Rethinking our range alcove design

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Our hearth skeleton was erected just before we went on vacation, and then COVID came and we became pros at self-quarantining—including putting this project on hold. Initially I was upset because it was another delay, but it’s actually proven to be a blessing in disguise since it turns out that while we *loved* our hearth in Dublin, we aren’t loving it now.

I think it’s because in that house I had a huge island directly behind me where I could easily transfer items to while prepping and cooking, and that is obviously not the case with this set up. This design has changed so dramatically since we first started planning this remodel that it occurs to me now that I hadn’t really thought through how using the peninsula as prep space would function. Or rather, not function. Moving from there to the stove with the "walls" of the alcove is a huge old pain in the keister—especially when cooking with heavy Le Creuset pots and pans ... which is what we predominantly use. 

While I would normally feel terrible telling my contractor that we’ve changed our minds and want to explore other options, the right pillar as it was built is actually crooked and therefore needs to be rebuilt anyway, and the vent isn’t properly screwed into the left side so that needs to be addressed as well. Basically, whenever the world gets back to normal, the whole thing has to be substantially altered so there’s no better time to to be having a change of heart.

And speaking of my heart. Every time I think about what we started out wanting and what we ended up getting, it hurts just a little bit. We really spared no expense when it came to this remodel, and given that we're not ending up with anything close to what resembled the kitchen of our dreams, I get heartsick just thinking about it. At least once a day I think about what we could have done differently and the list is loooong.

But, since this is where we are and what we have to work with, I started trolling Houzz and Pinterest to come up with alternatives that didn't dramatically alter the footprint of what we're already working with. These were the two images that most resembled what I think is our best attempt to address the inadequacies of our initial design. We'd still have a large edifice covering the industrial vent, and we'd still make use of the beams were purchased at salvage.

While it's all well and good to look at pictures online, it's a whole other thing to implement them in your own space -- something we've learned the hard way at every turn. With our pitched roof and bank of windows, our kitchen has a different layout than the ones above, so I took a moment to put together a mock-up in Photoshop of what something like this could potentially look like. I don't hate it. (But do I love it? Honestly, I don't know the answer to that question.)

I feel like at this point, no matter what we end up with on this wall, I'm forever going to look at it and realize that nothing turned out the way I'd initially envisioned and the only person I have to blame is myself. When we started tearing down walls and we unearthed that original beam, we sacrificed the bulk of our design to preserve it (rather than tearing it out), and what was once a feature that made me excited is now something I can't look at without thinking it hadn't been there. 

All in all, it just sucks to have spent so much time, energy, effort (and money!) to look at a space and think, "I guess it's all right." 

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