The 80/20 Rule At Work In Our Kitchen

The Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 Rule, is a common aphorism that basically states:

In many endeavors, 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort.

Or, put another way,

The final 20% of results, requires 80% of the effort.

And we’re seeing an application of the Pareto principle as we start to attack the major structural changes in our kitchen.

Like we talked about in our post on dreaming and designing our dream kitchen, we’re taking our 1980’s cave of a kitchen, with small windows, dropped 7 foot ceilings, and an inefficient use of floor space and opening it up.

View into kitchen/dining area with thick blue lines indicating change to ceiling line and where wall will move opening up the space.

View into kitchen/dining area with thick blue lines indicating change to ceiling line and where wall will move opening up the space.

The two major structural changes that we’re making are vaulting the ceiling to match the vaulted ceiling in the adjacent living room, and moving a wall to take space from a laundry closet in the garage and make it interior space in the kitchen/dining room.

We actually started on the prep work for this several months ago in the garage, rerouting plumbing, electric, and dryer vents to move the laundry, and over the last month, (while sick, what a champ!) Mr PoP has been building the new wall. The old wall was still there, so we had this weird mostly enclosed space that I had taken to calling the clubhouse where I would go in and dance.

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Temporary clubhouse between the new wall and the old wall!

But as cool as the clubhouse was, I was pretty excited this past Saturday, after I got home from my morning yoga class, Mr PoP asked me if I was ready to get rid of the old wall and asked me if I wanted to leave for an hour to be out of the house while it was noisy with him taking down the framing 2x4s.

“No way! I just did 15 consecutive full wheel poses! I am pumped! I want to help!”

So he showed me how to wield the sledge hammer to knock the studs out and an hour later we had the wall down.  Here’s the before and after:

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Top – before, Bottom – after incorporating laundry closet as interior space

 

(We also moved the map ~3 feet to the right in case it’s not obvious!)

The messiness of the after picture actually detracts from the visual impact a bit (darnit!), but trust me, the difference is HUGE. It actually didn’t hit Mr PoP how huge it was until the wall was down. Somehow my saying the dining area would be 46%* wider for the past month didn’t hit home with him in the way that standing in the wide open area now did.

The area of the floor without tile was all out in the closet in the garage. In the grand scheme of our house, it’s only ~3% of the square footage, but recapturing it here instead of being in a garage closet is already making the house feel so much bigger.

Moving this wall is our 80% of results that we are getting for 20% of our efforts. And boy was it satisfying! This is the Pareto principle at work in our kitchen. And we both realized it almost immediately. Well, after sitting in the living room staring at the kitchen with our jaws agape for a while.

How Badly Do We Want The Other 20%?

After we both recovered from the shock of how big the kitchen is already (we each twirled around in it and were amazed that we could without running into anything!), I had to stop and ask Mr PoP.

“This is pretty amazing. And getting an additional 1 foot on the flat ceiling, for an eight foot ceiling would probably be pretty easy too. Modifying the roof trusses to get the full vaulted ceiling (to 10.5 feet) is definitely NOT going to be easy. Do you still want to go all the way and vault the ceiling?”

I meant it to sound pretty casual and nonchalant, as though I had nothing invested in Mr PoP’s answer, but boy was I relieved when he said, “I think the truss modification is going to be 80% of the effort for 20% of the result, but I still think we should do it. This is our one shot at this project and this is our forever home. Let’s make it a 100% home instead of an 80% home and go all the way.”

Then I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding and smiled. The easy part of the Pareto principle might be over for these structural changes, but I still think we’ve got some more awesomeness ahead on this yet.

 

Have you noticed the Pareto principle in action in your life lately?

 

* And yet, our net worth going up by 32% in 2014 and 49% in 2013 strike him as huge. But putting those in linear (not dollar terms) does nothing for him!

 

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