Our Decision Regarding The Addition (Plus, One Final Undecided Design Decision)

After reading all of your suggestions and input, and talking with Matt about the pros and cons of waiting vs. not waiting on the addition, we’ve decided to put the wheels in motion right at the beginning of 2023.

A lot of you brought up some really good points. First, contractors are never going to be available immediately when we decide we’re ready to move forward. We could be on a waiting list for six months or longer. They may not even be able to start until June or even later in the year.

And also, as so many of you pointed out, just because the addition is built and ready for me to add the finishing touches, that doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to start on it ASAP. If I’m not ready, I can wait until I’m ready.

But a friend of mine also brought up a very good point. As she was leaving our house the other day, she said, “Kristi, why do you park the van in front of your studio when you have to drive around to the back to put Matt in the van?” I explained that when it rains (and it had poured down rain that very morning), the side of the house gets really muddy to the point that I’ve gotten my car stuck in the mud over there on a few occasions. So if it rains really hard, Matt is stuck at home because I have no way to drive to the back since we have no driveway yet.

She said, “Well, that alone seems like a good reason to get the addition, and then the driveway, done ASAP.” She was right. I hadn’t considered that.

And one final point that so many of you brought up that stood out to me is that it’s highly unlikely that the cost of building supplies is going to go down. And in fact, the likelihood is that the prices will go up. So it makes little sense to wait.

With all of that said, I’m very excited to get the ball rolling at the beginning of the year. I do have to manage my expectations, because now that I’m in “ASAP mode“, I want it done NOW! 😀 But more than likely, this will be a very slow-rolling ball. We’ll make arrangements, and then have to do a whole lot of waiting — waiting for our turn with the contractor, waiting for plans to be drawn up and submitted to the city, waiting for permits, waiting for building supplies, waiting, waiting, waiting.

So even with our new plan of getting this ball rolling ASAP, I still don’t expect to have the contractor portion of the addition done until the end of 2023 or even the beginning of 2024. Then I can take over and do my part until each room is finished. So in my mind, we’re still looking at not having the full addition finished until mid- to late-2024.

Anyway, that’s the plan. So naturally, I’m excited, and I’ve been looking over the floor plan that I came up with to be sure that it’s exactly what I want, and that I don’t want to make any significant changes before passing them off to a contractor.

The one question that still remains in my mind is this wall in the kitchen. I’ve brought this up in a previous blog post (in 2018, I believe), but I’m still undecided about whether or not I want a cased opening into the new family room on this wall.

As things stand on the floor plan I have drawn up, the only entrance into the family room would be through the music room doors. The music room is right next to the kitchen, as you can see through the cased opening on the right in the picture below.

Here’s what the floor plan looks like if I keep the kitchen as is. The addition will include the master bedroom, walk-in closet, laundry room, and family room.

But I’m still wondering if I want to put that cased opening on that back wall of the kitchen. Here’s how it would look on the floor plan.

I know that the immediate response is probably going to be, “But you’ll lose so much storage!

I really wouldn’t, though.

If you were around back when I did the kitchen remodel, you might remember that I used stock upper cabinets for the lower cabinets. Back then, I had never built cabinets before, and I wasn’t confident enough to try to build the cabinets for the kitchen. So I was stuck trying to make it work with the stock cabinets that were available.

To make upper wall cabinets work as base cabinets, and not have them look skimpy and disproportionate in a kitchen, I not only built a base to set them on, but I also set them away from the wall quite a bit.

So while those finished cabinets may look like a standard depth kitchen cabinet (or close to it), the inside of those cabinets is only 12 inches deep.

On top of that, eight of the cabinets are only 12 inches wide. That was a design mistake I’ll never make again, because 12-inch-wide cabinets are too small to be useful for most things. Dinner plates won’t even fit in these cabinets. I’m not even joking or exaggerating.

So while I absolutely love the look of this wall, I don’t like the function of these cabinets at all. I’ve learned to live with them, and I’m so thankful that I have the large pantry to store overflow kitchen items in. But in hindsight, I wish I had made some drastically different design decisions for this wall.

Putting a cased opening on that wall would give me the opportunity to redo the storage and correct my mistakes from eight years ago. I did a very quick (and not so great) mock up of what I’m thinking. I’d have two tall storage cabinets flanking the cased opening into the family room. (And no, our family room would look nothing like that. 😀 )

This type of storage, which would be deeper and have pull-out shelves, would be way more practical than the eight 12″ x 12″ cabinets that I have now that can’t even hold a dinner plate.

The drawbacks? Well, those include (1) having my now-finished kitchen under construction…again, (2) losing what I think is the prettiest wall of my kitchen (and that I really have learned to live with), (3) arranging furniture in the family room with an additional doorway (the more doorways into a room, the more challenging furniture arrangement becomes) and (3) opening up the line of sight from the street straight through the living room, through the kitchen, and into the family room.

That last one is the biggest issue for me. I really like the idea of the family room being tucked away at the back of the house and not visible from the street, especially if we’re in there at night. (Yes, I realize I could close my front living room shades 😀 , but I never do, and I probably won’t start now.) But also, now that we’re having people in our home more often, the idea of opening up that wall seems more practical and crowd-friendly.

