower requirement for ventilation (because you’re not needing to exhaust the combustion byproducts, just the steam and cooking vapors).

  47. I’m a real estate agent and also invest in renovation properties, this would be one where I’d walk in and say to myself “ What were they thinking?”

  48. This kitchen has so much potential, and if it were my home, I would focus on that first before the other renovations desired. Of all the comments, I agree most with Renee Marr. I was wondering the same thing. If the cabinets are in good shape, there is no reason why they cannot be relocated the wall opposite the sink. That makes much better sense. I would leave space between the fridge and oven cabinets for a landing area to place items coming out of the oven. Can take things out from the fridge and go directly to the sink. If the counters are being replaced, they should consider a single bowl sink. It is SO much more convenient. You can soak pans and let soap and water do the work instead of scrubbing.

    When I remodeled my kitchen, I went from a 30” range to a 36” induction cooktop. We love it! Cooking for two empty nesters can be a fun experience and I have a huge pan and a grill pan I use all the time. A 30” cooktop does not leave enough room if you are cooking with multiple large vessels.

    Also agree with refinishing the floors. Red oak is beautiful with just a clear seal and no stain. The kitchen is the room you want to spend money on and the one that will make or break the sale of the house. Putting a cooktop in the breakfast nook is a horrible mistake.

  49. Soooo many wonderful comments & suggestions! (And not a one in favor of moving stovetop to outer wall. Thank goodness.)
    My first question is, why the need to put toaster, coffee maker, mixer & whatever on counters? How big is the pantry? Is there an outlet in there? Keep & use those in there, well, not the mixer. Store it in there or the Goat closet, which leads me to …
    My 2nd question, & perhaps more importantly, where is the front door? Is the sight line straight through where the mixer is now?
    The blue cabinet is beautiful & the first thing I’d do is Laurel’s suggestion to create a coffee station there.

  50. I had to read this three times ( not including your repeating paragraph) because I didn’t think I understood correctly where she wanted the stovetop. 🙂 I can’t have a vent to the outside and haven’t had problems in 11 years.

  51. Everyone thinks sanding wood floors and restaining is a monumental project..as did I. My parents both recently passed and we are readying their large home for the market…we had a massive home of 90’s yellow/orange floors (red oak) sanded and we left them natural (no pink) and they looks fabulous. It took 3 full days and cost 7k. No mess either. (I had this done at my home in 2004 and i was cleaning sawdust for years- they must have better machines now) Newer floors will payoff big when it comes to selling your house someday imo. (location: Northwest Indiana near Chicago)

  52. I think the consensus is don’t move the cooktop! I think all the above ideas are great ones. If Vicki persists, I would ask her to imagine carrying a pot of boiling water from the stove over to the sink, or taking a pan of lasagna out of the oven over to the counter. Putting the stove where she wants is an accident waiting to happen, IMO. The expense of changing a kitchen footprint (which is what she’s doing) makes sense to me only if it’s a down to the studs reno.

  53. I agree that downdraft vents are the worst. We had an old Jennair downdraft in an island that we researched how to vent if we put a new cooktop in the perimeter cabinets against the wall. I went with a recirculating hood vent above it and I love it so so much. They do make slide-out vents if you want to keep your current uppers (we took ours out.) I wouldn’t relocate the cooktop to your breakfast area because potential buyers of your home one day will see dollar signs and have to figure out how to relocate it back to the kitchen. Newer 30” cooktops make use of the cooking area in the middle where your downdraft is currently located, and you can go with induction instead of a 36” cooktop. You’ll love it so much!

  54. Seems simple enough to swap out the contents on the exterior wall in the kitchen (the one with the fridge/ovens) with the wall that currently has the cooktop. It even appears that there is room to keep the fridge and the ovens on the wall behind the sink. I had a friend who’s kitchen had a wall like that – pantry cabinet, refrigerator, and wall ovens. It looked nice and seemed perfectly functional. It seems like this wasn’t considered because of cost concerns, but I’m not convinced that it is very expensive to move the cabinets around especially since you are replacing the counters anyway.

    This would also allow you to have a larger cooktop. I understand the desire for one even after the kids are grown. If you cook for larger crowds even occasionally it’s a great thing to have.

  55. Hi Laurel. I would strongly encourage Vicki not to get a recirculating fan. There is lots of research on how cooking without a decent exhaust fan negatively impacts interior air quality and potentially residents’ health, especially with a gas range but also with induction/electric. Recirculating fans don’t help with air quality. You need to vent the aeresolized fats and carbons out of the kitchen using an adequately powerful vent fan. But there is another reason to vent one’s range — general enjoyment of the home. I live in a high rise so cannot vent my range. When I cook Indian food, my home smells like Indian food for a week or more. I never cook fish because the smell lingers for weeks. This means not only is cooking bad for my asthma, it’s bad for being able to enjoy my home. I wonder if Vicki has talked to appropriate contractors about whether ducts can be run through her ceiling. There must be a way to add an exhaust vent without having to move her stove to the dining room.

