To Expand or Not to Expand? The Kitchen Update.


We are working with a client who wants to renovate her kitchen to be more functional. She loves to entertain and cook.  I thought it would be neat to share some of our preliminary planning for this kitchen that you may not always get to see. We often share before and after photos, but we do not always share the in-between parts that get us to the final layout.

It is our job as interior designers to come up with the best possible scenarios that meet all or most of the client’s needs. This is not always an easy task.  A lot goes into this design development and planning phase before presenting design options to the client.

First things 1st: Before sketching and drawing up new plans we first take measurements of the existing space. 


Mary and I met with the client to go over their initial needs and take measurements. These measurements include interior dimensions, window and door placement, outlets, and appliance sizes (if keeping). Here are the rough on-site sketches taken for this project!  (I always hope we can make sense of all these doodles!)


After the initial consultation with the client and the site visit, it’s to the drawing board. With this we have all the information we need to move forward to create possible scenarios to improve this kitchen. The client was also open to exploring an option of expanding the kitchen with an addition off the back of the house. The first plan features the kitchen and total first floor renovation. The second plan features a large expanded kitchen off the back of the house facing the lake!  (Ooh la la!  This expanded plan helps the client to visualize the possibilities!)

To-Expand-Or-Not-To Expand-Exisiting-Plan



Voila! Here is all the scribbles and doodles converted into a more manageable form. Above is the client’s existing first floor plan.

Here are the Two Preliminary Plans: 



Plan 1: (without expansion)

Includes a spacious new kitchen, wet bar and relocation of the dining and living areas.  The living area was relocated because the existing space was very narrow and limited the furniture arrangement.  A small conversation seating area (shown as Living II) in front of the fireplace works better in the narrow space. The relocation of the laundry area opens up the kitchen.  Additional windows were added to the back of the home for maximum views of the lake. The added wet bar will increase the ease of entertaining. By taking down a few walls, we opened up this kitchen and created a well-functioning living space for entertaining.




Plan 2: (with expansion)

The addition off the back of house facilitates the expansion of the kitchen with a large island and additional storage. This plan keeps the formal dining area and central area (around the staircase) as drawn in the original plan. The living space is rearranged to include a TV viewing area adjacent to the lake and a small seating area in front of the fireplace. The laundry room is expanded slightly for more storage. The kitchen is the focus of this renovation. This plan also includes a large bar/buffet area for entertaining. Large windows are added to maximize views of the lake.  An additional less formal dining area is placed off the kitchen.  This plan truly is for a host that likes to entertain and cook!


After viewing both plans which do you prefer? Would you Expand (Plan 2) or Not Expand(Plan 1)? 

Leave a comment below telling us which is your favorite! I can’t wait to see what the client decides! Stay tuned to see!

-Happy Design Wisdom Wednesday! 

-See you next week!

-Dixie K




  1. […] great response with the last project preview which focused on a kitchen design decision: whether to expand or not expand.  I decided to share another design project that I’ve been working on:  The Quirky […]

  2. Dixie K Walker says:

    Thanks Michelle! It took me a longgggggggggg time working the first floor with no expansion to come up with something better than she had other than upgrading. But, I really love how the plan came out! It’s still very functional and I like the new Seating/Living space as well! More space to watch the upcoming Super Bowl with friends and family! =)

  3. Dixie K Walker says:

    That’s the key, Money is always a deciding factor too! I say if you have it go for it, there will not be any regrets! I love the addition of the island in the expansion and the location of the bar. This will be great for entertaining and circulation of guest in the space! It also interacts well with the other two dining areas.

    I also agree, bathrooms should be secluded. However, with budget in mind we focused on the expansion and tried to leave the other existing pieces of the 1st floor intact.

  4. Dixie K Walker says:

    I like Expansion 2 as well Peggy! The screened porch was placed here, because there is an existing one on the second story, so it made since to close the first floor under the existing. It could possibly go further left to expand the views of our gorgeous lake! I’m loving the feed back! Thank You for responding! =) DK

  5. Michelle Adams says:

    I LOVE this blog post! My vote is for the non-expansion. It would save money in the long run, and – wow! So much has been accomplished with just rearranging the existing space. Also, the living space in the non-expanded plan incorporates more people in one seating group (with additional quiet space separated from the larger group), while the living space in the expanded plan seems broken up and spread out. Just my “two-cents worth”! Either way, I know the final outcome is going to be great!

  6. Marysherwood says:

    Hi Peggy: Thanks for your comment. Totally agree…view is so important in every lake house. Still trying to decide about the screen porch. Stay tuned to see the final plans.
    Thanks for your comment and following our blog.

  7. Peggy Freeman says:

    Expansion Plan 2 gets my vote. I would like to see the screened porch moved to the left of the deck for more visual viewing of the lake from the living area. Life’s too short not to see every single
    inch of our beautiful lake! 🙂

  8. Marysherwood says:

    Hi Nancy: I understand your comment completely. The powder room is currently located in that position. With the proposed expansion we were trying not to relocate everything. The position of the powder room is not a high priority for our client. The plans are in the very early stage so there is still time to make adjustments. We will post the final drawings.
    Thanks for your comment and following our blog.

  9. Hasha says:

    With money being no object, I would go with the expansion but I do not like the half bath entrance from the dining room. I would put the guest bath in the hallway and make pantry space in the laundry room. I don’t think bath rooms should be where people are conversing or eating.

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