Over a year later (yes, unbelievably, we were under construction a year ago!), and here are some photos of our completed kitchen...
The gist of the project is that there was a wall where that peninsula jets out, with a regular sized doorway. The patio door to the outside (which was a wooden door that swung in, plus a security door on the outside) was removed, and was formerly where those open shelves are. We got to get a larger sink, move the dishwasher to the left of the sink, and do an under-counter microwave. We also got to add wood floors to match the rest of the house (this was formerly tile that was on a different level that the rest of the hardwoods, by a couple of inches, tres annoying).
Meanwhile, where our giant (and pretty, but very dangerous!) single-paned picture window in the former dining room was (below), we made into French doors.
We have been absolutely thrilled with the new layout! It is SO much easier to go outside on our back patio, and the stairs outside are the right tread/width (before, the steps were short, tall drop, short, which made it difficult for kids/easy to trip...I'm told there was a deck out there formerly, hence the odd size treads).
The counters are quartzite, which I love, and really achieved the look I wanted. We kept our cabinets and just painted them—the "only" new cabinets we had to get made were the ones to the left of the microwave, so basically the peninsula. I got a pull-out trash drawer which is such a dream come true, as well as under-counter lighting. We had several things we couldn't compromise on, but otherwise, I'd say this was a very budget-conscious reno considering all of the layout changes/improvements and aesthetic changes we made (keeping our cabinets, subway tile=cheapest tile ever, etc.). We absolutely LOVE the new flow and the open space, and I am going to miss this kitchen SO FREAKING MUCH when we move to Idaho next year!
Yes, that's right...IDAHO! Jonathan got a job at a practice in northern Idaho, and we are moving in July. We are so excited for a new adventure out west! Our kids are still young (5 and under), and Juliette is starting kindergarten in the fall, so it seems like a great time for them to make a transition. We're looking forward to a change of pace from med school & residency, some time to make memories the five of us, on all the myriad adventure options that will be right at our fingertips. We are so, so excited! But yes, I will miss my lovely kitchen and can hope to have the chance to make improvements to wherever we land next!