The most popular time to tackle home renovations is immediately after you buy a new house. In fact many home buyers make their home buying decisions based on getting a new kitchen, bathroom or deck, and not the actual house they buy. When these Plum Island homeowners bought their new house, their first priority was to create a beach kitchen they could enjoy as a couple, with their grandkids and for small, intimate parties.
How Did You Pick the Beach Kitchen Location?
The old kitchen was too small, and it wasn't next to the dining room. The homeowners wanted a spacious, open concept beach kitchen combined with a dining area and family room.
We looked at the floor plan to see which space would allow us to create the visual space needed, with the least structural impact. Some walls are load bearing, meaning they're supporting the roof and can't be removed easily. Interior walls that aren't load bearing are much easier to get rid of, although you've still got to reroute electrical wiring, plumbing pipes and/or heating features hidden in those walls.
Did You Make Any Changes to The Floor Plan?
Renovations on Plum Island are fairly challenging. You need to satisfy all Newburyport zoning, building and board of health rules. You also have to adhere to the guidelines for Plum Island conservation, which look at cost versus benefit of placing existing buildings on pilings. The intent here is when projects are large enough, the building must be placed on pilings so we needed a creative solution that could avoid this added cost.
The new location for the open concept beach kitchen was good but we really needed more space to include all the appliances the homeowners wanted, along with lots of seating. Our final solution that gave us more floor space without expanding the footprint of the house, was to push out one kitchen wall two and a half feet, by supporting the floors from the existing structure.
Why Didn't You Include an Outdoor Kitchen?
While it's true that outdoor kitchens coupled with outdoor living space that can be covered or enclosed during inclement weather, is more popular today … it's not really popular on Plum Island. There are simply too many restrictions on what changes you can make. The site plan you have to submit for any type of renovation requires you to include, starting with the existing grades and conditions of “… all structures, driveways, walkways, sheds and all vegetation, preferably with a legend identifying the plant species”.
The focus is on preserving the island which means allowing the sand to migrate naturally. That's why the conservation rules address fencing (80% open for first two feet above grade), lattice and other enclosures around pilings (must be at least three feet above grade), driveways, walkways, stairway landings, patio and parking areas. Given the legal hurdles, and the fact that there are frequent sand storms, outdoor kitchens simply don't make sense.
What Were the Homeowner's Favorite Beach Kitchen Features?
These Plum Island homeowners love their open concept kitchen and spending time there with their grandchildren. Even though they're indoors, they're able to enjoy the beach environment around them and a few features contribute to this feeling.
- Tile backsplash in beach colors, shimmers to create a feeling of the waves at the beach. If you're an avid fisherman, you can also look at them as a school of fish surrounding you.
- Wall of large windows over the cantilevered floors provides wonderful natural sunlight, and a fantastic view of Plum Islands beachy environment.
- Multiple, raised seating at the lovely island means you can enjoy the views from anywhere in the kitchen or dining space. You know you're at the beach when you're cooking, visiting with a friend or entertaining a small group of friends and family.
What Other Renovations Did This Beach House Get?
It's common for homeowners, once they get used to our team working in their home, to ask us to complete other projects on their wish list. On Plum Island, they also renovated a bathroom, added a laundry room (part of the bathroom) and replaced the windows and siding. The homeowners love their beach house, and knowing the renovations completed will keep they dry and cozy regardless of the weather outside.
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