  56. I replaced a similar glass cooktop with a downdraft exhaust because I wanted an induction cooktop. Running a gas line was a ridiculous expense and I’m now in love with my Bosch induction cooktop. However they didn’t have one with a downdraft. I checked and there was no code saying I had to have a vent hood or vent of any kind. And by the way, I actually DO cook. So I had it installed sans venting. I’ve not had any issues not having a vent. I can also place a fan nearby should I need it. I agree placing a stove where she wants is a bad idea and will also hurt resale. I say place it on an island without a vent. Unless her code requires it. Or get a nice free hanging vent over the island.

  57. I agree, don’t mess up the breakfast nook by putting the cooktop in there. I would get a more efficient/powerful hood as others suggested, since she doesn’t like the downdraft.

  58. Laurel, you’re absolutely right. Moving the stove waaaay over to the breakfast room, far from the oven and the sink, would be a huge mistake. My cooktop is on an interior wall, and it vents to the outside. The builder installed the duct above & parallel to my kitchen ceiling; the exterior vent cap is above my breakfast room. If Vickie really-really-really requires an exterior wall, then maybe use the coat closet? But first, hire a kitchen designer! And second, stain those wood floors!

  59. I agree with you that I don’t understand why a larger stovetop is needed now unless she is hosting thanksgiving every year with the whole family. Even then you could get a portable cooktop for that one time event. I have a couple questions. 1. Where is a down draft coming from? I don’t see an existing hood where a draft could be coming from. 2. Where is the dishwasher located? Typically you want to keep the sink next to the dishwasher. 3. Why is a hood needed? Most residential homes that have exhaust hoods use a ductless kind i.e. they vent to the inside but capture the grease with a metal mesh screen. I would 100% not place that stovetop along that wall. It will look extremely awkward and be totally inconvenient. So it’s bad on both fronts. It’s not functional or aesthetically pleasing.

    My options based on what is desired more: 1. If a larger stovetop is needed then I would try to relocate to the island where the sink is and move the sink to the stovetop location. It doesn’t appear that a larger stovetop will fit in its current location but I don’t have dimensions. I would not install a hood in this situation, but you can get a ductless island hood. 2. Keep the stovetop in its current location and install a ductless hood. This is the cheapest option.

    I would not paint the cabinets white. I would leave them stained or pick a color like Navy or dark green. If you can get rid of the yellow floor color you could paint them a sage green or warm taupe. I agree with Laurel about changing the color of the floor. I would probably consider a soapstone countertop but marble would also look lovely.

  60. I’m loving reading all the suggestions. Mine is to get rid of the double ovens. Take out the cabinet that supported them. Move the refrigerator down to take up the void left from the double ovens & give the pantry door some breathing room.
    Next I would get a larger range that comes with double ovens. (If you need double ovens)
    I would place it where your current cooktop is. Remove some of the upper cabinets & put in a recirculating exhaust hood. I have one & it works great.
    I hope you aren’t concerned about getting rid of the upper cabinets & the storage you would lose. Most folks have too much stuff. Since you’re empty nesters now, maybe you don’t need all the things you have.
    Start with cleaning out all the cabinets & the pantry & get rid of the things you haven’t used. You may find you don’t need as much storage as you think you do.
    But whatever you do I think you would come to regret putting a new cooktop in the eating area.
    You have a lovely home. Don’t mess it up. 😉

  61. The two islands are quite perplexing to me. Vicki doesn’t seem to need the seating on the island with the sink. Perhaps she could remove the overhang. This would give more walking space to get to the dining alcove.

    Please don’t move your stove to the dining alcove. I wonder if you could put a freestanding stove or slide in stove where the ovens are? This would give you lots of counter space where the current cooktop is. Perhaps a microwave could be added to your pantry if there is room.

    Hope the goat(s) are enjoying their closet! 😉

  62. These rooms have a very feel and I would NOT EVER consider moving the cook top into the dining space. Is it a consideration to paint the kitchen, plus update the sink, counter tops, lighting and fan? A coffee station (as Laurel mentioned) on the Blue/Black sideboard is a lovely idea. Why not integrate the fridge?

