Micro-masterplan Your Way to Your Perfect Kitchen

12 min read My master plan process was created as a path to managing a full house remodel, but you can still use the five D’s develop to micro-masterplan any space.

A masterplan might sound like something you use for a BIG home improvement project. That’s true. But it is also something you can use at ANY Scale. Today let’s talk about how to micro-masterplan any thing in your home!

My master plan process was created as a path to managing a full house (or at least very significant) remodel. You begin by dreaming about your ideal home and the life you envision in it and move through each step until you have a full vision for your home.

The five steps follow in order and you are able to plan until you feel ready to tackle your renovation.

Sounds just like real life, right? Nope.

At this point, I’m sure you are laughing hysterically and wiping away tears as you try to close that stuck drawer AGAIN or assess how much longer your family can survive without a microwave.

You need to get your kitchen reno moving…and fast.

Too fast to master plan!

But wait! You can STILL use the five D’s – dream, discover, distill, draft, and develop to micro-masterplan your way to your perfect kitchen (or bath or basement or…well you get the picture).

The Master Plan Framework is scalable and can help you feel ready for and in control of any size project. And today you’ll learn how to use it to plan the project you have when you aren’t quite ready to tackle all the projects you want to start.    

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If the idea of a master plan to overhaul your entire home feels a little too much like New Year’s goals energy, let’s set our sights slightly smaller. Today we’re going to talk about how to apply a micro-Master Plan process to anything you want to change about your home. 

Hey there, welcome back to Mid Mod Remodel. This is the show about updating MCM homes helping you manage a mid century home to your modern life. I’m your host Della Hansmann, architect and mid century ranch enthusiast, you’re listening to season 11 Episode Two.


So how’s your January been going? Have you been tempted to set some big? I’m going to clear all the clutter out of my life goals. I’m going to lose 20 pounds, I’m going to transform the way I spend my mornings. How are those goals going? Are they in progress? I don’t ask you this to make you feel uncomfortable. 

As we talked about last week, I’m just encouraging everyone, myself included to try to be a little more reasonable about whether the goals the wishes, the dreams we’re feeling at the beginning of 2023 are appropriately sized for our energy levels. Let’s be kind to ourselves. There’s such pressure every year in January to start your life over and better to clear the decks. You might look around at your house and CMS and think let’s just burn it down. Let’s move. But that’s not realistic. Pushing back on that thinking is exactly why I started my season last week by pointing out Kendra Apache’s, lovely lazy genius thinking. 

But if you’ve been trying to white knuckle it through your I’m going to be a whole new person in my home efforts, then this is where I want to whisper in your ear. You don’t have to do it alone. So instead of just trying to figure out how to be a new person in an entirely new home, let’s figure out how to adjust your home around the life you’d like to be living in it one step at a time. Here’s what I want you to do. 


I want you to sign up for the mid century kitchen clinic. It’s happening on Saturday. And we will be using a micro-MasterPlan process to focus specifically on how you can plan a kitchen update to suit your exact life, your house and your energy level right now, whether that be a big remodel or a series of very small changes. I will put a link in the podcast text and tell you a little bit more about it in the show notes. But basically, just come my friend, you’ll find those show notes at midmod-midwest.com/1102. 


So the masterplan method, as it stands is a perfect, okay, that’s a big word. But you know what I stand by it, it’s a perfect way to manage yourself and everyone around you as you try to create a great overall transformation of your home. A gut remodel, rolling back someone else’s entire terrible flip of your house. A small addition, when you have a master plan approach, you can see the big picture and know the specific details you can communicate with everyone who’s involved in making this happen with you very clearly. 

However, a micro-masterplan also really powerful tool simply decide how best to tweak your home. A friend of mine and I love to do a quarterly meet up to reflect on how our lives are going and make our plans for the upcoming months, we probably overshoot nine times out of 10 on our goals. 

But this year, in the spirit of being sensible, mature 40 year old, she proposed and I absolutely loved the idea of thinking of 2023 as a big year full of small moves, we both have a lot on our plates, a lot of things we want to accomplish and experience and do. But we’re also both kind of tired. Maybe you can relate to that. And so we’re less interested this year and that big New Year Fresh Start energy that I have loved all through my adulthood and back into my teen years. Now I’m more interested in what I can do in my life in a series of small adjustments. 

The thing about aiming to shift your life or your house with a series of small moves is that arms moves need to be pointed generally in the right direction. And it’s nice to have a mechanism to assess how they’re going and make sure you’re continuing to point in the right direction. And if not adjust the adjustments, tweak the small moves. So you can end up taking your life, your house in the right place. 


