Looks good on paper

When I was in first grade (back in the Pleistocene era), my teacher, Mrs. Graf, had a cute idea for parent-teacher night. She got hold of a bunch of large brown kraft-paper bags (I don’t know what they intended for). We little kids each lay down on a bag while a classmate traced our outline on the paper (much giggling). Then we colored in our images and drew in our faces. Mrs. Graf slipped the bags over our desk chairs. The kids didn’t attend the evening’s festivities, but when our parents walked into our classroom, there we were … in effigy.

That’s what popped into my head when Eric suggested we lay out the sink wall on paper, life size. We’ve changed direction, you see. As long as I’ve lived here the bane of my kitchen’s existence has been the awkward corner where the back of the dining room’s buffet (the west wall) meets the cabinets of the north wall, which hold the sink.

original layout of kitchen pre-renovation

When I bought the house, the sink cabinet was one of those metal units from the 1940s, topped with a cast-iron sink with integrated drainboards. [Photo: MaryKayStewart]

1940s sink cabinet

To each side of this unit was a homemade cabinet with a red linoleum countertop. I lived with this arrangement for about 12 years. When I got married in the mid-90s, my ex-husband and I upgraded (I can’t really say remodeled) that wall with some surplus cabinets he picked at the big box store. To make the drawers on the left end functional without blocking a little homemade shelf unit in what’s now the “tower cabinet” nook, ex-hubby had to cut the drawers and their hardware back from 24 in. deep to 19 in. You can see the resulting jog in the configuration.

cabinets of different depths

I have always dreamed of creating a cleaner, more functional, less complicated corner, but I didn’t know how to arrange it. We considered running the sink cabinets at the standard 24-inch depth all the way to the west wall, partially blocking the tower cabinet area. But the stove sits too near these cabinets to allow enough clearance for doors or drawers to open. A giant corner cabinet with a narrow door on the west wall would mean much of the corner’s interior would be unreachable and useless. So, we reluctantly resigned to repeat the existing layout with new cabinets. We weren’t happy. I pictured the countertop people rolling their eyes at the funky layout, and I was already embarrassed.

I thought perhaps the placement of the new sink would allow a lazy Susan in this corner. Yes, turning the corner would block the tower cabinet (which was well on its way to being finished). But the more I thought about it, it seemed the only sane thing to do.

That’s where the life-sized drawing comes in. We carefully measured and drew our layout on kraft paper. Duke helped his daddy tape the paper to the floor and hold it down. He was so excited to help, he broke into the boxer kidney bean dance–with kisses!

Duke and Eric laying paper on floor

Now we are certain where the sink will fit, that we do have room for a full-sized dishwasher (damned right—it’s already sitting in the spare bedroom), and, by George, we have enough room for a giant 31-in. wood lazy Susan! Woo-hoo!!

Rev-A-Shelf makes exactly what I wanted: a wood lazy Susan whose doors are attached to the unit and revolve with the shelves. Our local supplier didn’t carry it, so Eric ordered it directly from Rev-A-Shelf. At $360, this baby is not cheap, but since I  recently bought the dishwasher and am about to buy a new car, I had no sympathy. Then … Rev-A-Shelf called back and told us that they, too were out of stock, with a two-month backorder. But wait! They directed Eric to another supplier who not only has it in stock, but will ship it within a week for $199! YES!! Sometimes things DO work out! [Photo: Rev-A-Shelf]

wood lazy susan

So here’s the plan. (I know it’s kind of hard to read this composite photo.) On the right, the existing pantry will remain. To its left will be a pull-out unit with a slanted front to accommodate the jog in the cabinet depth (necessary to allow the back porch door to open). Then comes space for the dishwasher. Next, the sink (more on that in a later post). To the left of the sink is the corner door of the lazy Susan. Finally, filling in a small space next to the stove, will be a skinny pull-out for spices (skinnier than shown here).

litchen plan drawn on kraft paper

The tower cabinet will not be a total wash: Eric will block off the lower part, which will be obscured by cabinet, but the portion above the countertop will still be used. Perfect! I’d hate to see our construction and finishing go to waste.

I’m so happy we took the time to make a full-size drawing of our plan. We tossed around a lot of ideas, I changed our minds a few times, and we spent a Saturday producing nothing … but  we have answers. Eric says he’s eager to start building again—words that go straight to my renovatin’ heart!. Go, baby, go!!


6 thoughts on “Looks good on paper

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Ha ha!! I wish I COULD see it! Have you ever seen a boxer do this dance? I searched YouTube for “boxer kidney bean” today and sat at my desk, laughing!

  1. Stacey

    Don’t you love having a guy around to make your dreams come true! Not that a guy is required… but it makes it so much more fun!!! (giggle) Seriously happy you found a solution and one that will be beautiful and functional. Big score on the lazy susan. I just love it when everything seems to be going wrong and then BAM… it goes so RIGHT you have to turn the music up and shake your booty! Looking forward to the progress.

  2. Karen B.

    That will be great. Good thinking,making an actual to scale pattern. We had a lazy susan installed when we redid our kitchen, best thing for dead space.


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