1890 house with problematic kitchen - suggestions?
Hi all, I am a first-time homebuyer and a first time poster. I am buying the house from my grandmother to try to help her, as she is moving into an assisted living facility. The house is a very nice house from 1890. I get the feeling I will have a lot of questions!
Our biggest problem with the house is the kitchen. Here's a diagram. It won't let me post links so please see the attachment.
The orange is counters. Green is sink, fridge, and stove. The two counters opposite each other are made of totally different materials (one is made of plywood painted white with a white linoleum countertop, the other is 1960s dark-oak cabinets with bright orange countertop). Blue rectangles are radiators.
The biggest problem is walking from the dining room into the kitchen. As you can see, you have to make a U-turn (with a door at each side of the U-turn) and then into a very narrow space between the fridge and countertop. In fact, most people have to turn sideways to make this turn. You can imagine what it is like during high-traffic times like Thanksgiving or Christmas, with people bumping into each other, edging into the bathroom to make room, or opening doors into each other.
I would love some suggestions. The dining room has gorgeous, elaborate wood panelling, so I would like to spare that wall if I can. In fact, my grandmother said when they built that bathroom (it used to be a pantry), they asked the carpenter about opening up a doorway straight into the kitchen and he refused because of the beauty of the woodwork on that wall.
Hubby had the idea that we knock out the wall behind the refrigerator (of course, checking first that it is not load-bearing) to at least open up the entrance, but then that leaves the question of where to put the fridge.
I am looking for creative ideas of how to fix that entryway so that it doesn't drive my large husband insane. I would love suggestions.