If you have been a faithful follower of my blog, you no doubt have seen the many transformations made to our Little Cottage in the City, more especially, the kitchen transformation of this little abode. And while Mr. Mobile Cottage and I liked our newly renovated kitchen, it just wasn’t fully meeting our needs. The space felt cramped and closed off and although we loved how the kitchen looked and the small island placed in this space, it simply was awkward to utilize and impeded movement within the kitchen area. So what did we do?
First, we identified our specific needs and uses for this area. We knew we wanted to integrate a new stove/oven into this space but also have a large island which would incorporate space for bar stools, room for food prep and eating, a work space for paying bills and other tasks along with additional cabinets for storage. We also wanted a more open floor plan to allow for better traffic flow to adjoining rooms in our small cottage.
So to garner the open floor plan we desired, we opted to take down a secondary section of wall separating the living room and kitchen areas. However, it was a bearing wall and knowing that there was no way Mr. Mobile Cottage and I could install an 18 foot support header ourselves, we simply left one section of the original stud construction in place, this ensuring the newly opened area was fully supported. Next, we started framing the island.
In stock cabinets from our local home improvement store were put in place and we next looked to add charming details found in the rest of the cottage. Scouring our home to see what we may have available that would add a unique feature to the island, I looked no further than the old window currently hanging in our laundry room. I knew this old piece would add the character the new island was lacking, but it soon became apparent this window would come in handy in two ways. First, it would soften the appearance of the island and create a “china cabinet” effect and also allow us to disguise the back of the new stove.
We next turned our attention to the barstool dilemma. We decided to make a “barstool garage” behind the bank of cabinets building a wall with just enough space to stow our bar stools out of sight when not in use. This little space has truly worked exceptionally well and people are often surprised by the barstools as they are completely hidden from view from other rooms.
Once we had all the basics of the island in place, it was time to turn our attention on incorporating more cottage charm. We first painted the entire island several coats of crisp, white paint and added bead board to the sides and backside of the piece, and also added a “shiplap” wall using scrap wood to the little window/china cabinet area. In addition, we added butcher block countertops to match the rest of the kitchen, incorporated our signature, gingerbread trim around the perimeter of the island along with adding off-the-shelf, cottage style, support legs also found at our local home improvement store. Floor moldings, decorative trim pieces, and more white paint on everything rounded out the charming piece.
We also tackled the ugly support beam and encased it with wood, gave it a hearty dose of trim top and bottom, and added a cute little task light too. The kitchen ceiling light fixture was swapped out for an “outdoor” lantern found on clearance and painted white and the appliances also received an upgrade. The plate rack above the refrigerator was tweaked to accommodate the new refrigerator and pewter grain scoop handles and knobs were added to the cabinets and the remainder of the flooring was finally installed as well.
Our kitchen island is now the true hub of our cottage and provides us with the open, airy floorplan we desired while not overwhelming adjoining spaces. The traffic flow is no longer closed off and although we did need to leave a support beam in the middle, it actually worked out well providing a spot for task lighting and an electrical outlet – perfect to plug in for today’s needs.
We truly are loving the evolution of our Little Cottage in the City. This once forgotten house has now become a gem in our neighborhood and has sparked several home updates by our neighbors. And what can be better than that?
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Stay tuned….you won’t believe the latest renovation we’re tackling!