I’m still undecided and weighting the pros and cons of each design. This is the last big decision I need to make before passing off the design to a contractor.



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  1. There’s a third choice – redo your kitchen cabinets to better suit your needs without opening up the wall. You can create a similar look with better function. I also think you may want a little sound separation that will allow you to have a quiet chat in the kitchen when there’s a big game on in the family room. And the access is convenient from the kitchen anyway.

      1. I noticed on the original that it looks like you were planning a fireplace with maybe shelving. The 2nd one it’s gone. Is that in trying to center the door on both walls? I would not give up the fireplace for the door. I think you would regret it. The door in the music room is very close to the kitchen & the majority of your guest will go from the living room to the family room as there is no seating in the kitchen. I wouldn’t do a door. If when you get your breakfast room back & have refreshments in there your crowd will be too large to stay in there so they will go to the other rooms. If you feel tou really need the storage in the kitchen change the cabinets out.

    1. That is what I would do too. And make floor to ceiling pull out drawer pantries on the right & left side of the back kitchen wall & keep the beautiful center units. But if you don’t need the storage, why change it at all?

  2. For what’s worth I would not want my kitchen to feel like a walk through hallway.
    The wall is stunning and like you said you don’t need the storage (brilliant pantry), I personally vote to keep the wall.

    1. I agree with all these. That’s a big NO for me opening up that kitchen wall. Too many openings already plus another would really make your kitchen feel very small in a big house. I also love that wall of beautiful cabinets, plus you’d lose counter space.
      So IMHO, leave the kitchen wall as is.

      1. Couldn’t you create another set of the sliding doors you have in the music room? That would help block line of sight from the front of the house, and add some nice symmetry when you’re in the family room looking at that wall (rather than doors on the right and a cased opening in the left)

    2. Right . I wouldn’t want the kitchen to become a hallway either. The wall is beautiful & if you don’t need the storage I’d keep as is. You’ve got enough to do.

  3. It’s just a matter of deciding how you live. I totally understand liking the idea of having a cozy corner of the house tucked away from the world, I like that too. Will you not like having everyone in the family room and not being a part of the conversation if you are in the kitchen?
    I would also do a mock up of possible furniture arrangements, I’m sure you have a idea of what type of furniture you want, to see if it will work with the opening. Nothing more frustrating then not being able to have the arrangement you want because of doors or windows! So excited for you either way!

    1. I think I read through all the comments and did not see Matt’s wheelchair access addressed anywhere. Looking at the overall floor plan as a former in home rehab nurse, my first thought was about Matt’s ability to easily access ALL areas of his home now as well as in the coming years. What might be only a few steps for an ambulatory individual could mean a lot more effort required for anyone in a wheelchair. What does Matt think?
      Classy Kristi custom barn doors or pocket doors would give the option of a closed or open wall at any given time.

  4. My first thought when you said cased opening into the living room was furniture layout – you will be limiting your options. Plus the line of sight from the front of the house. I would want the family room to feel more informal and cozy (i.e. can let it look more lived in and people can’t see it upon walking into the house).

    As for how it effects the kitchen, I think it has the potential to make it feel a bit too broken up. Open layout via cased openings.

    And finally, what is stopping you from rebuilding the lower kitchen cabinets in a wider and deeper configuration solely for the reason that you don’t like the functionality? You don’t need to use the family room build as an excuse. One of the things I’ve always admired about you is that if you don’t like the way your project turned out, you just re-do it. No learning to live with it – just do it again until it’s exactly what you want!

    1. I also think you would be happier rebuilding the lower kitchen cabinets on that wall. And now you know how to do it!

  5. I love the idea of opening the back wall of your kitchen! If you think you need more cabinet storage, you could do built ins along the wall in the family room on the right side of the new opening. It could include a space for a tv and gaming equipment, plus overflow kitchen storage.

    I’m so glad you are going ahead with your plan!

    1. Hi Kristi,
      Have you considered an interior window type opening for the wall between the kitchen and the new family room? It can be cased and closed as needed with shutters, sliding panels etc. It would allow furniture/cabinet placement below the ledge on both sides. The kitchen cabinets could be replaced by deeper drawers now that your cabinet making skills are improved. On the family room side the area could serve as a serving buffet and would help you not feel isolated in the kitchen. I would be happy to share pictures of a similar solution we used in our home to open the formal dining room to the family room. We used wood shutters to close the opening when needed.

      1. This is what I was thinking! A friend of mine has this, and she set it up as a bar when having large gatherings. You could get one of those counter top ice makers, and have an assortment of glassware and cocktail napkins, with pitchers of beverages ( water with lemon, iced tea, a fruity drink, etc.) It gives separation, but not isolation. The countertop could be a gorgeous piece of stone or quartz, to jazz it up as a serving area.

  6. Whatever you choose, I’m sure it will turn out stunning! Pick what works best for you and Matt and not so much the esthetics.

  7. A couple of things to consider:

    1. Is the back kitchen wall load bearing? It looks to be. And that will make it much more expensive to modify.

    2. Will you be putting a dining area into the new family room? From what you have, the answer is no. You will not really need to cross back and forth often.

    3. Rooms with too many door openings do not feel very cozy, intimate, or welcoming, not to mention that they are hard to place furniture in. Think back to how many times you have changed your furniture arrangement in your living room!

