Kitchen remodeling makes Florida condo more cook-friendly

Kitchen remodeling makes Florida condo more cook-friendly

For years, Angie’s List member Susan Mitchell and her family hoped to purchase the Altamonte Springs, Fla., condo that they’d been renting. When the previous owners finally sold it to them in November 2011, Mitchell and her family had plenty of ideas for upgrades, including the kitchen.

Just how bad was the kitchen? A telling moment, Mitchell says, was seeing a “cabinet door duct-taped closed with a note from my daughter explaining that the hinge fell off, and I ought to consider a remodel.”

So Mitchell wasted no time getting started on planning the kitchen’s design, as she felt more than comfortable after having done a few previous from-scratch kitchen builds.

“Having used the kitchen for several years and knowing it needed updates … I started planning renovations before the ink even dried on the deed,” she says.  

Her plan included a lot of drawers, a new corner closet, two custom shelves, long countertops and room for a bulletin board, as well as the elimination of an unnecessary window.

This plan was not without challenges, however. 

“The original kitchen, built in 1972, was, frankly, a stupid design,” she says. “There was almost no space for the counters and cabinets most cooks want.” 

So Mitchell and her contractor got to work on a solution.

First, the unnecessary sink window was eliminated, and the contractor built a couple of nice, open shelves where it had been. A corner that previously held an inexpensive closet-organizer shelving unit became the basis of a nice closet to hide brooms and other miscellaneous items. Mitchell also chose to have cabinets and drawers installed in front of another window. It wasn’t an ideal choice, she notes, but it complied with her condo association’s stipulations and helped her to get the space she needed. 

“It looks far better than it sounds,” she says, “and I'm completely sure it was the right choice.”

To save space, she also opted for an apartment-sized dishwasher. “We're in a 55+ community, so the next owner will likely be a retired, childless couple or an older single person, making a smaller dishwasher an attractive, practical choice,” she says.

The upgrades occurred over a period of two weeks. After adjusting to the changes over a few days, Mitchell says it became clear that she was completely happy with the outcome.

“I'm certain that the money, labor and care we've put into this home has paid for itself already,” Mitchell says. “And we're looking forward to many happy years enjoying our updated home.“ 

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