As I’ve mentioned before, I’m taking design classes at night to help release my creative side. I took a Drawing class about two years ago and despite the $150 in art supplies we were required to purchase, it was actually a great class. It was specifically for interior design students so two of the main assignments required you to submit a fully designed room interior completely drawn by hand. It was a great introduction to drawing in perspective which is something I always thought artists just instinctively knew how to do. As it turns out, it’s really just a bit of geometry and the ability to drawn straight lines. Who knew?
With this new found genius (trick), my first assignment was a living room. Everyone had to draw the same room (two windows, fireplace on the back wall and at least 1 couch and coffee table), but how the room actually ‘looked’ was up to each person. I decided to make the room into a rustic log cabin, set somewhere in the mountains. I think it turned out pretty good, however the colours of the rug and other furnishings were more a result of the colours I had in my pencil case, than colours I would actually use in this room if it existed.
My second assignment was a two-perspective drawing, which is basically when you look into the corner of a room, not at a wall straight-on. I chose to draw a baby’s nursery thinking it would be fun and a little more creative than a regular bedroom. But then I had to draw the crib… which was not fun. All those straight lines, drawn in pencil, then black pen. It was so tricky keeping all of the lines in order! Although it turned out OK, I was definitely cursing my nursery theme at that point. In the end, the room turned out nice, but perhaps not as creative as I would have liked.
So recently we were over at a friend’s place and the topic of renovating come up. They live in a 100 year-old home in a beautiful part of town. There are tons of original features; the banister railing, the huge, old heating grates, the floors and they’re favourite part: the back staircase. It’s not a huge house but having the back staircase is a super cool feature. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the kitchen is not original, it’s a ‘80’s classic that has suffered some over the years. When they bought the place their real estate agent said it would be simple to knock out the back stairs and expand the kitchen. But they love the back stairs, it’s one of the main reasons they bought the house. I would hate for them to get rid of them too, they’re just so cool.
In any event, it got me thinking about how they could re-design their kitchen without losing the back stairs. They’re still in the “talking” phase about the renovation, but for my own practice, I thought it would be fun to hone my newly acquired drawing skills and see what I could come up with. I should also say that there is a large built-in shelving system in the kitchen that is also original and also something they love and wanted to keep. I don’t have the dimensions of the room, but the layout below is a ‘rough’ before picture.
The original layout had a lot of wasted counter-space. The L-shaped peninsula created a bit of a bottleneck near the back-door entrance and also had wasted counter-space in the corner of the L. Additionally, the location of the sink ate up valuable counter real estate, creating another void in the corner. Finally, the area beside the fridge was completely unused, so additional storage space could be gained in this area.
Below is my tweeked new layout:
I’ve moved the sink to the corner and added a pantry area beside the fridge. Not discernible in the layout, but I would also eliminate the microwave shelf and instead install an over-the-stove unit, to conserve on upper-cabinet space. Finally, I changed the L peninsula into an oversized counter area, to mimic an island, even though it’s attached to the wall and is anchored by the beautiful, original built-in shelves. Note: the back stairs are still there – yeah! FYI – The window on the right is really quite low, so installing lower cabinets along that wall would be fairly tricky.
To see how my drawing evolved, I took pictures of the process and worked off of photocopies as I went. I figured this allowed me to ‘change things up’ if I decided to take a different design direction. But ultimately I went with one design and tried to select colours that would more closely represent what I would do, if this were my kitchen.
All in all it turned out pretty good – though the stairs are a bit wonky and the main cabinet/island seems a bit off. My vision for the room included all white cabinets in a traditional style, but with a darker blue cabinet for the ‘island’ work area. The original shelving system is intact, with the inside painted a very light blue. I also envisioned marble counters, a nice herringbone backsplash, wide-plank hardwood and some glass display cabinets.
This little project was a lot of fun and really tested me on the skills I learned in the drawing class. Only towards the very end did I actually notice two glaring errors, well omissions really. I asked my husband if he could see the omissions and he didn’t. I had to point them out. So I guess it doesn’t take away from the overall effect. I also have a feeling there are other errors/omissions that I haven’t noticed either… but let’s just keep that to ourselves.