When we last left off with the kitchen, we had a pretty, minty pocket door. We were toying with the idea of removing a wing wall from the dining room leading into the kitchen*, and we were debating between three shades of white paint for the cabinets. Now, we’ve moved on to the hired work – but what started as an estimated one day job of electrical additions, pocket door installing and gas line moving has turned into a four day job, which, really, we sort of expected. This old house never stops throwing curve balls, so any time the smallest part of a wall has to come down, there will be surprises. And simply put, we’ve found a lot of surprises. Imagine us saying: uh, what’s this vent doing here? or wait, why was that outlet installed 1″ off the floor?
For the last several days, we’ve had a rotating crew of contractors in our home, and in typical fashion (or at least, as we’ve found it to be in this house), one small project turns into something much larger – because if we’re going to remove an eight foot strip of drywall, we might as well fix those furnace issues, right? That is, while the kitchen is torn up anyway?
Moving, adding and removing outlets has proven to be a job that has our kitchen looking a bit more torn up than we imagined, and considering that Scott and I volunteered ourselves to handle all the drywall repair (to cut down on overall contractor costs), we’re starting to feel a little, um, worried? It’ll be a larger to-do than we expected, and we’ll need to tape, mud and sand (mud again, sand again, mud again, sand again, repeat!) before our new cabinets can be installed. We might need to hire out some of the more extensive work as we race against the clock, but then again, we might surprise ourselves! So, challenge accepted?
As you saw in the original kitchen plans, the wet wall will extend 2′ to the left, and we’ll be installing a dishwasher, touchless faucet and disposal. Initially, we had outlets that were too high (and not enough of them), so below, you’ll see the makings of an updated kitchen – a switch for the disposal, additional outlets, and electrical for under cabinet lighting. What you can’t see inside those remaining cabinets are even more outlets for the dishwasher, faucet and disposal. The housings are in place, wires will be run, but! So many modern conveniences, yeah!
Across the room, we’ve nixed that window! Surprisingly, it hasn’t eliminated that much natural light from the room, since Chicago homes are notoriously close together. The only view it had was a wall of our neighbor’s siding (within arm’s reach), so, good riddance, window. When our current back door (below, on the right, which leads into our backyard) swings open, the amount of light is insane, but it will be another couple of weeks before our transom window and sidelights arrive. We. Can’t. Wait.
Moving in closer, do you see that yellow, crinkly supply line? That’s our new gas connection for the stove! Before all these photos were taken, we slid the stove into place to get a feel for the new layout, and OMG. So much space! We could have a dance party in our kitchen! The difference was amazing, and it made us realize that a sizable kitchen island could, actually work. (Well, not too big.)
The now-empty wall to the left of the furnace closet still has the old gas line (below, on the left), and unfortunately, we’ll need to cut into the ceiling below to properly and safely bury it. Because we have tenants currently living in the garden unit, that’ll have to wait for another day when we won’t disturb them, likely when they’re out of town.
And finally, we’re making pocket door progress! We’ll talk about that more later, but right now, do you see that soon-to-be outlet to the left of the door? It was once housed inside those closely-spaced studs just to the right, but because that would interfere with any trim we would use for the door (the horror), we had to move it to the left of those studs. And to do so? We had to run a whole lot of new conduit, cut open the ceiling, and as it goes, just generally create more chaos. Going back to the whole well-if-we’re-going-to-tear-up-the-wall-anyway mentality, it’s one of those small details that will be worth the effort. You know, once our pocket door is impeccably trimmed to the nines.
The good news with all the missing walls is that the contractors will patch in the larger pieces, so that can’t be too bad, right? (Tape, mud, sand. Mud. Sand. Mud some more. Sand some more.) Even as I type those words and loathe the upcoming task, I can’t help but get so excited for what’s to come! It’s all kitchen talk around this house, all the time. Or, more accurately, kitchen talk, dog canoodling. Kitchen talk, kitty canoodling.
*Sadly, we had to let go of eliminating the teeny wing wall. After poking countless holes and getting a good look at the structure, it’s tied a bit too closely to a load bearing support beam.
We picked up this giant elk photo alongside the hutch at The Brown Elephant, and although I was originally going to share it as a score earlier this week, I ultimately broke it into a separate post because 1) it’s not for the kitchen (we don’t think?) and 2) once I did a little Googling around, we were all whoa!
Let me explain.
It’s a 20″ x 30″ signed photographic print, and it was hung all very nonchalant-like by the restrooms. It caught my eye because it was cute, it was an actual signed photo (not an art print) and it was huge! We didn’t take it off the wall, but not able to find a price, we asked a sales associate, and after a quick hmm, he replied with $25.
