Kitchen & Family Room Remodel
Our house was built in 1994 here in San Jose, CA, and is a pretty typical, stucco, Mediterranean CA style home. We'd like to remodel both our kitchen (priority) and adjoining family room. We love our home and its location, and do not plan to move anytime in the next 10+ years. So we don't mind putting good money into the remodel, but at the same time, do not want to go overboard, either.
*** Kitchen ***
I don't believe the kitchen has ever been remodeled. My wife has hated the darker, grainy oak cabinets since we moved in, and we also do not like the boxed, florescent lighting over the island. We'd like to modernize the kitchen, but hopefully not make it out-dated again in 20 years.
Although during the week we don't usually cook (just use the microwave and toaster oven), on the weekends we like to entertain and cook for 6 - 10 people. During those times, everybody is usually gathered around the kitchen table, eating appetizers, a couple of people with their backs to me, while I am in the kitchen preparing and cooking. So, ideally, we'd like a solution where the chef and the guests are more integrated, and nobody's back is to the chef. (Heck, maybe they can help prep veggies, etc.!) When dinner is ready, we all migrate to the dining room which is on the other side of the wall (the wall with the stove). Our dining/kitchen/family rooms are on the backside of the house, and they face NW, so we get direct sunlight in the late afternoon. This means that morning through early afternoon it is not overly bright, so we'd probably like to avoid overly dark colors.
We are really into wine, and already have a wine cellar in another part of the house, not too far from the kitchen/dining rooms.
Of the pictures of kitchens we've seen on the internet, we tend to like dark counters, cherry-like wood cupboards, and a medium-light, tile floor. Overall, something warm but not too dark.
*** Family Room ***
The family room is awkward to work with, as it is a fairly long rectangular room, with one of its long sides adjoining the kitchen where the kitchen table is. If we put seating at one end of the long room (e.g., by the windows, along the north wall) and the TV at the other (along the south wall), there would be way too much space between the seating and the TV (approx 230"). There is also a fireplace almost in the middle of the far, other long side of the room. We don't entertain in this room per se, but my wife is an avid TV watcher, and both of us like to do a movie night at least once a week. We don't use the fireplace, so it could be covered/walled up, but I don't want to remove it for resell value reasons, etc. We currently have the kids' school/craft desk there as well, which we're planning to move upstairs. We will definitely be replacing the furniture in the family room with the remodel. How can we setup this room as a good home-theater, possibly hiding the components and DVDs, and removing the inset "niches" and mirror? Should we add a small room/closet on the south side that could be used for the components, kids' school/craft stuff, etc., and also would help make the room smaller and more cozy? We are interested in what you can imagine here!
*** Kitchen ***
• Cabinets: We definitely want to replace the darker, grainy oak cupboards with a no-grain wood, probably with cherry color.
• Lighting: We definitely want to replace the boxed, florescent lighting. Maybe replace with pendant lights? We'd like a way to dim them, though, so that when we are in the dining room there isn't glaring light flooding in from the kitchen.
• Floor: We have a pool just outside the slider where our kitchen window looks out to, but the closest bathroom is through the kitchen and down a hall near the front door, making it very inconvenient for swimmers (and us!). So we definitely want to change the hardwood floors to tile, and probably something with texture so it won't be too slippery when wet. We'd probably extend this tile into the family room.
• Bar: We probably want to remove the "bar", which was added by the previous owner. (It's a short wall, about chest-level, where we put plants right now, that separates the kitchen from the family room.)
• Kitchen Table: We probably want to remove the kitchen table and chairs, and replace them with a larger island that can accommodate 6 people/stools.
• Appliances: Our appliances are all the same age as the house (19 years) with exception of the microwave, which is currently sitting on our counter (not where we want it!), so we will be replacing all of our old appliances as well.
-- Stove: We're looking to upgrade from a 30" gas, to a 36" (probably also gas. May consider induction, but worry about scratching, cracking. Also, my current pots/pans would not work). Definitely want at least one high-heat burner.
-- Oven(s): Would like double-oven, one with convection.
-- Refrigerator: Would like french-door fridge with freezer on the bottom.
• Trash/Recycling: Currently our trash and recycling bins are out in the open on display. We'd like this hidden (probably in a cupboard with a pullout track system?).
*** Family Room ***
• Fireplace: Can cover up the fireplace, but don't want to remove.
Function, aesthetics, and general overall updating of the kitchen are primary criteria, with cost also being considered but not the primary criterium.