Our Home’s Heart Operation

Our front door opens onto the physical center of our home, this room is what you see first as you enter – and it was key to how we wanted to reconfigure and renovate. Previously it had been their kitchen, with the stove smack next to the only doorway into the rest of the living space and the right side of the house. It was cramped and awkward. We knew immediately that we’d be making changes to this space – the heart of our home.

We knew for sure we didn’t want the kitchen the room you entered into, but debated for a while if this space would become our living or dining room. We can technically flip them anytime we want, as we now have the kitchen between them both. We settled on this space as our dining room as the furniture is more classic and fit this more elegant and historical room still in the old original part of the house. The living room is located on the other side of the kitchen, both within the newer addition on the end of the house. And I knew from first seeing this house that my beloved hand-painted porcelain antique chandelier needed to be front and center as you entered, and that just has to be over our table – so that settled that, this would be our dining room.

A big consideration on how to renovate this space was that we wanted to fix the flow of traffic that their old layout had slowed with a terrible bottle-neck of the stove directly next to the door, and then behind that door was one of the biggest ‘issues’ with our house when we bought it. At some point in the past they had created a narrow pantry space by adding a wall along one side of the huge room, turning the original square footprint into a rectangle. There had been an old back door, so they lined up the pantry door with that door. Then when they added on, presumably after that pantry addition, they turned that doorway to outside as the route into the new addition – through the pantry in the process. To make already odd and squished matters much worse, instead of replacing or moving ancient 3-4 inch (7-10cm) heating pipes that ran along the base of many walls – they just created an odd step up, over the pipe, and then down two steps into the new addition that was actually only one step down from the original house. Yeah, it was ridiculous and made no sense.

How it looked in December before any changes:

Demo & Reno Time!

We installed all new heating and cooling, and removed that awful pipe – from this space plus all along several key walls in the original rooms – allowing furniture to sit flush against walls too, not several inches out! We also removed that pantry wall, opening the room back up to its huge original size, giving plenty of room for the flow of traffic to the rest of the house. There is still a step down, but it’s only one step, and it’s directly at the doorway into the new kitchen. We lined up the addition of French doors in the living room so you can stand in the dining room and see out both our front door and row of entryway windows and out into our backyard through the kitchen and living room. Thus while the room itself does not technically have any windows, they’re not missed at all.

From the new floors when we moved in, through early decorating (Disneyland plaque was the first thing hung up in the house) and much use of the space (great size table for sewing curtains!) up to how it looked yesterday. Still waiting for my coming china cabinet and a new sideboard instead of Anna’s old dresser…

I just love this room. The pretty corner with much of my teacup collection and the old radio Norbi fixed to play music through an old smartphone was one of the first ‘done’ sections of our living space and a favorite. We’re a ‘dining room’ family, we’ve never had a kitchen with space to eat in it, so have always eaten any and all meals in a dining room. And while I may not be that big into cooking, we’re big into meal times and hanging out around a table with food or board games. My dining table set was bought not long after we arrived in Colorado in 2003, and was something I’d always dreamed of having – our family has had precious memories made around it since then, and I’m excited to continue that tradition here, in the heart of our home in Szeged.