    I think you would regret opening the back kitchen wall to make two openings into the family room.

    1. It’s definitely load-bearing. That’s the original back exterior wall of the house. That’s the reason I did the cheater style of “pocket” doors in the music room. 😀 I didn’t want expend the time or the cost it would take to do real pocket doors in a load-bearing exterior wall.

  8. My first thought was no to the doorway in the kitchen, but then I thought about it and I like a good traffic flow and the cabinet idea you came up is brilliant and would be so useful. I think swinging doors or a pocket door between the kitchen and the new family room would solve the see through the house issue, plus it would keep kitchen cooking smells out of that room as well. I hate when open concept kitchens lead to cooking smells throughout the whole house. My kitchen is tucked to side of the house and I prefer it that way. The previous owner took down the french doors and I’ve considered putting them back up many times.

    1. Christine is correct. The back wall of the kitchen is definitely a bearing wall. Removing the studs from a bearing wall requires that you install a beam across the top of the open span to carry the load that those studs previously carried to the columns adjacent to the span. Installing pocket doors in a bearing wall increases the width of the open span because you can’t have studs behind that section of the wall either, requiring an even larger header (depth and width as well as length) header over the opening, which in turn, increases the cost. It also raises the question of how Kristi and Matt want the roofline over the addition. Will the roof line ridge run from left to right parallel to the current roof ridge in that section of the house? Or will it run perpendicular and tie into the existing roof. Either way creates structural issues as the wall will have to carry the additional load of the new roof.

      1. PS. If I’m remembering correctly, the “pocket doors” in the music room aren’t really pocket doors. Rather Kristi hung the hardware on the wall like a “barn door” and then built the bookcases in front to hide them when opened. That eliminates the need for a “pocket” for the doors to retract into and removing a bunch of studs in a bearing wall. I might be remembering wrong though (I didn’t check back on the earlier posts).

        1. It would not be hard to reverse that and have sliding barn type doors to close off a door way on the family room side. I was leaning to having a window instead of a doorway. Using it as a pass through for snacks and drinks.
          The cabinets are lovely, but if they don’t function well, that would be the time to redo them.
          But I love a totally open concept so I’d take down the whole wall, but that is just me. That is if you have enough storage and counters if it was removed.
          Size wise your about 3′, 36″ door’ and 3′ if you did it like your mock up.
          Lots to concider, but I know you’ll get it like you want and need it, so can’t wait to see the new things happening.
          Hope you two have a very blessed and Merry Christmas, and a great New Year!

  9. I love either idea but I especially love the two pantries on either side of that opening. If nothing fits in those cabinets anyway, why not?

  10. I vote for the opening. If you don’t add it you will probably end up keeping the music room doors open for easy access and the family room will be seen from the front anyway. You can install pocket doors to the kitchen opening to close it off at night. I love following along and the way you consider actually living in your rooms (unlike others).

  11. I wouldn’t do it. You can easily go through the music room. I hate a room with a lot of openings. I would however redo that wall in the kitchen. But make it look like it does now with wider cabinets!! I know you’ve learned to live with them but that is just not practical. I’m glad you aren’t waiting because you are right — it will probably take quite a while to get it all done from the contractor side…

  12. If you open up a doorway from the kitchen, could you then close the opening between the music room and kitchen and have a full wall of cabinets there?

    1. I think that would make it more difficult for Matt to maneuver through the house. And it would limit furniture placement in the family room because I’d have to make sure that there’s plenty of room for Matt to maneuver from the music room, through the family room, and into the kitchen. and breakfast room.

      1. I’d close the wall to the formal living room / entry. I know you didn’t open it up that long ago, but it has served its purpose well by making that room more accessible to the kitchen. Now you’ll have a family room -that- is the room that needs easy kitchen access, for night snacking and entertaining.

        That solves the sight-line problem and makes the living room more formal, whilst maintaining easy access for Matt through the music room . You could even recreate a version of the wall you love so much!

  13. Like you said that is the prettiest wall in the kitchen…but I understand the privacy issue. And it would mean so may doorways into the Living area. Here is a thought…I lived in a house, as a matter of fact in Texas , and we had a serving opening between the kitchen and living area. I loved it. It would eliminate the need to get food and other things from the kitchen to the living are. And if you do not open this wall in some way you will have to go through the Music room and then into the living area…not good when food is involved. And by having an opening of above the floor cabinets you still have some storage. It is like a window opening above them. And you could install some shutters or something to close off that opening when you want the privacy. I think it is a great idea…but then I am sitting in my house and you have to actually live in yours. 🙂 I would keep the bottom cabinets as is….they are so gorgeous.

  14. You didn’t mention you’ll also loose counter space-which is very important when hosting. The music room door is only a few feet away. I believe it’s a pocket door as well – which is perfect- it can stay open. I vote leave kitchen as is . Great decision to move forward now. There are so many pieces involved.

    1. This was my first thought as well! I can live without the extra few cabinets but the counter space…. now that I wouldn’t want to give up!

    2. Yes! I was like, it’s not the cabinet storage that would bother me to lose but the COUNTER. I don’t have enough counter space in my current kitchen and it’s so frustrating.