  63. I concur with (I think all) the other posts:
    I would *not* move the cooktop to the sunroom/DR.
    I would remove the upper cabs on the wall where the cooktop is, and if anything, put in open shelving, especially given the open floor plan.
    I also like the idea of getting rid of the ‘Goat Closet’ 🤣 if possible and making that entire wall part of the kitchen. That would make a huge difference imo, to make the kitchen feel much more spacious and open.
    Put the cooktop (and hood) anywhere in the current footprint of the kitchen but not beyond it! Maybe more research will uncover a cooktop w/ downdraft vent that functions better? Buying a perhaps more expensive cooktop would be a lot less expensive then a bunch of remodeling to get rid of a non-functional downdraft vent.
    Personally I love kitchens on the outside wall of a house (for both the kitchen and cooktop!) but that would require a major remodel which is apparently not viable for Vicki at this time.

  64. Whenever I do a renovation, I always keep resale value in mind. Does this renovation improve the resale value of my home? Even if I have no plans to sell my house in the near future, sooner or later the day will come when it is time to put the house on the market. I don’t want to have to do a major renovation to sell my home.

    NO ONE is going to be interested in purchasing a home with the cooktop in the breakfast nook.

    There needs to be a better solution.

  65. Have been looking at the color/harmony issue. Lots of nice looks to the rooms here, the lovely warm golden oak flooring and window mouldings with blue runner and creamy dining furniture form a tasty vignette. The hallway likewise has these same warm clean tones. Its a cozy, friendly place, like many, it would benefit from some harmonizing and updating. Its the dark red cabinetry right in the middle that brings it down for me and competes bossily for the space. Not sure I would look at pickling the floors or whatever to lighten them, I would look at painting the cabinets and changing out the light fixture as suggested. The dark sideboard and stools would then better stand on their own adding contrast rather than competition.

  66. I am really enjoying reading all of your comments/ suggestions. Please keep them coming.
    More info… the downdraft turns on but it does not pull the steam. And when water boils over ( yes i do this alot making rice and pasta) i get puddles of water going down into the downdraft vent.

    We looked into a pop-up downdraft that does at the back of the stovetop but the counter is not deep enough

  67. Far too many seating areas in too small a space. You have two dining tables and two seating islands within sight of watch other.

    I would likely try to add a wall where the seating-only island is to close up the space a little and then put the cooktop or range there with no uppers, just venting. I would also likely get rid of the counter seating on the sink island – there’s a table just steps away – and replace the knee space with cabinets. With that nice new storage you could consider removing the uppers on the current cooktop wall to give more of that nice unkitchen feel.

  68. Great post – but does she really have a GOAT closet? That sounds both cute and a nightmare to keep organized 😉

    1. lol. Thank you, Bey. When I first read it, at quick glance, I thought it said “goat” So, I decided to change it to goat. It made me laugh to think that’s where they keep their goats.

  69. Absolutely agree that the cooktop should not be moved into the dining area – very awkward. My initial reaction is that I would consider sacrificing the coat closet / storage and move the refrigerator there. Then I would center a good sized range on the wall where the ovens are – getting rid of the ovens. I know this is a personal choice but it would give nice counter space on either side of the range and to the right of the refrigerator. Other reaction, painting the cabinets (and all the stained woodwork), again a personal choice but it would freshen everything up so much. I share the view of the other commenter that the 2nd island seems unnecessary.

  70. I’m sad that this kitchen space is so large and yet the use of space is ineffective. Moving the stove will make the problem worse I agree that the stovetop is best left where it is. The layout lacks symmetry and those separate islands take up lots of room but don’t work as counter space. They seem to serve mostly as bulky room dividers.
    Looking at the pictures and furnishings, my initial thought is to consider how the space is being used, how you want to use it, and keep only what is needed. Declutter ruthlessly so you only have what you love and use. Once you have a solid plan for your kitchen layout and your furniture placement you can address paint colors and the clashing of the floors and cabinets.
    It looks like the flooring goes through the rooms. Painting the cabinets would solve the colour clash and lighten up the kitchen. With the challenges of your layout, reducing contrast between the dark cabinets and white walls would work to create more harmony.

  71. I think this post really confirms why it is important to start with a floor plan. With no need to vent through a wall, the counter top could be placed anywhere, like where it is right now, close to the sink and three counter surfaces for food prep, not in right field where I think the homeowner would regret it. Big mistake to put it way over there methinks.

  72. I agree that seems a bad plan. It puts the stove outside the kitchen! Prep seems like it will be a pain as well.

  73. I agree that moving the cooktop to the exterior wall is a big mistake. The plan is to get a new cooktop because the current one is not venting, so the easiest solution is to buy a new cooktop with venting that works and replace the current one in the same location. The other location would only work as part of a total kitchen redesign. I’m not sure why the broken venting is driving the decision to move the cooktop into the dining area, that seems extreme and maybe there are some other things at play that haven’t been mentioned so far. If they don’t like the built in downdrafts on cooktops in general they could add a low profile vent hood to the cabinet above (and maybe be able to keep the current cooktop too?).

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