Posted in Banquettes, Designing with pets in mind, Kitchen Seating, Projects, Slab Foudations, Small Kitchens, Windows

Updating a 60’s kitchen

This year one of my projects was a kitchen remodel in a 1961 ranch style home.
Poorly planned, and then updated once in the ’70’s, this kitchen was stuck in a time warp.

Sink and cook top location in tight quarters.

A peninsula partition, anchored between a double oven and a desk cuts the kitchen in half.

An energy efficient refrigerator will replace this one.

Booth seating remodel from the 70’s. Homeowner added seating in the kitchen in place of the washer and dryer. Everything about this kitchen was cramped.

The jog in the wall behind the bench seating is the water heater room.

View of the kitchen window, exterior door to side yard, and water heater room. Budget was cost prohibitive to expand the kitchen footprint out another 6 ft. Next best plan was to frame out the bay window.

One of the goals of the project was to make this kitchen pet friendly. The design changed slightly from the original concept to include a doggy door direct to the side yard for the family dog, Angel. Another feature added to the project was the inclusion of a desk and a doggy diner. The water heater was jettisoned to the garage to gain a desk.

Selection of the new cabinet color is discussed. None of these colors were selected. Cherry wood in Nutmeg stain by Dynasty by Omega in the Brookside door was ultimately selected.

The slabs are selected and the deposit is paid.

View into the kitchen. This door will be closed off in order to get a better floor plan. The doggy door access was included again in a new door.

Demolition begins. The water heater accessed from the outside will be relocated to the garage.

Water heater gone. The footprint for the water heater closet now part of kitchen. Sheer wall framed. Electrical wiring underway.

The bay window wall framing begins. Gas meter relocated. Framing for side door in place.

Door to garage is framed.

Red flag up on mail box. Message from Lead Carpenter to Homeowner.

Bay window in framing.

Renewal by Anderson Windows are in.

The kitchen was very small, apartment sized, due to the peninsula wall holding the double oven and awkward counter space.

Arched opening enhanced with double wall framing.

Peninsula gone, drywall in, kitchen beginning to take shape. Temporary sink left on site for homeowner’s convenience.

Cabinets are being installed.

The cabinets are measured for granite and the fabrication of the counters begins by All Natural Stone Design.

The completed kitchen. Cabinets from Dynasty by Omega in Brookside Raised, Cherry Nutmeg. GE Appliances from Warehouse Discount Center.


Furniture selection, upholstery and window coverings by Interior Designer Holly Higbee Jansen, of Higbee Jansen Design.


The exterior door to side yard and to the garage is in place. Notice the clever repetition shown in the detail of the window curtain duplicating the arch of the adjacent door. Your eye is distracted from the rectangular shape of the glass insert. A creative way of handling obstacles.

Client’s wishes accomplished: Desk, Banquette, Dog Diner, Dog door, Island, Double ovens, 36″ cook top.

Project complete.

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Posted in Concrete, Planning, Slab Foudations

Thinking it through with Slab Foundation

I am geared up for digging and planting in my small townhouse garden! Gardening is a lovely hobby to rest my eyes from all the computer work I have to do everyday. I love to get my hands in dirt, walking through nurseries and discovering what plants will thrive and which will not in my Zone 8. But before I set out to dig, I called my local utilities. Every month our local utility company always puts out a a reminder notice with the bill: “call before you dig”. You want to make sure you do not strike a gas line or other utilities that can really create a serious situation and costly repairs. So it goes with remodeling your kitchen when it comes to relocating utilities.

Are you on slab foundation? Houses with underground utilities on slab foundation require more extensive work relocating utilities compared to houses built on raised foundation. Start with your local building department or plan check department.

This brings to mind one of the projects I am working on right now. I called the local building dept to check if our client’s home had Post Tension Cables in the concrete slab. Post-tensioning is a method of strengthening concrete using high-strength steel strands or cables, typically referred to as tendons.

If you have a slab on grade foundation, check to see if your house has post tension cables in the concrete foundation. One item of note: our local building dept. commented that sometimes they may or may not have a record if a house has Post Tension Cables. Most newer homes will have them. Error on the side of caution always. It is worth the cost of having your slab ex-rayed for a few hundred dollars compared to repairs that can run in the thousands.

If you do have PTC in your foundation call in a company that will be able to x-ray the slab. The grid pattern has to be mapped out on the floor before trenching begins. Once the PTC grid pattern is mapped, then the concrete has to be cut, holes bored through between each cable grid to core through the earth and tunneled below the cables. The work is strenuous, time consuming and expensive but worth the extra effort if it means taking a dysfunctional kitchen to a exceptional functional entertainers dream kitchen. In the long run, the investment will be worth it if you look at it in terms of dollar cost averaging the expense divided into the years of enjoyment you and your family live in your home.

Here is a video showing PTC placed into the foundation.
HGTV Pro: Video Post Tensioning Slabs

A worker cutting a tendon tail in a poured concrete foundation.

A sheathed cable is laid through each interior beam before the slab is poured.

Here is a scary example of a slab that was trenched and cables were cut, requiring a very expensive repair. Photo courtesy of PTSR

This shows the damage that saw cutting and jack hammering can do to existing post-tension cables. Out of 18 exposed post-tension cables, 14 were broken.
Posted in Planning, Slab Foudations

Thinking it through with Slab Foundation

I am geared up for digging and planting in my small townhouse garden! Gardening is a lovely hobby to rest my eyes from all the computer work I have to do everyday. I love to get my hands in dirt, walking through nurseries and discovering what plants will thrive and which will not in my Zone 8. But before I set out to dig, I called my local utilities. Every month our local utility company always puts out a a reminder notice with the bill: “call before you dig”. You want to make sure you do not strike a gas line or other utilities that can really create a serious situation and costly repairs. So it goes with remodeling your kitchen when it comes to relocating utilities.

Are you on slab foundation? Houses with underground utilities on slab foundation require more extensive work relocating utilities compared to houses built on raised foundation. Start with your local building department or plan check department.

This brings to mind one of the projects I am working on right now. I called the local building dept to check if our client’s home had Post Tension Cables in the concrete slab. Post-tensioning is a method of strengthening concrete using high-strength steel strands or cables, typically referred to as tendons.

If you have a slab on grade foundation, check to see if your house has post tension cables in the concrete foundation. One item of note: our local building dept. commented that sometimes they may or may not have a record if a house has Post Tension Cables. Most newer homes will have them. Error on the side of caution always. It is worth the cost of having your slab ex-rayed for a few hundred dollars compared to repairs that can run in the thousands.

If you do have PTC in your foundation call in a company that will be able to x-ray the slab. The grid pattern has to be mapped out on the floor before trenching begins. Once the PTC grid pattern is mapped, then the concrete has to be cut, holes bored through between each cable grid to core through the earth and tunneled below the cables. The work is strenuous, time consuming and expensive but worth the extra effort if it means taking a dysfunctional kitchen to a exceptional functional entertainers dream kitchen. In the long run, the investment will be worth it if you look at it in terms of dollar cost averaging the expense divided into the years of enjoyment you and your family live in your home.

Here is a video showing PTC placed into the foundation.
HGTV Pro: Video Post Tensioning Slabs

A worker cutting a tendon tail in a poured concrete foundation.

A sheathed cable is laid through each interior beam before the slab is poured.

Here is a scary example of a slab that was trenched and cables were cut, requiring a very expensive repair. Photo courtesy of PTSR

This shows the damage that saw cutting and jack hammering can do to existing post-tension cables. Out of 18 exposed post-tension cables, 14 were broken.