  15. I wouldn’t open that wall. It’s not inconvenient to go around that corner. A little separation from the kitchen is not a bad thing.

  16. Kristi- I completely get all of those pros & cons. My one question would be- do you need a door from the music room and from the kitchen. Couldn’t you just do one or the other? Or am I missing the information that you would be doing one or the other not both? Either way I’m sure you will do a great job just like always. I love that you are willing to share your “I wish J had done this differently’s” with us!

  17. If it will not make putting furniture in the new room too difficult I’d add a doorway. But I’d duplicate the doors from the other room and put pocket doors in the opening. This would allow privacy when you want it but allow a good flow when you have lots of company. Putting a hole in that wall would also force you to redo those cabinets to be more functional. If it were me I’d never redo them because they are so pretty unless something else forced my hand.

  18. I think it depends on how exactly you’ll be using the family room. If there are meals or snacking or parties going on in there, you or someone would be carrying platters or trays from and to the kitchen through the music room to get to the family room and back. If all your serious entertaining is going to happen in the living room or studio, then I guess food service doesn’t enter into your decision.

    Also, have you considered consulting someone who understands feng shui? Or is that too woo-woo for you?

    1. That’ was my suggestion. Think seriously about how you’ll use the room and what your walk pattern will be for each option. I think a door into the family room would be ideal and maybe close up access to the music room from the kitchen. I think you’ll end up in the new space more than anywhere else in the house and you’ll want access to the kitchen more than acess to the music room.

  19. I like the full wall of cabinets, and the kitchen already has little wall space, plus it will limit options in the family room. If you were wanting an easier way to get food items from the kitchen to the family room, let’s say, setting up a a larger table, just for Thanksgiving in that room, Maybe a hidden pass through (for drinks, pop corn, etc.)built into a kitchen cupboard, and something creatively built on the family room side that completely disguises, or looks integrated into the room.

  20. At first I screamed NO😱😱😱!!!
    but as usual your redesign for the kitchen opening, and your fabulous pantry, convinced me it’s not as outrageous as I thought. I had similar feelings about the opening in the kitchen to the LR. And that worked out just fine. So my 2¢ is do what works for you, either way will be
    Kristi-Fabulous 😃😃😃

  21. Kristi, I love everything you have done to this little house! I have a question.. Why do you have a music room? Do y’all use it? I would have omitted the music room and made the kitchen bigger. My house is an open concept and i love that when we entertain. Personally I wouldn’t open that wall. Just my two cents.
    Can’t wait to see what you will do next.
    Merry Christmas from Dallas

  22. If you don’t want to see the family room from the street leave the wall but redo the cabinets. It is a great look and gives you counter space. Or try to modify the cabinets without ripping them out. If anyone can do it, you can.

  23. Opening it up would allow you to keep an eye on the dog out in the backyard from the kitchen as well which might be nice as well as easily carry things from the kitchen to the deck you were planning in the backyard. I would do an opening after considering furniture placement in the new family room. If the opening doesn’t make sense with furniture placement then I might reconsider it.

  24. Here is my thinking on the walkthrough, would it drive you nuts to not have the current walkthrough to the living room from the kitchen especially when entertaining? I live in an older home that sometimes feels like a maze of walls. That doorway sounds extremely convenient in the long run. So, to me it’s a matter of is a few more steps to the music room for access (and possibly a bottle neck situation with people too) a big deal to you or is the aesthetics of that GORGEOUS wall and finishes kitchen more important. To me there isn’t really a wrong answer, it’s just which one do you want to mess with. One just costs $$$$! Haha

  25. MY family room is tucked away on the back of my house. You have to go thru the kitchen and utility room to get to it. I love that it is far away from the living room!! And I only have the one doorway into the laundry room. We had windows put in all cross the east side of the addition and french doors on the south side onto the patio and into the back yard!! I love being here in the evening!! I would leave the kitchen as is!! I think it is beautiful and you will be tucked away in the evening and be nice and cozy!! I know we are!!

    Just a thought!!

  26. I think it would come down to how convenient would it be for Matt?
    1. Open window with retractable doors would be awesome if not needed
    2. If need opening, again doors that look like cupboard doors or a secret opening!! Cupboards on one side and shelves on the other.
    but ultimately what would work the best for Matt.

    1. This was my thought as well – would having an opening help with navigating Matt from the new living room to the dining room? As well as moving his lift from one room to another?
      I like the idea of a pocket door so you can have privacy at night, but keep it open during the day when you’re both moving from room to room.

  27. You have so many sitting/little rooms, which are perfect with your current size house/layout, but with the huge addition in the back, do you think you need them all? You could combine the kitchen and music room into one large kitchen with an island looking onto the addition/family room. Then may block opening from. The front of the house to the music room and make a great focal wall when you enter. Then maybe widen the opening to the kitchen where it is. You wouldn’t see the kitchen as you walk in and you and Matt could enjoy the privacy in the back side of the house. I know this redoes a lot of your beautiful work, but might work out better in the long run? Just spit balling. It’s going to be fun watching what you do.

    1. That should say “then maybe block the current opening from foyer to music room” and make a great focal wall/true entry space.

