Dining room to kitchen to family room pass-throughs

I have advocated for a pass-through from kitchen to dining room for most of my married life. My grandmother had one in her kitchen that worked pretty well. At Thanksgiving, you could put serving dishes and silverware and whatever on the pass-through and elves* would magically transfer them to the table, and the dirty dishes would return to the kitchen in the same way. (Her pass-through was actually a cabinet on wheels, so that you could remove it and roll wheelchairs through if need be.)

I forget why it didn’t work out in our Kensington kitchen, and our Ashland kitchen wasn’t actually attached to our dining room so it wasn’t possible there. (You had to go through the butler’s pantry.) And one of the criticisms of our Ashland Italianate was: “The kitchen doesn’t open into the family room.” (Don got tired of hearing that. He felt they should be grateful the kitchen wasn’t in the basement.) So, we are working out open, yet maybe closable, connections to the dining room and family room.

dining-room-facing-west.jpg Kitchen facing east

Above you will see two sides of the same wall, dining room and kitchen. The kitchen wall (with the yellow tile) had the tenant’s washer and dryer with the fridge to the far left, and the dining room wall had paneling and wallpaper. That bump out to the right on the kitchen wall is probably a chimney. There is a shallow bookshelf between the door and the chimney. I think we’ll be removing the chimney. (There’s another chimney in the bathroom in Apartment 1 that should come down. The chimney in Apartment 2 that is attached to the only fireplace will probably not be coming down, but it will need major work done.)

family-room-facing-east.jpg kitchen-facing-west.jpg Kitchen facing west

These pictures are of the future family room wall (facing east) and the west kitchen wall (before the tenant moved out – and as it looked last week). The bathroom door from the kitchen is just visible to the right in the kitchen shots. (The family room picture was taken after we got most of the closet out.  It’s all gone now.) You can see the clapboard and the former window. The former window is pretty much in the corner of the current kitchen. Below is another view from the second bedroom of Apartment 1. Don is standing in the bathroom door, the kitchen window is visible through the stud wall (load-bearing, btw), and the kitchen door is also visible. Barely.

Family room facing east

We’re thinking about taking over the bathroom to make the kitchen a bit bigger, and relocating the bathroom elsewhere. (Remember we have two full bathrooms on this floor right now along with two kitchens.)

You might see where I’m going with this. Restore the window-sized access to the family room, and either a window of similar size or bigger to the dining room. Centered, I think, because symmetry is important to me. I’d like to have storage on that dining room wall, maybe like this one (below) that showed up on Craig’s List in Chicago, only bigger and longer. Then I could keep my china in the dining room, and set it on the pass-through when it comes out of the dishwasher to put away. Maybe use some of the doors Don bought off Craig’s list last fall.


(Isn’t it nice? Craig’s list in Chicago. $3600. 77″ long by 66″ tall and 21″ deep.) And I could throw popcorn at the people in the family room, or whatever it is you do with a kitchen that opens onto the family room.

I checked out the Bungalow Kitchens and Bungalow Dining Rooms from the Fayetteville Public Library today. (We have B’Kitchens and B’Bathrooms somewhere in storage.) Examples of pass-throughs and built-ins abound. I’d forgotten how much the focus is on California in those books until re-reading them. I saw at least one where the pass-through was closable. Like a pocket door hung perpendicular to the ordinary way. I suppose tambour doors or sideways doors could also be closable if I wanted to close off the pass-through.

*Elves might be an even better idea than a pass-through, but they seem to be harder to keep happy.

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One Response to “Dining room to kitchen to family room pass-throughs”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I think a pass through is a great idea! You need the elves though… where to get them…

    That cabinet is gorgeous… something like that would look lovely!

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