A Timeless Kitchen Design for a 1960's Grand Rapids Home | Day Session Diaries



Earlier this year I met with a lovely couple for a Designed in a Day to tackel their kitchen. These clients recently moved into a 1969 beauty—every inch covered in wallpaper! The kitchen is currently dark and dated, complete with scalloped cabinetry details, carpet in the breakfast nook, and pastel pink wallpaper.


Instead of focusing on the details like flooring, hardware, countertops, etc., these clients wanted to focus their time on the cabinetry layout, so I decided to mock up their kitchen in Sketchup.


In this post I'll walk you through the existing kitchen, their style/functionality goals for the space, and the specifics of the new cabinetry and overall layout. Let's dive in!


The Existing Kitchen


As is the case in most 1960s homes, the formal dining room is mostly cut off from the kitchen. The kitchen, however, is much bigger than it looks on a floor plan. My clients currently use the formal dining room as a play room, and would like to continue to do so until their kids are past toddler age.


The goal was to open up the wall between the kitchen and dining room so that mom and dad can see the kids playing while working in the kitchen. The idea would be that down the road, the dining room would eventually be a dining area again, but for now, the space could function for play.

Below you can see a few photos of the kitchen layout as it exists—check out that wallpaper, baby!! The wallpaper in the house was actually very charming, and it was EXPERTLY installed - you seriously couldn't spot a seam.


NORTH WALL OF EXISTING KITCHEN



WEST WALL OF EXISTING KITCHEN



SOUTH WALL OF EXISTING KITCHEN


EAST + SOUTH WALLS OF CONNECTED DINING ROOM




Style + Function Discovery Conversation


Style wise—as you can see in their inspo images below—my clients wanted to go with a warm color palette: taupey cabinets, mid-darker toned floors, warmer white marble counters, and a handmade subway tile look. They liked the timeless look of inset cabinets with antique brass hardware, and loved a simple enclosed hood.


A few of their must-haves included a paneled dishwasher, a microwave that was not "out", a pull-out trash bin, a small "drop zone" (similar to inspo image #2), and drawer storage for both dishes and pots/pans. They also wanted to create some type of coffee bar/hutch in place of the existing wet bar and were excited about doing something similar to the built-in in our west wing.



The Floor Plan


Even though we were opening up the floor plan, I wanted to maintain some type of distinction between the dining room and kitchen, I decided on a cased opening that would leave about 3ft of wall on each side of the opening. This would allow us to keep all the beautiful crown moulding in the dining room in tact, and also felt more appropriate for the age of the house. Another reason I felt the two spaces needed this architectural divide was to prevent it from feeling like too long and narrow of a room.



EXISTING FLOOR PLAN

PLANNED FLOOR PLAN | NORTH WALL


We kept the sink in its original place, and moved the range and hood to the north wall as well. On the left-most side of this run of cabinets, I opted for a tower cabinet in the same style of the hutch on the east wall.


In the center, we decided on a 7ft x 3ft island, which provides a perfect amount of prep space, and also gives us some of the storage we lost with losing wall cabinets.


On the east wall, I designed a built-in hutch with a wet bar and loads of storage. My client is considering mounting a small frame TV in the center of the hutch, which I think is a lovely and functional idea since it's impossible to view the TV from the kitchen.


On the south wall, I removed the pantry closet and moved the fridge all thew ay to the left. In the center, I designed two tall pantry cabinets exactly the size of their former pantry, and just beside that would be the drop zone.


Finally, on the west wall of the dining room/play room, I suggested a gorgeous wall unit with a window seat that could be used, currently, for toy storage, and eventually for more dining room specific items. This detail would require them to replace a small, off-centered window on this same wall with a larger and centered window.



PLANNED FLOOR PLAN | SOUTH WALL


The Specifics of the Cabinetry Layout and Transition


The below picture will help you visualize how the new transition will nicely define the two spaces.


QUICK TIP: It's common for openings that were created in the 80s and 90s not to be cased, but adding that simple detail can make your space feel more custom and architecturally intention.




We decided on a paneled dishwasher to allow for a more cohesive and custom look, and honestly, I will ALWAYS recommend this. Unlike panel-ready refrigerators, which can cost ya and arm and a leg, panel-ready dishwashers are not all that expensive, so it's a fun way to elevate your kitchen just a tad.




On the range side of the island, we planned for a pull out trash, along with drawers designated for unitizes, peg dish storage, and pots/pans storage. We also designed a space for a built-in microwave to live beneath the counter and out of the way.


On the fridge side of the island, I opted for doors instead of drawers. The island would be 36" deep, so I wanted the cabinets on the range side to be 24" deep, and on this side, we'd do shallow shelves that can be accessed from these doors. This design maximizes the use of the island from all sides.



While we didn't get into the specifics of the interior of the pantry cabinets, I imagine this being a combination of shelves and pull out shelves for all types of try goods, as well as a taller area for broom/vacuum storage.


For the wet bar/hutch, we planned for a library light centered on the trim, and for adjustable shelves that can be removed if they decide they'd like to mount a Frame TV here. We were undecided on whether the doors would be glass or solid, but that's an easy detail for them to make a decision on down the road. Beneath the hutch, we have three doors, and three two-door cabinets.



And this final image shows the plan for the dining room / play room builtins and window seat. This will be an ideal storage solution for toys in their current season, but will transition perfectly into a space for more dining room oriented items and decor in the future.


The Wrap Up


This kitchen plan came together so beautifully! And the best part? We were able to create this entire cabinetry plan in a single 5-hour session which my clients can then take to a builder, kitchen show room, or local carpenter to execute on their own timing.


I'd estimate that 85% of our clients opt to go with a Designed in a Day session as their service of choice. It's incredibly cost + time effective, and it's super flexible as far as the kinds of projects we can tackle, the range of budgets it fits, and the kinds of styles and functionality needs that clients have.


If you're curious about this service and whether your own project might be a good fit for a day session, you can click here to view more details about the service, and then complete our project intake form here and I'll reach out to schedule a discovery call to discuss your project.


I can't wait to help you create a space that works for you!


Lauren