  28. You probably have brainstormed this idea already.
    An option would be when framing in that wall put everything in place for a doorway before the dry wall goes up. Live with it closed for a time and if you decide to open it, the studs and support for a doorway are in place.

    1. I second this. You are going to have plenty to do with finishing the family room, bedroom and laundry room without rebuilding a section of your kitchen at the same time if it really isn’t going to gain you significant functionality or improve your traffic patterns.

      I would live with your intended floor plan for a while and see how it feels once you’ve finished the new spaces and see how they function. If you are intending on hosting more often I think turning your kitchen into a huge hallway to your addition will not be convenient at all. The loss of counter space will be a pain too – take it from someone who used to host gatherings in a house that had five openings from the kitchen. It was a horror show.

  29. I vote to leave the family room and kitchen wall up. Having recently hosted and been a guest at various parties, the kitchen as a pass through is annoying at best and dangerous at worst. Also what everyone said about noise control, having one circle of friends in a heated discussion while others prefer to stay quiet means separate spaces is needed. You already have an open layout with most of the house, you don’t need to add more openings to keep the space cohesive. Otherwise would love to see you redo the cabinets the way you want them to be, this is my favorite wall in your house too!

  30. Make barn doors to close off when you want.I am guessing the family room is the most used, so the convenience would really work

  31. If people are in the living room, will they be able to see dirty dishes and things piled on the counter? All the open sightlines might mean more headaches? I tend to get distracted if I’m in one room and see something that needs to be adjusted or cleaned up in the other room.

  32. Why have two doors so close together? It makes extra expenses and work not to mention more mess. My opinion is to leave your very nice kitchen as is.

  33. The first thought that comes to my mind is you really don’t want to have to walk through the music room to get snacks etc from the kitchen. So I think the cased opening with the tall cabinets is a great idea. I’m also exciting about your decision to press on with the addition. You will be so happy you did.

  34. I really like the idea of having an opening from the kitchen into the family room. However, this would mean you would lose the counter space on that wall. But having lower and upper cabinets rather than the floor-to-ceiling cabinets in your mockup would help with that. You could still have a coffee station and other counter space on that wall. The line of sight from the front room to the family room could be easily remedied by closing the front blinds. We always have closed our blinds at night, just because I have a phobia about someone outside looking into our home at night, lol. But an opening into the family room from the kitchen would be really convenient when having guests over, imho.

  35. I would vote a big NO opening the wall to the kitchen. You could certainly modify the cabinets if you really felt necessary but I think too many openings. Looks quite user friendly to me to just walk through the music room.

  36. I wonder how it would be to do away with the music room altogether and have a huge kitchen? Then you could have a doorway (or opening) into the family room with great kitchen access.

  37. I think do it, if you are okay with the additional work and descions involved.

    For it: Symmetry with pocket doors like from the music room. You can close it for privacy or open as needed. This will mirror the doors you have on the other side. Choosing newer functional cabinetry.

    Against it: Building new cabinetry, re do that bit of floor for the threshold, new counters. Working on the tile. Lastly like other noted will that more open layout work for you?

  38. Looking at it from the point of view of the family room looking towards the front of the house, it would be like “which door do I go through?” to get to the same place, i.e., the kitchen. Plus I liked the look of the wall in your design with the cabinets and possibly a fireplace. Adding a door from the kitchen seems superfluous and takes up too much area that could be used for cozy seating. The current layout in the kitchen seems fine plus you would still have the counter for plating out food when hosting events in the family room that would be out of the main area in the kitchen yet right nearby. Exciting that you are thinking about this sooner rather than later!!

  39. I think you answered your own question. You love the look of that wall. You don’t want an unobstructed view from the street. You want more design options for furniture arrangement. Those all immediately popped up for me. I am old school and have never loved open concept and everyone looking at my kitchen all the time. Or myself looking at my kitchen all the time. I like the entrance being through the music room. You will also go back and forth through the bedroom more, I think, than those other pathways, when you and Matt are home alone.

    1. I agree with you Jayme, she answered her own questions…!!! Then to what another person stated that she would lose some countertop to set food on when she has her big gatherings..
      I love that wall of cabinets too, they are beautiful…!!!

  40. I’d open it and either do pocket doors or hang some nice curtains that you can close when you want the back room to feel more enclosed. That might also soften things up a bit and be something a little different from more pocket doors in the same room. And if you don’t like you them you take them down no problem. I’m also thinking of your husbands mobility. Easier with more openings.

  41. All great objections to not having the opening. Add that the kitchen would really have a lot of doors!!! The line of sight one would make me say no.

  42. This is beyond the scope of what you are asking about at the moment but I have wondered about a better dining space for you all….especially if you are hosting more guests at home (i.e., you hosted Thanksgiving this year if I understood correctly). At some point in the future, you might could move your kitchen where your breakfast nook is and then use the kitchen area and some of the music room space as a larger dining area opening into the family room. Your guests could use the dining, family and hall bathroom areas. Just a thought!

    You are so very talented! Thanks for the encouragement you provide to others!

  43. I think the bigger concern with an opening from the kitchen, for me, would be that the music room has openings on all 4 walls, the kitchen would have openings on all 4 walls and so would the family room.

