Have you Considered A Kitchen Expansion?
Yes, the dream of finally realizing that gourmet, chef-style, high tech-appliance-boasting kitchen of your dreams is certainly possible. Many however look at their current space, and doubt this can actually happen—and almost always it’s a question of size. Perhaps yours is a galley kitchen, maybe you live in an older home, where the rooms tend to be on the smaller size, or maybe you’ve been told that that ever obtrusive load bearing wall just can’t be moved and thus your new kitchen dreams are irrevocably dashed.
But wait! Don’t lose hope just yet. Because with the right design-build firm, a one-of-a-kind kitchen expansion is most definitely in your future!
Kitchen Expansion Consideration #1: The Load Bearing Wall Conundrum
At one point or another, somewhere in your remodeling endeavors, you’ve probably heard about that dreaded load bearing wall that subsequently presented an obstacle to pretty much anything you wanted to do. Have no fear—there are options when it comes to working with and/or around this stubborn entity.
Picture frame it, meaning, okay if you can’t move the thing, why not cut a hole in the wall and thus create an amazing new pass thru. You can even use it as a focal point in the kitchen, complete with bar stools and a gorgeous new granite, quartz or soapstone breakfast bar top spanning the length of the newly framed out space.
Columnize it; take out the wall, beef up the header and add columns for support. While the columns are wholly functional, you can wrap them in whatever you like in order to make them a gorgeous decorative accent. Whether a clean white trimmed-out look, a rustic barn beam style column, or even one adorned with stone veneer. Get creative and show that loading bear wall who’s boss.
TJI Time. Depending on the span, you might be able to tear out the wall all together and have a TJI or some other substantial header installed. This however requires an engineer’s evaluation, design, and stamp. A comprehensive design-build company can certainly help you with this particular approach.
Kitchen Expansion Consideration #2: Where to Go
Another important issue concerns where exactly you want to take this newly extended kitchen. You have a few options here. First off, look at the lay of the land—literally. Go outside, take a walk around your house, see what might be feasible in terms of expanding outward, whether into your backyard, or perhaps even a side yard area. Don’t ever take anything for granted however. Check your town or city’s setback requirements. A setback simply means that you have to stay a certain distance off your property line on all sides. So, prior to planning any sort of outward expansion, you want to be sure that you understand the rules associated.
When expanding your kitchen outward, rather than internally, you’re definitely going to want to confer with an experienced engineer/architect regarding tying into the existing foundation and the roofline. In many ways, it’s very much like drawing a brand new house plan from the ground up. Again, a qualified and experienced design-build firm that has undertaken a number of kitchen expansion projects may be the best place to start.
Alternatively, you might want to think about expanding into space that is already part of your home’s current footprint. If you have both a family and a living room for instance, then perhaps the kitchen can stretch its legs so to speak, and extend into one of these rooms. Some considerations if going this route: are there currently different types of flooring? If so, you’re going to want to homogenize the entire space. You also may need to add windows or some form of opening to make the newly expanded kitchen space light and airy. And maybe you decide you want to relocate the central “hub” of the kitchen, which brings us to consideration #3…
Kitchen Expansion Consideration #3: Moving Mechanicals
Very often when homeowners take on this type of project, a huge consideration is in fact relocating plumbing, electric and heat runs. If for example, you are portioning off part of your living room for new kitchen space, and you opt to move the refrigerator to a section of this re-designated area, then you need to remember that you also have to move the water line for the icemaker and potentially add an electric line. What if there happens to be a heat run right in the new wall against which you wish to place the fridge? This is then going to have to be dealt with as well. Hopefully, you are working with a contracting and design firm that understands the precautions and preparations needed to make your kitchen expansion seamless.
This is your chance to make your kitchen everything you imagined and then some! Just think it through, consult with experienced professionals to beginning planning your kitchen expansion and soon enough, you will be cooking, eating, gathering and relaxing in your awesome new kitchen space!