And that’s where the Master Plan method large or small is your kind and loving best friend to check in with you every couple of months as you go through. So going through the steps of a micro-masterplan method no matter how big or how small the area you want to address is how grandiose or how subtle are the changes you want to make the steps are still your friend. Today’s topic is the perfect warm up to this weekend’s kitchen clinic. We will be applying that micro-MasterPlan method to the kitchen and the surrounding spaces. And today I’m going to talk about how to use that micro-MasterPlan method, that philosophy at any scale. 

So first, the original recipe I created the Master Plan methodology for myself in order to help my clients plan their entire home remodels. And that’s really what it was originally meant for, to dream about what my clients wanted their entire life and their home to be and identify the parts of their home that were working for them. And the parts that weren’t. 

To discover everything they and I needed to know about the house from the history of the first people who had it built to what’s holding it up to if there was extra moisture in the bathroom that needs to be dealt with everything large and small. 

To distill a style guide for the entire house very purposefully from the start, that was in clear communication between me and the client. And that allowed them to communicate clearly with anyone that was going to help them make those changes to make consistent, easy decisions for all of the products and finishes through the whole process. 

And to draft layout options, really to give them the options that would allow them to think outside the box they’d been in to see new solutions for their homes, and to have a fun, creative process doing it. All of that comes together in the Develop process. And developing is really where they continue to work on their plans, has they meet reality continue to pull everything together. 

It’s the best way to do this entire process cleanly before you touch a single thing about the house. The ideal version of reality is to have a full and complete master plan before you start. But what if you need to start right now, real life doesn’t always work like that. Just last week on the monthly ready to remodel Office Hours call it we had to separate urgent design questions by two different new homeowners who don’t have time to make an entire master plan before they have to make some adjustments to help their homes with their life. 


So tell me if this sounds familiar, you might have moved into your new house and immediately hated the color of something that the previous owner had chosen. Now, I do not recommend you live in a house that’s a color you hate. As long as it takes you to pull together an entire master plan. Or and this came up on the Monday call. You move into a new house and you want ceiling fans because summer is coming. And in fact, this client happens to be in Australia, you’re about to have an urgent Heatwave, you want the right ceiling fans for your summer, but you don’t want to regret them. You don’t want to wait a year, I do have a perfect vision for your house. 


But you also want don’t want to make a choice that will later drive you to make other choices for the house you regret. So what can you do to solve that problem right now, you still use the masterplan method, it still works. Within the ready to remodel program when I teach the distill phase creating a style guide. For some people, it really is helpful to think about their vision for the entire house. But for some other people that feels overwhelming. 

So an alternate method I teach is to build out a style guide for just one space in your house. A kitchen is a good comprehensive one space or a smaller one might be a bathroom. Or if you really want to go small. And with less complicated convoluted elements, you might want to choose like the front hall, the front entry, you can make all of the decisions for that space, and then grow those decisions out into the rest of the home. 

Once you’ve established a stain color for the wood trim, that becomes your stain color for the wood trim throughout the house. Once you’ve established a style choice for tile, that tile might be repeated throughout the whole house or vary from one bathroom to a kitchen to another bathroom. You can choose a metal for all of your switch plates. For your light switches, you can choose a consistent main wall color. 


And once you’ve made those choices, they simply grow outwards, you set the pattern. And then you do the same thing throughout. These are decisions which percolate through your entire model. But you can bring them down even to the level of a specific product like a ceiling fan. You can use the exact same process of thinking about first not what it costs, not what it looks like not what’s popular right now. But what is the purpose of this object? 


Is this fan the only means of cooling your house? Will it be an eye catching element in the house? Is it going to be something you use all day, every day all summer? Or is it just an augmenting thing? How high and low are your ceiling? So how obvious is this going to be? Is this fan going to be a noose Summer and Winter summer to keep the air circulating and cool winter to help you blow hot air warm air down into the room? Is it working along with a forced air system? 

Thinking about what is the meaning of a ceiling fan is maybe kind of an intense way kind of a rabbit hole approach to this but basically you just want to ask yourself what matters in true Kenda Apache lazy Jr style? What matters about this ceiling fan? This might include how cool versus how practical it is. What is the budget? What is the purpose? 

So when we use the micro-masterplan method to decide on the right single object to purchase. We focus first on dream and then undiscovered in terms of a sailing pan discovery questions might look like what is the wiring situation right now? Are you dealing with your mid century houses original wiring in which case you might want to take the opportunity to upgrade the local wiring at the location of this fan.

You might also want to think about structure if you have a ceiling light in the center of your ceiling and you would like to replace it with a ceiling fan.

Logically you might think you can switch out the same one for another in the same spot but you might need a slightly more structural mounting you might want to poke your head or your phone camera up into your attic after you’ve removed the ceiling light and have a look at if it’s hanging from drywall or plaster or if it’s firmly mounted to a nearby ceiling joist.