The last thing we need is more art, but Scott was on board, and I thought, would I buy this for $25 if I saw this at an art fair? Yes! And so it came home with us. The frame, while nice, is more traditional than we’d lean, but with a clean white mat and an equally clean white frame, this print would really shine! You know we’re complete suckers for animal art in general, so really, no one should be surprised that we’ve added more animals to our repertoire. See that stud in the bottom left corner licking his lips? I love that guy.
The surprise came the next day, however, when we took a look at the back of the frame and saw an artist statement from Thomas D. Mangelsen, a well respected nature photographer (and all around good guy, really!). Our photo, titled Winter Herd – Elk, is edition 32/950, and, um, you can buy it right here for the price of one month’s rent (maybe a small box in Chicago, but still).
I had a flashback to this movie (if you’re an art lover, it’s a fun flick) and then I thought, hmm. Why would someone give this away? I’m an overly nostalgic person, and it always makes me feel a bit weepy to see discarded artwork (I just think of those long nights I spent cooped up with classmates in our college-day drawing studio). Regardless of what the photo is worth, we love it, and we just feel so lucky that we totally scored.
Has anyone else found art while thrifting and come home with something that was worth much (much) more? Art, furniture or otherwise? (And on a side note, I swear I had a poster of Mangelsen’s snugglefest polar bears as a child. Didn’t we all?)
PS… We’re sharing a round-up of kitchen ideas on Bali Blinds today – with a lot of them coming straight from your own experience and input over the last month! You can check it out right here.
It’s mid-January, and we thought we were going to be eyeballs deep in kitchen renovations and drywall dust – but nope. We’re not surprised (eh, it’s to be expected and there have already been a few minor setbacks), but we are off to a slower start than we would have liked. The contractors will actually begin their work at the end of this week – moving electrical, gas lines and installing a pocket door! – which means that this coming weekend, Scott and I will begin our drywall patch and repair work! I can’t say we’re excited about that, exactly, but we are excited to move forward. Onward!
While we had hoped work would begin last week, we took it as a sign to relish every minute of this past weekend and relax (somewhat), you know, before this kitchen takes over our lives. Instead of our usual monumental to-do list, we did normal, everyday things – cleaned the house, watched a movie, and slept in – but we also spent a day tile shopping and thrifting (the best way to spend a day, we think!).
We came home feeling inspired and excited for what’s to come, and better yet, our wagon was loaded up with this:
Our new kitchen layout will allow for a skinny island in the center of the room, and to the right of our soon-to-be wall of windows, we’ll have space for a small hutch! We’ve been on the online hunt for a while now, but a sporadic stop into The Brown Elephant (during a 50% off sale, no less!) had us hauling home this tiny cutie for all of $62. $62! It’s super petite at 34″ wide and maybe 5′ tall; in other words, it was made for our kitchen.
Now, it’s going to need work. The finish is too orange for our tastes, but we want to warm things up by keeping the wood alive with a really thorough refinishing job. Up close, we can tell that it was already someone’s project at one point, as there are telltale drips of polyurethane and door pulls that are just ever-so-slightly crooked. This will be a test in patience, for sure, but I’m going to attempt to strip the poly and re-stain.
The inside of the hutch is a bizarre two-toned finish, the glass panels are chipped and the drawer knobs look as though they were installed a half inch above the original knobs (what?). If we don’t forgo the glass altogether, we’ll have new panels cut, and we’re thinking of smoothing out those zebra stripes with paint – but only on the inside shelving! The whole thing will get finished off with new hardware, and whew!, are we excited to see what a difference that’ll make.
In other ‘Things’ news, we got ourselves a kitchen runner! With a lot of our finishes being white and gray, we wanted to bring in saturated color with a vintage rug, and after making the eBay rounds (like, every day) for months, we fell in love with this beauty. She was so, so pretty online, but my goodness. In person? She is drop. Dead.
It’s 2’x10′, which will run perfectly along our sink wall, and while we know that there are two sides to the whole rug-in-a-kitchen thing, well, we’re willing to take that chance. Plus – it’s red! It’ll hide our two favorite foods: pasta sauce and wine. (I mean, right?) It’s taking everything I’ve got to keep her folded up in storage, but the day she sees the light will be a happy one.
As for our tile shopping, we have fallen in love with matte white subway tile, and although we like the look of a classic install, I may or may not be trying to convince Scott to throw in a framed pattern above the sink. We will see! We have time to noodle on that, but it was thrilling nonetheless to land on a look we’ll love for the long haul. And about that countertop debate? We’ve collected a few more estimates on other options, but at the very least, we are now leaning towards a white/gray stone, so, we consider that huge progress.
Baby steps, people. That is, until it all starts crashing down. Yeah, kitchen!
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