Cut a pass-through between the kitchen and family room
It’s no fun being stuck in the kitchen all alone when everybody else is hunkered down in the family room watching the big game.
So if you’re the cook and snack-maker in your family, how about knocking a hole in the kitchen wall so you can see through to the TV room—and everybody in there can see and hear you as you prepare the party treats?
Older homes around the Ark-La-Tex typically have small to medium sized galley kitchens connected to a breakfast room. You might be able to see into the family room from the breakfast nook, but the wall that separates the kitchen from the family room makes it impossible for the cook to participate in the conversation in the next room.
The solution: Make the family room an extension of the kitchen. People love to gather in the kitchen, even if it’s small. It can feel larger and include everyone if you cut a pass-through in the wall that connects the two rooms.
Here are some things to consider when you and your remodeler make your plan for a pass-through:
- Consider tearing down the whole wall so the family room and kitchen become a single, large room. Your remodeler will be able to determine if the wall is “structural”—that is, if it’s holding the ceiling up. If it is, the use of columns may be needed to support the structure once the wall is gone.
- It’s less expensive to just cut a big window in the wall—one that’s big enough to pass food through to the next room and to give the cook a good view of the activity in the family room. You still might need to add some support, but only if you cut through any structural beams.
- Before you cut, analyze how you use the kitchen wall now. Are there cabinets or appliances on it? Is it where you do your chopping and food prep? Keep in mind that you’re going to lose the use of whatever was on that wall once it’s gone. I don’t know too many cooks who can live with fewer cabinets!
- Take the opportunity to rethink your kitchen’s design. If you have to relocate an appliance, cabinets or countertop, be mindful about where to place them. Best bet: Create a “work triangle” that gives you easy access to the sink, refrigerator and cooktop. That’s a convenient configuration that usually makes the cook most comfortable.
- Consult with a design professional. A good option is to work with a remodeler who also is a designer, so the same company can complete the job from start to finish. A designer or architect’s input is critical when you are tearing down or altering walls. A professional will know whether supporting beams are needed and how to redesign the kitchen so you still have room for everything you need once your fourth wall is gone.
- Your need for lighting might change once a wall is opened up. You might gain some light from the room you’re connecting with. Still, as long as your kitchen is torn up, take a look at pendant lights to hang in the pass-through, at recessed lights for the ceiling and at task lights for underneath the wall cabinets. Our need for good lighting increases as the years pass.
- Coordinate the décor between the kitchen and family room, now that you can see each one while standing in the other. Do the colors, textures and decorations “flow” from room to room? If not, it may be a good time to update the kitchen and the family room at the same time.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, has been president of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.Jeb.net.