Kitchen Design Question for a Flip

11 Replies

Keep in mind, this is a $150,000 home after fix-up, and is a complete remodel.  I am trying to decide if it would be worth making one design change.  This is an open room kitchen, a U shape.  The fridge on the right, is awfully close to the corner there.  When the old cabinets and countertop were still there it was especially evident.  It was a deep awkward kind of tight corner.  It can work that way, but you have to put diagonal shelves or a diagonal cupboard back in there.  I was thinking of taking out the closet that is on the end of where the fridge is.  I would then move the fridge down, which would also add some more counter space and cabinets.  We would lose the closet, however.  It would definitely make for a nicer looking kitchen layout.  Another possibility might be to shorten the closet to bring the fridge only a little ways further down, turn the closet toward the kitchen and make it a pantry.  The downside is the extra labor (our's), and some extra expense in cabinetry/countertop, possibly pantry door, and moving fridge electric down a bit.  Hopefully the photos give the gist of the fridge/closet situation.  The new stove will be in the middle, not so far to the right where the old one is sitting temporarily now.  Thanks for any advice.  It would be a no-brainer in a higher-end house, just not sure if it's worth it here.

Updated almost 3 years ago

We just re-measured the kitchen, and you wouldn't be gaining a whole lot by turning that closet into a narrower pantry. So the question is just to remove the closet, keep just a end-cap wall there, and move the fridge down to that end. It would gain about another cabinet top and bottom with countertop. But more importantly, would open that up to be usable and just look more open.

@Kathryn Bowden

When designing a kitchen, we use a Triangle Theory -- that is the sink, stove, and refrigerator should be in an access triangle in order to make food preparation easy. However, since this is a flip I wouldn't leave out a built-in pantry even if it is a small one.

I really like your idea of shortening the closet to keep a pantry and open the area a little more. Have you estimated the cost? Sounds inexpensive if you are doing the work yourself.

Thanks for letting us chime in-


Hello and welcome to this site Kathryn!  Just do what is the average for that area.  Put the refrigerator where it is the most convenient.  Depending on if this is a short or long term investment.  That would probably give you two different answers and the demand for that area. I would not hesitate to move the refrigerator if it is a long term investment.  I would tend to not spend more money if it's short term.  That answer on the closet existence and location would be about the same on a short term or long term investment.  I hope this helps in any way.  Good luck to you and your family!

What is the purpose of this closet? Where is the door? Is it a coat closet that opens on the other side? Is it the only storage besides the bedroom closets? Is it structural? It seems like a weird place to have a closet so the builder may have put it there because he needed a load bearing beam and this was a way to hide it. There may be ducting or something else in there that you won't know about until you tear off the sheetrock. Also depends on your budget but I would just take it out to make the kitchen flow better. 

It would depend for me on your anticipated profit margins. It's $150K ARV but I don't know how much you paid or how much you have in the project right now. It sounds like the investment probably won't get you much return, but I'd want to about double my investment - so if you spend $500 on moving the closet, will it net you $1000+ higher sales price? Probably not, depending on the area.

Hi @Peter M. , thanks for your reply.  The door is facing out from the kitchen.  Directly toward me the picture taker.  It is a coat closet more/less (no rod in it).  It's pretty deep and at least partly wasted space in my opinion.  Husband says it is not load bearing or any surprises there.  Unfortunately, it is mostly the only storage besides the bedrooms.  But there is a closet with hot water heater and furnace, that has some extra space for things like brooms, mops, etc.  If I took out the closet so it was just a wall, I would put some good sized coat hooks there.  There's another wall near it, and near washer/dryer area that I also think is a good place for coat hooks, to help make up for the closet loss.  It is a weird place for the closet, and not the only weird thing the original builder did.

Thanks for your reply, @Allison Stewart .  Good questions and points.  Off the top of my head, the cost is going to be for the extra cabinetry and countertop.  I'm thinking two extra cabinets, one top and one bottom.  Fairly inexpensive countertop material, probably butcher block.  Then a couple pieces of sheetrock probably.  We'll do the labor (not too extensive), and probably move the electric ourselves.  We bought the house at auction for $91,000, and our 100% done budget (including commissions and closing costs), will hopefully be kept to $30,000.  There's still an unknown as to the furnace working, so that could be one big surprise, worse case.  That's about where we're sitting right now.

@Kathryn Bowden Here’s my take - your numbers are way too tight to be doing any serious changes to walls or structure. Between purchase price of $91,000 (did that include auction and buyers fees?), a $30k rehab (if furnace works and no other issues discovered) and estimated closing costs of $9k upon sale (rough estimate as I don’t know your market), at $150k ARV, you’re margins are really slim and don’t appear to account for holding costs (utilities, taxes, lawn maintenance), a price reduction if It sits too long or other unanticipated costs which come up most of the time. I wouldn’t touch any walls anywhere if they weren’t already included in your budget and live with the existing floor plan. You don’t have room in your budget for any surprises such as dry rot, termites, roof leak or heating/ac. Most unanticipated costs show up after you open walls. Since you bought at auction, I’m going to assume you didn’t get a home inspection and may not know what else is wrong. I also wouldn’t do the electrical yourselves unless one of you is a licensed electrician. If it’s done incorrectly and leads to a fire, insurance won’t cover it for you or the buyer.

Thanks for your input, @Darren Lenick . Yes, the $91,000 is all-inclusive of the purchase price. The $30 K includes the closing costs, which will be less because I pay a flat MLS fee, and buyer's realtor commission. Holding costs in this case are accounted for, because we are full-time RVers right now, and are able to live on the property, which is a big win-win, as the "holding" costs become our living costs, and lower (and roomier) than the nearby RV park. At least it takes that specific pressure off. We've been here for a while and gone over the house as well as talked to the previous owner. Roof is already repaired. We have an electrician friend who helps with anything electric, which in this case will be fairly minimal. But I still totally get the "not changing anything". This one is a hard one, because I think it would be a pretty big improvement, with fairly minimal expense. Yes, there is the furnace. But we are so far staying well within our budget so feel like I have some wiggle room. Famous last words, I'm sure ....

I had a similar layout in my last house.  I got rid of that wall where the closet is to open it up.  I would put the fridge in the corner next to stove small cabinet between that and stove another small cabinet on other side of stove, corner cabinet and whatever you can fit for cabinets on the sink wall. and of course uppers and maybe micro over stove