Kitchen redesign - should I ask the neighbours?(20 Posts)
I live in a 1930s semi, with a long, not very wide kitchen which acts a bit like a corridor to the back door.
I know it's not laid out brilliantly (base units and high cupboards plus fridge on one wall, cooker and sink and white goods under worktop on other (window) side. There's a large built-in
and quite impractical except for storing cookbooks and martini glasses we never use anymore Welsh dresser at one end and two tall built in cupboards (one behind each door). There's nowhere to sit and eat, and if I'm in there with someone else (like kids) we're constantly bumping into each other. So we want to do a refurb/rejig/redesign to optimise the layout and storage.
The house is in a row of 16 semis, laid out identically (each is a mirror image of its adjoining partner). I've seen both the NDN's kitchens
while drinking wine or feeding the cat but I'm very curious to know what other neighbours have done with their space. Knocked through to dining room? Breakfast bar? Kept original features?
Would it be weird/rude/overly nosy to knock on other neighbours' doors and ask to see how they've done theirs? We've lived here for over five years and I know some of them to say hello to, but not by name and haven't been into their houses.
Sounds very similar to our set up (shape of kitchen, and 'mirror image of neighbours') I would definitely ask a few people but not everyone, and be prepared for some to think you're a bit crazy / say no. We were able to see some people's kitchens on right move, plus our builder lived in our street and showed us what he'd done.
Have you looked on Rightmove to see if there are any photos from when they bought their houses? It's under House Prices and you can put your street in.
Yep - already found three of them. One has knocked through. One is similarly clunky to ours (think it's been redone since). The other has been Done and is all bespoke cabinets and built in appliances.
I am terribly nosy. Love that feature.
(I should say though that those three plus ours are the only houses which have changed hands since the millennium. People here tend to stay put...)
I would ask - great way to get to know your neighbours too!! You might get tips on what works / doesn't work. You can also search for planning permission applications / building control submissions on your LA's website so if people have done work you can often see the plans (would give you an idea, not necessarily kitchen layout though).
I think I'd ask, if I knew them to say hello to. Are there any similar streets to yours though, that you could also scout on right move? I was driving about six miles from our house, and went past the end of a street with houses identical to ours! I had to take a mini detour
I was seriously looking for ideas with what to do with ours ( completely decrepit inside)
Maybe prioritise approaching the people who have moved in recently as I find it's mostly those who renovate rather than people who've been here for a very long time?
You can only ask. A woman knocked on my patio doors once to ask where I got the patio door screens from. I didn't mind and it was no bother to me to tell her
I do hope she hadn't clambered into your private garden to ask?
Expanding on the post above - we've got a layout very similar to you and we've seen a fair few of the kitchens in our street as our neighbour fitted ours and his wife and over the road were in to see what we'd had done (next door's now gone off to get the same worktop put in their kitchen) and we'd already rented another house in the street so knew kind of the general pattern of things. Ours is that kind of a neighbourhood though - everyone's forever in and out of each other's houses and furniture goes between the houses quite a lot.
I just had the photos on my phone so thought I'd pop them on to give you a bit of an idea of what we've done (excuse the randomness and we've still not painted) - we've knocked through into the living+dining room on the long wall, leaving the top wall there so we've got the extra wall for kitchen cabinets - the light and space it's gained is amazing. The top wall I don't have photos of is tall cupboards and a big fridge freezer and the dining table spans where the wall would have been originally which frees up a chunk of space as you don't have to have it miles away from the wall to be able to get the chairs out (we had to do some floor levelling between the two rooms to do that). Only photo I had of the back door end happened to be my kids emptying the washer so excuse that!
Only real difference in our original layout was the lounge door was at the bottom of the kitchen near the back door where yours is at the top (our house is mid-20s so a similar sort of age)
Check with the neighbours...but the best redesign I have ever seen of a typical 1930's house, was where the chap had turned the dining room into the kitchen (hadn't knocked through) put a small conservatory on the back which he used as a more formal eating area and kept the existing kitchen as a bootroom/utility area. It was amazing!!
I had to giggle when our builder was doing our kitchen and his missus popped around. Within the space of about an hour he'd had 20 texts about how X Y and Z was a good idea and where had she got this bit from etc. His nice quick easy idea of just changing of the cupboard doors on his own and calling it job done was rapidly vanishing in a very amusing manner.
We've all be in & out of each other's, but it didn't help me much - they all pretty much shrug and say ''nothing much we can do". I seem to be the only one trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear 😁
You could also see if you can search planning permission online as someone may have applied and there could be a floorplan with it.
Miaowthecat - thanks for the pics and ideas. I like what you've done though I think ours isn't big enough to put a table in (at least not if you still want to walk around it). Such a shame because I'd LOVE an eat-in kitchen.
Knocking through to the dining room (on the RH wall, in my pic) is so tempting but I worry that it'd cost loads and we wouldn't make the money back when we sell on (likely in the next 5 years).
Do you think that an original feature like a built-in larder cupboard or a Welsh dresser is desirable/useful? Or that character is good? It seems a shame to rip them out and replace them with a row of cabinets or a big fridge, but maybe I'm being too sentimental. I just think it's a shame to destroy something that's lasted for 90 odd years unless you've got something definitely better to replace it with!
Donatellalymanmoss - that's a good idea, will have a hunt on the council site... (Also: great name! Are you listening to the west wing weekly podcast?)
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