    This limits what you can do furniture wise in those spaces, mostly the family room. When I look at the mock up I wonder, where is the TV in the family room going? Is it on the wall with two doors to the backyard? The wall with 2 doors going to the music room and kitchen? The wall with a door to the ramp/carport? The wall on the other side of the laundry room?

    I would suggest making some layouts on paper and seeing how navigating those spaces work both for flow/walking and with a wheelchair. Spatially, I would rather walk 10 steps through the music room to the family room but if it’s still an open question, build the addition without the doorway knowing you can update in 2024 or later.

  44. If you close up the opening from the kitchen to the music room, you gain that space back to the kitchen. It is easy enough to slip around either way thru the family room or living room. I like the option of the 2 openings to the family room via music room and kitchen. It seems more practical and good flow. You could also have frosted doors in that opening so if you want the privacy but don’t want to walk all the way to close the living room curtains.

  45. Ok, my turn. Seems like everyone wants the open concept so that you can be part of the goings on in the other room, BUT your kitchen will be very small if you put an opening there. You already have a big opening into the family room through the music room which is right next to the kitchen. Then you would have two big openings within a few feet of each other. Then you have doors coming into that room from the bedroom area and possibly from the family room to the ramp right outside the family room if you happen to put one there for easy access to the ramp/carport. So my two cents is redo that cabinet wall the way you want it and just use the one big opening from the music room.

    1. also, where do you eat? The breakfast area has your recliners there. Do you plan on a table and chairs in the family room? Or are you taking back the breakfast area when the new addition is built?

  46. Kristi, I think having a direct connection between your kitchen and your family room is brilliant. Particularly when entertaining, it would be great to have access for food service without being required to carry the food through your music room. My sister created a cased opening between her kitchen and great room that includes a breakfast bar on the great room side. It is both convenient, and allows the cook to be part of the gathering. I have a number of photos that I could provide for you but I do not know how to send them. Please let me know if you would like to see them.

  47. I think I would not do the door from the kitchen for a couple of reasons if it were my house. Cost since it is load bearing and reconfiguring your cabinets to get a better layout for yourself would be grand. Personally, for myself I would rather not have everyone going through the kitchen including animals with lots of dust. We have so much dust in our area due to lack of rain so that impacts my thinking here. Add ons are so exciting. I can’t wait to see it.

  48. Have to agree with a lot of the comments here. By having the two entrances so close together I’m not sure what value that adds. You can redo the storage and keep the kitchen as charming as it is. But I wouldn’t want an entrance into my family room from the kitchen. It cuts down on the privacy and coziness of both rooms. It also makes one wall of the family room pretty limited on space. Excited to see what you do, no matter what you choose!

  49. I know it smacks of mid-century, but what about just a pass-through, one that can be closed off when messy or smelly cooking is going on and you don’t want to disturb the activity in the back room? If not, then I would advocate for a way to close off that cased opening, for the same reason. There are some times when you want to be able to hide the kitchen from the family room.

  50. I think that leaves a lot of openings in your kitchen. The only way it would work for me is if you had a free standing island in the kitchen with seating facing that family room side…. The storage could go underneath the island.

  51. I love the idea of opening up that wall, why not put glass interior doors you can close with a curtain on each door so when you want privacy, you can close the doors? I think that would make for better flow into the family room off the kitchen and a straight shot from the front door to the family room for entertaining friends in there.

  52. My immediate response is to open the wall and then I continued reading the blog post and I still think opening the wall is the way to go.

  53. I enjoy reading your blog and I love your plans for the addition. May I make one suggestion? Wouldn’t it be convenient to have a door between your laundry room and your master bedroom walk-in closet? It seems like it would be super helpful to be able to bring laundry straight from the laundry room into the closet or bedroom. Just a thought… looking forward to seeing the finished project!

  54. I love the idea of the kitchen opening to family room. Perhaps you could put some kind of privacy screen on your living room windows that let in all the light but people can’t see through clearly from the outside. Just a thought. Love your colorful decorating style.

  55. I do not know how large the wall is , could you redo lower cab to look like an island with support columns so as to not have the price of a beam, then creating a walkway on each side for the entrance to den. Not sure I am explaining this well. My first thought was leave things as they are but i do not live with someone who needs better access to rooms. You have to do what this the best layout for your convenience to get Matt from room to room.

  56. We just did a 20X20 porch/family room:
    o. we had 2 doors, + fire place stove which had code requirements, about 50 feet of window. Factoring furniture for seating, reading, table for gaming/eating, tv for glare(however new tvs are pretty good), walkways …. well it gets to be tricky.

    We did zone lighting (4). All could be on, or various options + all dimmable. We also maximized air flow for heating & cooling, and like pass through light from south side room windows to north side room windows so can walk through most of the day without turning on a light (if more doors more 2 way & 3 way switches).

    Kitchen noise, mess & smell is not visible from living or family room.

    Astoundingly tv sound from the porch travels well through the house, even down the hall into the bedroom if too loud & the French doors are open.

    You may benefit from our accidentally learning about doors. We ended up replacing the original patio door with a double handicapped exterior door. It looks like a French door, has a zero threshold. Because our porch family room was considered 3 season it required an exterior door. Turns out the double handicapped door swinging from the dining room into the porch was a great option available in the size we needed. The PLUS…. so much cheaper for the handicapped version .

