I was in a bit of a quandary recently after my carpenter mentioned that he was having reservations about the kitchen/bathroom layout.

He thought that I should have kept the kitchen where it was, have the table more or less where it was before, and have the bathroom in the mudroom. This conversation happened the day before we were to work on recessing a beam in the kitchen, and the location of the beam might change if I decided to move the bathroom.

I was not ever completely comfortable with how the bathroom was positioned next to the kitchen so I took a day to do accurate drawings and made paper cutouts of the toilet, sink, shower, and tried to figure out a way to squish it into the mudroom along with the washer & dryer, laundry sink, closet, and a place to sit.

That was a good exercise which quickly proved it was too late to go that direction.

So we proceeded to recess the beam which you can see in this image:

New recessed LVL beam (3 @ 7 1/2″)

The old 2×6 joists are now hung from this beam instead of resting on the old beam which hung down, dividing the space. Before removing the old beam we have to hammer out a hole in the cement floor below and install a new lally column to support one end of this huge LVL beam.

My next task was to remove the remaining section of wall that separated the old “mudroom” from the kitchen. This was to make way for the new bathroom wall, and it was while doing this that I had a eureka moment.

Not only was I bothered that when you walk by in the kitchen, you’d be able to look in the door at the toilet. Then there was this useless “sitting area” in front of it that just seemed to be a waste of space. This is what the architect came up with (in all fairness, I was in on the design decisions):

Architects plan for kitchen and bath area

I realized all I had to do was move the door over to the north side of the wall, and re-arrange everything inside, and this is what I came up with:

I think this will be easier for the plumbing as well. Note the dotted lines indicate foundation/girts below, and the bathroom above.

The basement door currently opens into the kitchen. I’ve decided to create a little vestibule with the door entrance facing the bathroom. It takes it out of view, plus it will create a wall that I can put art on (very few places in the kitchen). The sitting area is now more like a small hallway with a double window (maybe a good place for plants) leading to the bathroom.

The original plan had the breakfast bar 4’ from the wall which was just too tight. In the new plan I’ve moved it over to 5’ which should make it seem more spacious. Less of a choke point when you walk from the hallway into the kitchen and turn the corner to go to the sink or mudroom etc.

Yesterday I removed the final section of wall in the kitchen, and realized that there used to be a doorway close to the wall (you can see the darker flooring in the photo below). I think the original layout, probably from the 50’s had you walk up the stairs outside, enter into a porch, go through the back door into a mudroom and then into the kitchen.

Wall between the old mudroom and kitchen now removed

Tomorrow we’ll finish off installing new 2×6 joists, build the bathroom wall, and that section of the kitchen will have all it’s structural work completed (aside from the lally column). Moving on!

My initial plan was to move the stove and fridge elsewhere in the kitchen while I did the plumbing and electrical work. But now I realize that’s too complicated, so I’ve decided to move everything out. Where it all goes is TBD. My plumber has a two burner camp stove I can use. Not sure about the fridge. I don’t even know how they got it into the kitchen as none of the doorways are wide enough?

Finally, the deck is mostly framed now. We’re going to wait until springtime to install the new stairway, so for now we’ve got the old set of steps in place, just like at the back doorway. I’ll be installing the hand rails, and deck boards when the weather gets better. In the meantime I’ve got plenty to do:)

Mudroom (green) and new deck ready for deck boards and railing (and a new stairway)

The deck is 23′ long x 9′ deep