Kitchen Restoration Part 4: The Bar

One of the things that had been done in the house, and I may have all ready said, is that the Butler’s Pantry was opened up into the formal dining room and the door between the original kitchen and the Butler’s Pantry was walled up. The Butler’s Pantry became the cooking area, the formal dining became the eating area and the wall that had been between the two was removed and a peninsula was added. Two dishwashers and one set of drawers were beneath the peninsula – no real storage space.

peninsula- before

What had been the kitchen was turned into a bedroom – and we turned it into the media room.

There are things I like about this and things I don’t like. First of all, I mourn drastic changes to old houses. Second, I mourn the loss of a formal dining room, although I doubt that I would have ever used it except on holidays. Thirdly, The peninsula was constantly stacked up with one thing or another. Any mess in the kitchen was immediately apparent.

As you can imagine, Marc has had plenty… PLENTY of help in this. I think that all of the kids have learned a lot. He is incredibly patient with letting them help, answering bazillions of questions, and showing them how things were done.


He moved the peninsula back and formed the base.


The thing is that I loved the fact that the kids could sit at the peninsula and talk to me while I cooked. The peninsula was a great, open work space. And, a 400 square foot kitchen is probably a lot more fun that a 250 square foot dining room and a 150 square foot kitchen.

When Marc and I talked about it I shared my frustrations with the peninsula. It was my main workspace so I needed something there… But tile would be a problem because of the need to roll and knead dough… there were not enough electrical outlets to handle the many appliances that I sometimes run…and… most of all… I wanted the kids to still be able to sit there, but I didn’t want the entire kitchen to be open to the dining area.

Marc suggested that we raise the bar part of the counter 6-9 inches and place a 12 inch wooden counter on the raised area. This would allow for a bar that could be used for eating, snacks or talking to me as I worked. The work surface and the rest of the kitchen would be hidden to anyone sitting at the table and the back would have four electric boxes added to it,giving me a total of 5  boxes (10 outlets) for that space. Then he would leave a cutout when he tiled and install a large hunk of black granite or marble as a pastry board.



I wanted mostly drawers on this work space, with a large cupboard for the mixer, fryer, and other large appliances. The drawers would hold utensils, bowls, baking pans, and everything else I needed in a real prep center. The dishwasher would be moved to the sink counter, which made more sense, and we would just keep one rather than having two. Worked for me.


He also extended the peninsula a few inches to give me more space. During all of this the peninsula was also moved back a few inches and we discovered some issues that we haven’t decided how to deal with yet… The wood beneath the peninsula is awful.. potentially I am going to paint and stencil a border around the floor to mask it. It is solid but just not very pretty.


As you can see there was some badly done repairs and patches… and just… well… eww. Marc has also talked about removing the bad wood and patching in some good stuff… which we could do from one of the closet floors where it wouldn’t matter as much.

I adore this man.

He has spent the past two years watching me work and figuring out what would be the most efficient setup…what I needed and what I didn’t. The tile I picked out was not the easiest to work with. He spent a couple of days carefully cutting and matching pieces. With me nothing is easy, and that is just the way it is. Even choosing the right kind of grout was difficult because I wanted what would have been used originally, not anything with silicone. I didn’t want bright white….

You get the idea.


We still do not have the marble in… we are getting that today. The back of the counter has not been installed yet.  But the rest of it is done and it looks fantastic!


© 2011 Marye Audet

If you are going to do this – and you have a historic home – you may find these resources from amazon helpful:

Around the Internet…


  1. shaiha says

    I am so jealous. Once this remodel is done you will have such a gorgeous yet practical. You so deserve it and the happiness you have found this time around.

  2. Karen says

    I love all of the drawers you have put in especially the deeper ones. My kitchen sink is in this same type set up (where your marble slab is going) but I only have three shallow drawers. Looks great so far!

    • marye says

      I just think drawers are more practical – especially as you get older and you don’t feel like getting on hands and knees to get that one pan out of the back corner of the cupboard! I have had the shelves that slide out but I don’t like them as much as drawers.

  3. says

    Marye, I just love what you are doing here! So many outlets – SMART!

    When I had my house re-wired I drew out all the outlets and switches. The guy was not pleased. He left a few out. I still have some walls that do not have any because he insisted he could not get to them. I’m thinking of going under the house to run wire and do it myself! {He never went under the house to try to get to those areas.}

    I love the idea of the marble inlay. The tile pattern is wonderful! I’m so excited for you to finally get what you want!

    I have to build an L-shaped island {unless I change my mind on the design} and also make my counter-tops. I do not see any future knight in shining armor rescuing me –so it might be a few more years!

    Sew Lambitious LLC on FB

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