    While your application might be different exploring handicapped doors could be a great option going from the family room outside. In our case we were putting a luxury vinyl tile in the porch that was code for broad temperature fluctuations so we weren’t matching flooring. Perhaps there are tax breaks and medical coverage for some of these features and adaptations?

  57. I know you would hate to hear this, but why not put the wall back where you have a doorway from living room to kitchen? Then you would have a better placement for chairs in the front room, block the “see thru from front to back” , and you could still travel through the music room. (Although if it were my house, I would move the piano into the new family room, and convert the music room into a bigger kitchen.) You could do the pass thru opening on the kitchen wall where you are considering an opening, but use lower cabinet drawers and maybe open glass shelving above for decorative objects or glassware.

  58. Kristi, I think it’s a no-brainer……. open up that wall!!
    My first thought was how much easier it might be for Matt to navigate into the family room from your breakfast room. Secondly, it just seems logical to be able to see what’s going on in the family room from your kitchen, especially if you’re entertaining. Not having the opening would cut you off from your guests who would probably be gathering in the family room pre-dinner/lunch etc.
    Regarding being able to see right through from your front door to the family room, perhaps you could engineer some double doors on piano hinges for the opening, to enable them to fold back flat to the new cupboard carcasses. Just to be used at night?
    My thoughts…. good luck making a decision 😁

  59. Wow, that is a difficult decision for sure. I love it both ways and the tall cabinets would look beautiful as well. Can you reuse the cabinets you would remove to make room for opening in the family room??

  60. Have you considered removing the Music Room altogether? I’m not sure about weight-bearing, structure and so on. If the walls of the Music Room are removed, you would have an open concept kitchen / family room / breakfast room space. Your entire home would have a much better flow. It would be a very big project, but you have never been afraid of a very big project.

  61. What if you just made a pass-through instead of a full opening? This would be a great discussion with a contractor/designer when you get things rolling! Please be sure to share that conversation when it happens. 😄

  62. Wow! So many comments. I’m not sure if anyone suggested this or not because I haven’t read through all comments, but what about this idea: instead of having the opening from the music room and now adding another opening from the kitchen, what if you only have ONE opening that is centered between the two rooms? That way it’s not a straight sight line from the front door, it eliminates an additional opening and keeps it to just one (ad originally planned) and the opening is centered between the music room and family room. I realize it means a lot of tear out of beautifully completed projects, but you sound like you are definitely okay with changing that kitchen cabinetry wall. You could reuse the music room doors on your newly centered opening, or just not have doors. Whatever you do will be gorgeous!

  63. I see your point about the current cabinets. A piece of advice: Make the 2 new cabinets at least 30″ wide each. I have 2 pantry style cabinets that are 24″ wide X 24″ deep. Major PITA to get to anything in the back. I am getting my new house cabinets from Cabinets To Go, They are ready to assemble but are solid wood and 30″ wide by 24″ deep. Obviously you could build your own. Just don’t get stuck on 24″ width. I can’t get both arms into them to pick up anything over 15 lbs but then again, I’m an old fart!
    On the other hand, I would not like another door in the kitchen. Makes the room looked chopped up. At the very least, you might consider full base cabinets with a pass-thru type bar there. Still open to LR for serving food/drinks but physically blocks entry. That would give you plenty of storage below and maybe an upper on each side that’s 18-24″ wide. Big enough for dishes! Shutters would look good to close it off. Wouldn’t have to be louvered (cleaning! UGH!) and you could build them yourself. Could even extend the countertop to make an eating surface with some bar stools there.

  64. Leave your beautiful kitchen alone. You will never get your projects finished if you keep doing them over and over. Go thru the music room to get to the family room. No more doors in the
    kitchen. Once the addition is finished, you can go back and do something to your kitchen if you are still wanting to.

    Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  65. Kristi,
    I’m curious….how much do you really use the music room? I can’t recall any mentions in blog posts after it was finished. Just wondering if it couldn’t be repurposed to help with the design.


  66. hi kristi, not sure if you have ever thought of making a doorway in the family room that would open to and attach to the turning part of the ramp for matt, that way you would have a secondary exit an not have to go all around the house to bring him out, you could just go from the master bedroom to that doorway, just a thoughtl.

  67. It was a full-time job reading the comments. Wow! Quite a response and no clear-cut solution, given the diverse opinions.

    Seems to me the discussion centered on the kitchen, not the new family room. As it is, your kitchen is by no means large. Seems to me you need all the counter space you can get (or keep.)

    I have mostly rhetorical questions.
    1. Do you have a clear furniture selection plan rolling around in your head? What pieces to seat how many?
    2. TV placement to avoid glare?
    3. Will the room include an activity area for Matt?
    4. Are you willing to live with more traffic if you open up another doorway in the kitchen?
    5. Will there be sit-down meal space somewhere besides the breakfast room?
    6. Or, do you only do casual when entertaining so guests juggle plates on their knees?
    7. Is there really music emanating from that room, which seems more like a hallway?
    8. Does anybody sit on that coral loveseat regularly or is it only for decoration?
    9. Could the “music room” be repurposed, if not now, perhaps later?
    10. If there were a straight-shot view of the family room from the front door, do you want it visible? (I can’t imagine you want to deal with shutting doors or putting up a barrier.)
    11. If you have adequate available storage now in the kitchen/pantry, surely seldom-used little stuff can fit in the too-small cabinets? Is rebuilding really a priority?

