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14 Ways the Kitchen + Mudroom Are Inching Closer to Cabinet Day!

We’re in this weird limbo with the kitchen and mudroom renovation. We’re waiting for the cabinets to arrive (they’re scheduled to land at the end of the month!), but in the meantime, there are still a lot of things we should be doing. Like re-caulk all the seams in the beadboard ceiling. (We’ve been doing this task from room to room, and it’s every bit as tedious as it sounds!). Paint the windows. Paint the walls. Wait, scratch that, decide what color to paint the walls. And in-between all of that, we’ve recently updated a handful of bizarre electrical choices, added a junction box (or two), and perhaps the most exciting of all, we installed a new, taller window!

We’ve been juggling all of those tasks on our to-do list – the countdown to cabinets has begun! – and we hired out the jobs that we don’t feel comfortable doing, like the electrical and window install. And in-between all of this, we’ve been accepting deliveries of appliances and tile, making new lists and checking them twice (and thrice). There’s quite a bit happening in these two tiny spaces, so we thought we’d break it all down in a big update post: Where we are, why we made the choices we did, and what’s to come. Let’s talk all about it!

One

Several weeks ago, Scott and I could not agree on whether or not we wanted to replace the window in the Tree House kitchen. I said that we should go taller, but not only did Scott think it wouldn’t be worth the hassle, he was worried that a taller window would only give us a better view of the underside of our home’s eaves. We did a quick poll in an Instagram story, and we were surprised that it was a 50/50 split! There were arguments to both – I mean, who has ever regretted adding a larger window? But on the flip side, we – and you! – thought, small can be just as sweet. In the end, we went with a window that was 12″ taller, but you guys. That extra foot feels so much more proportionate, and the light! The light. Worth it. And yes, we’ll be painting it black!

Two

Because the window got a lift, we needed to relocate the junction box for the old sconce, too. We have this brass sconce waiting in its box(!), and once it’s paired with the taller window, the ceilings are only going to feel that much taller as well! We were surprised when we received the sconce and it was a plug-in (whoops), but we’ll be installing it hard-wired.

As a refresher, here’s how the old (squat) window and (squat) sconce looked:

If you’re standing directly beneath the new window, you can see the eaves. But luckily, it doesn’t bother us one bit! Many of you suggested that we should make the window wider while we were at it, but we actually liked the width. It’s going to be centered right over our sink cabinet, and there’s just enough wall space to the left for us to hang a small piece of art, if we’d like.

Three

Another reason for not going with a wider window? We wanted floating shelves more. The space to the right of the window will receive the shelves, and they’ll also curve around to the stove wall. We’re thinking we’ll build a ladder frame and skin them with plywood, similar to this tutorial for those big, beefy shelves in our workshop. These will be a scaled down version!

Four

We have a refrigerator! Better yet, we have this counter-depth refrigerator, and it’s panel ready so that it’ll blend right into the rest of our cabinets. Initially, we were looking to do an under-counter fridge and freezer, but finding something we liked in the right size was proving to be a real challenge. In all the times we’ve spent at Tree House, we’ve never used more than one or two shelves in the old fridge that was left behind, and a large (or standard?) fridge has never been a top priority. (Remember: minimal is the key word for this home’s small footprint!) The best part is that this fridge doesn’t stick past the kitchen wall like the old one did, and that makes all the difference in the world:

Our new fridge has ample space for a twelve pack of beer, leftovers from the local eateries and fresh produce from the fruit stands. The important things.

Five

We also have a stove! We opted for this pretty slide-in range with a vent hood (still in that box) above. It’s going to live (approximately) in that spot, and to the right …

Six

… there will be a 12″ pull out cabinet. That sliver of countertop above will provide separation between the stove and fridge (it felt super tight without that space in the original kitchen) while also providing a perfect-sized landing for a utensil crock.

Seven

When we had our HVAC installed, there were a few rooms where we couldn’t avoid exposed ductwork. There’s a long run in the master bedroom, and both the guest room and kitchen have a smaller exposed elbow. But! The kitchen elbow will be completely concealed behind an upper cabinet (the only upper this kitchen will receive). Because it protrudes from the back wall, we’ll be adding a 12″ deep upper above the fridge, which will be the perfect spot for booze. #Priorities

Eight

Tree House gets a dishwasher! The original kitchen didn’t have one, but sacrificing a base cabinet for a dishwasher was an easy choice – especially in a home where we plan to (eventually) relax as much as possible! Like the refrigerator, the dishwasher will also receive a cabinet panel.

Nine

You might remember that there was a counter-height peninsula here, with a bar-height ledge separating the kitchen from the living space. There wasn’t an overhang to allow for stools, and the whole thing felt like a physical barrier between the two rooms. We happily demo’ed the old peninsula, and we’ll be adding a counter-height peninsula with an overhang for stools. The more seats, the merrier!

Ten

While we were at it, we asked our electrician to add a junction box above the peninsula, because just like a window, no one has ever complained about more lighting! We have this adorable (and crazy affordable) industrial pendant picked out for this location, which we think will look cute alongside the main mudroom light fixture.

Eleven

And to round out the appliance round-up, we have a washer and dryer! We didn’t hesitate for a second to choose the exact same ones we installed in our Chicago laundry room renovation, because we’ve been thrilled with the performance. The weekend these were delivered, we went washer-crazy (that’s a thing). No more toting laundry baskets back and forth anymore! All the dancing, hallelujah praising emojis!