These are the sorts of discovering questions you want to keep thinking about? What are the facts of your house that might affect it? Then you think about style. And when you’re thinking about distilling your proper style, you want to ask yourself, should the ceiling fan relate to any of the existing light fixtures, fans or other elements of the house? If you have a really beautiful wooden element going through the house already? Do you want to choose the ceiling fan to be made from wood that matches the doors, the trims the floor? Or other wooden elements? Or would you rather have it blend away? 

Would you rather have it be a simple modern white fan that simply fades into the ceiling above? If you have already set a particular metal for most of the house? Or if you have beautiful brass through the whole house? Or if the House has some more modern details in flat, matte black, or shiny, vintage aluminum? Do you want to tie in with that or not? If you’re feeling agnostic about a metal choice for the house, one simple safe choice to make for ceiling fans and light fixtures and switches alike is to go with a flat matte white.


So you start to ask yourself, am I building on something that exists already? Or if nothing in the house exists that you like if the house has been flipped? What am I building towards? How will I in the future reinforce this pattern, then there’s the draft phase, in terms of a product purchase draft probably just means looking at a bunch of different products and weighing them against each other. You’re not going to do different layouts for a ceiling fan, but you might consider different shapes. 

One ceiling fan example for me is that I strongly prefer a three baited a three bladed fan, excuse me, rather than a four bladed fan because a four bladed fan that looks like a plus sign, when at rest always ends up being turned just a little bit off from the walls of the room, which personally drives me nuts. But a three bladed plan is never intended to line up with the walls of the room, so I don’t worry about it. 


You might think about the particular version of mid century era style that you can now there’s not a perfect mid mod ceiling fan. As far as I know, there’s not a cliff may ceiling fan or a Frank Lloyd Wright one. But you can think about whether you’d like it to be a bit more oriented towards the Craftsman a bit more contemporary and modern, or perhaps a bit more space age looking with some plastic curvature, what’s going to fit in with the vibe that you’re pulling together in your whole house. 


And that takes you back again to the distilled question. As you go through all of these things, you’ll be developing your choice. And develop always includes a double check of yourself, get a sample. In the case of a product like a ceiling fan, you may just want to order one. But if you’re going to order a bunch of them, you might start by getting just one. Even though you’re planning to put ceiling fans into five rooms in the house, check that you like the one that comes before you order it in multiples. This is also where planning as far ahead as possible, the master plan philosophy will stand you in good stead. 

If you’re applying this style guide Master Plan method to something smaller like say, a switchplate you would want to order one or go visit in a store one before you ordered enough for your entire house. Absolutely. It’s always better to get a sample even if you have to keep it. Certainly if you can simply just donate it to the local restore if it turns out not to be the right choice for you. So if we can micro size the process – a micro-masterplan – to a single object, we can certainly take it to the scale of a room, which is what we’re going to be doing in this weekend’s kitchen workshop. 

We’ll be asking ourselves what is the feeling of the kitchen as we dream? Is it introverted or extroverted? Is it a workspace? How many ingredients do you tend to cook with? Are you a microwave the pizza person or a cook-everything-from-scratch person? Does one person cook in your house? Or does the entire family cook together? One size does not fit all. And as I’ve been talking about in my little Instagram video series last week, there is never a correct answer. For a mid century kitchen update. There’s the right answer for you for your house for your family.


As we talk about the discovery phase for your kitchen, we’ll talk about the necessary dimensions to know code questions to answer structure and other details of your kitchen to be aware of. And I’ll share with you a list of relevant experts you might want to consult locally. If you feel unsure about any of those things. We’ll talk about the key elements of your kitchen style guide. And as I’ve already said in this episode, if you plan the details of your kitchen correctly, a good kitchen update done right sets the tone for your entire home. 

When we talk about drafting, I’m going to be showing you countless examples of kitchen layouts that are very common in the mid century era. A number of L shaped U shaped galley straightline kitchens and how we have provided options for past clients and how I’ve seen past students in the ready to remodel program come up with great solutions for their house. All of this will get you going thinking about great solutions for your own kitchen. 

This is always the way that I approach any scale of element when I talk to my clients and students about a design question. Can I bring it back to the micro-masterplan? Now you can do the same. No matter the scale your decisions will be stronger and your competence will be higher if you ask yourself these few simple questions around each step, dream, discover, distill, draft and develop. 

For a guided tour of this process, sign up and then show up for the life kitchen clinic on Saturday, I’ll take you through all the specific questions you might want to ask yourself about planning the perfect kitchen for your family and your home. By the end of the workshop, you’ll be a veritable popcorn popper of good ideas for tuning your kitchen to fit the life you want to lead into. That’s it for today you’ll find the show notes for this episode with a transcript and a link to the kitchen clinic sign up at midmod-midwest.com/1102. I guess I’ll see you at the kitchen clinic on Saturday.