    Well, there could be more questions, but no need to add them. Your mind is already full of options, I’m sure. Have a great bubble bath and ponder on.

  68. Totally off topic comment incoming…
    Would you consider bringing back “Make It Happen Monday” around summertime? You know, when the weather allows working on projects no matter where people live.
    I live in a self-built tiny home. It needs heavy maintenance, which is only possible in nice weather. I’m also redoing a vintage motorcoach. It also requires nice weather, as I have to do all my work outside, on the ground.
    I know this comes completely out of left field. So please consider it a plaintive request from a single woman who could use accountability. 🥰

  69. Super unpopular opinion here I’m sure. Knock out the wall between the kitchen and music room and make it all kitchen. 😬 You could better incorporate the kitchen and family room together still allowing a lot of open space for Matt’s wheelchair. You could have a large eating bar going through the middle and then a wall of cabinets on the left wall. Could probably even fit in a desk area into it.

  70. Personally, I definitely would open the living space to the kitchen. I find that when entertaining, the kitchen seems to be a place where people congregate. And if a game is on (or something else going on in the family room) and I have to be in the kitchen, I want to be part of the excitement! (And yes, I do have a TV in my kitchen, even though I rarely turn it on since I can see our big screen from the kitchen.) I also prefer an open concept so I don’ feel closed in. My kitchen is a good size, but feels even bigger because of the openness. I know that everyone doesn’t feel the same. Whatever you do, I know you will make the right decision for you and Matt! Good luck! I’m excited to see the family room begin to take shape!

  71. Kristi, I love the flow on the floor plan with the from the kitchen to the family room. It’ll make entertaining so much easier to have a direct connection to the kitchen. And your concern about the site line from the street? A kitchen door would solve that problem, even it it has glass panes.

  72. I say wait to decide about the cased opening. It’s 100% in your abilities to create one later if the flow into the family room bothers you over the years. That is a very pretty wall in the kitchen and you’d loose wall space in the family room. I’d also worry about the view into the family room. In your mock up the view is centered on the family room. I don’t imagine the real life angles being the same. I’d rather have the closed wall than an open view that looks onto weirdness because the family room is centered in the room and not in that second cased opening. I might be over thinking it. 🙂

  73. I would leave the kitchen as is as it would be hard for Matt to make the turn to go into the new family room. My brother was in a wheelchair most of his life, where ever it was a sharp turn the wall or cabinet was damaged…(Matt is probably a better driver however) Also the short hall and door to the master bedroom, I would make that a little wider for Matt. I enjoy all of your projects.

  74. I haven’t seen anybody make this comment so I’ll just throw it out there. At what point does THE HOUSE cease to be the focal point of your guys life. You could build and remodel forever. When do you get to the point that you use the studio for what you intended, etc, etc. Why add another door and complications into your life when it is gorgeous as it is. Just sayin.

  75. I’m so impressed by your skills and your home!!

    I don’t recall but was there ever a thought of making the music room part of the kitchen? Removing the wall between the music room and kitchen would give a very large kitchen that would naturally flow into the family room. You may have already addressed this idea, I’m not sure. Would depend on whether you use the music room or not.

  76. A bit late here, but as I have a room with too many openings… DON’T. The furniture arrangement will become challenging, yes, but also, the kitchen is not supposed to be corridor-like. And this is what will probably happen if you open another door there. My main problem with my room, other than the furniture, is that it’s a room without a focus. Too many openings all around it, too little “solid” parts in it, feels weird at times.

    Besides, visitors coming in are going to be coming through the entrance door, which is facing directly the music room door. It makes zero sense for them to come through the kitchen. As for people that are already in the house (maybe wanting to go from the living room to the family room, if you have lots of people at a time), you also don’t want them using your kitchen as a corridor, where there will presumably be people working.

    I would just merge those small cupboards into one, and have them have double doors or something (that’s what I thought you had, tbh).

  77. This may have been mentioned but look at the HGTV 2023 Dream Home. There’s a really cool door that is a book shelf that opens into another room.

  78. I wouldn’t do it. This is still a great space to store and goods and the like. I feel it would take away from the special look of your kitchen.

  79. Late to the game… As someone else mentioned, I would totally incorporate the music room into a larger kitchen and have one large opening into the family room turning the combo into a great room. Put the piano on the inner wall backing the bedroom closet/laundry room and there’s no need for a separate music room. Put a nice sized island with an appropriate height counter/table for Matt at one end for hanging out with you and/or dining. Since you’d now have eating space you could even turn the breakfast room into a music room if you really need it separated. As far ass sight lines go, close the blinds, lol or put a French door into the living room. If you absorb the existing music room into kitchen you can easily close that door off so the only thing anyone will see from the front door would be a wall- or put double French doors into your new huge kitchen.

    Our kitchen/family/great room is in the center of the house and is open to everything. It works great for entertaining and perfect for snuggling in front of fireplace or tv. We have a raised height peninsula counter dividing kitchen from family room that will soon be reconfigured to regular counter height because it’s too much of a separation between kitchen and family room.