Twelve

To the left of the machines, we’ll have our mudroom bench and pantry with a long row of upper cabinetry above. Storage for days! We had our electrician run a cable so that we could add this small bronze light fixture above the bench, in the same way we’ve done above our kitchen and garden kitchen sinks. It’s always a sweet touch that’s well worth the extra effort.

Thirteen

On the floor, we had our contractor properly close up the crawl space access, since soon enough, the mudroom bench will conceal it anyway. We already have access from the outside, and it was more important for us to close this up to prevent any unwelcome critters from entering our home! It’s secured with a ladder frame, so it’s completely safe to walk on until we get the bench of drawers installed.

Fourteen

And finally, we upgraded all the light switches to dimmers, because, again, lighting is everything. (These are our all-time favorite!)

The next time we go to Tree House, we’ll be in full blown preparation-for-the-cabinets mode – painting, caulking, more painting and more caulking!

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  • Paige Flamm4.5.18 - 9:59 AM

    I’m so excited to see your cabinets! We’re starting the building process right now and I’m so excited to go into the design center and pick out all our finishings soon!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.comReplyCancel

    • Kim4.5.18 - 10:39 AM

      How fun! Nerve wracking, but fun. ;)ReplyCancel

  • AmandaKB4.5.18 - 1:09 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing all of the little things. Sometimes people glaze over those things when they talk about their renovation stories, but they have a big effect on the overall outcome. It’s fun to follow along with your progress :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.5.18 - 1:45 PM

      Thank you for recognizing that, haha! It’s these little things that take so much thought and eat up a bunch of time. The devil is in the details.ReplyCancel

  • B4.5.18 - 1:31 PM

    Looks great! Heads up that none of the links to The Mine seem to be working.ReplyCancel

  • Lorena4.5.18 - 5:26 PM

    Love the updates on the treehouse! Could you please do a tutorial on the floating shelves in your kitchen? I know you had a tutorial for your workshop but we are not DIY’ers and would like to know how it would work if one of the side of the shelves is not against the wall. Will it have enough support? Thanks! Sorry about my lack of DIY knowledge!ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.6.18 - 9:01 AM

      Yup! These shelves will be a little different because they won’t have side supports, and there will also be tile around them. We’ll definitely share how we do it!ReplyCancel

  • marie4.5.18 - 8:26 PM

    I like how the new window lines up with the top of the doorway. Those smaller ones only make sense if there’s a soffit or cabinet trim above the sink.ReplyCancel

  • Megan4.6.18 - 2:06 PM

    I love that you bought a cabinet depth refrigerator! I hate the look of a giant fridge sticking out, especially in a small kitchen. It will look great with the cabinet panels in the front as well, can’t wait to see how it all turns out!ReplyCancel

  • Tara C4.8.18 - 6:39 AM

    I love your blog! You’re both such good writers and your voice comes across so authentically.
    Question: The apartment I bought and moved into has the same model washer machine and dryer that you love. What kind of maintenance do you do for them both, in particular the washer machine? Do you leave the door open to let it dry out? Do you wipe dry inside the rubber seal after use? The washer I inherited hadn’t been cleaned in 10 yrs and there’s a kind of baked-on scum on the bottom half of the plastic window display that I can’t get off with Brillo. Gross! Hoping to attack that again, and prevent any further grossness…Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.9.18 - 11:09 AM

      Oh, no, sorry to hear! The washing machine has the ability to close, but not completely. There’s a little magnetic latch that will ‘catch’ the door, allowing for some breathing room without needing to close the door completely. We do that. And every now and then, I’ll just wipe down the inside and outside of the machines (maybe once a month?) while I’m wiping down other things in the home. We haven’t had any build up as a result! I wonder if you might want to try a vinegar solution to remove the scum? Worth a shot!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan4.9.18 - 9:45 AM

    Kim and Scott,

    You guys are so so smart to see the value in adding that sliver of counter between the fridge and oven/range! We have an identical layout in our tiny lake house kitchen in northern Wisconsin and that seemingly insignificant sliver of real estate is invaluable!! We use it exactly as you noted-to store a kitchen utensil crock-as well as setting food prep items while we cook. I love your minimalist approach to Tree House. What better way to really kick back and relax in your vacation home?! Can’t wait to see more!

    MeghanReplyCancel

    • Kim4.9.18 - 11:05 AM

      Thank you, and we love hearing that! Every inch of countertop matters in a small kitchen. We’re all about packing in function in as many ways possible, no matter how small.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah4.30.18 - 4:50 PM

    Do you guys ever have problems with LEDs on dimmers? We have a bunch of can lights on different sets of dimmers and they will start to flicker every once in a while, usually if they are mostly 100% but not entirely – it drives me nuts! I asked our electrician about it, but he basically said “it happens with LEDS”. Any input would be amazing!ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.30.18 - 4:54 PM

      Such a great question, and we find that it happens more with certain brands! For example, we used to buy the ‘ecosmart’ brand when LEDs were a newer thing, because they were the most affordable. But they were the worst offender of the flickering! We’ve found that brands like Cree, GE, Feit and Philips are worth the extra cost, because the flickering is minimal or non-existent.ReplyCancel

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