Monday night, Scott and I shared a bottle of wine that we’d been saving for 8 months. It was a gift from our friends (thanks, Joe and Kara!), given to us last December as we embarked on our kitchen journey. They told us it was one of their favorites (La Crema Pinot Noir, if you’re curious), and they asked us to enjoy it when we had a reason to celebrate. We promised, and we said we’d save it for the completion of our kitchen – which we estimated to be around March. March!
Oh, how silly and naive we were.
Well, after the door debacle that held us up for almost half a year, we opened that bottle, toasted, celebrated and, as you do when you’re celebrating, polished it off in the same evening. We cooked a big meal to go with our full glasses, and we did it in the comfort of our kitchen that we couldn’t be more excited about! We talked about the tile we installed, the endless Ebay searching for the rug, and we agreed that hanging art makes all the difference. Remember when there used to be a window there?, we said. It felt so long ago; now we really have All the Light! It feels good.
Our kitchen is right off of the dining and living rooms, with a load bearing wall separating it from that larger great room. At almost 130-years-old, our house is a stubborn little lady, stuck in her own way, and we knew from the beginning that it didn’t feel right blowing down walls and drastically changing the floor plan. We like that the kitchen is in the back of the home, but you can easily see into the dining room and even hold a conversation with anyone sitting on the couch. At the same time, we still had our obstacles – I’m looking at you, furnace! – but with a hefty price tag to get it moved and without a good option of where it could go, we worked around it and made peace with our decision.
Do you remember where we started? It’s funny, because aside from our floating appliances, it doesn’t feel like much of a kitchen at all! There’s a large amount of space being under utilized, but there were also oddly placed low windows, making it impossible to install a proper a countertop. The upside? The space was generous, but we often joked it would be better suited for a dance party than prepping a meal. Before + after:
Here’s a similar view facing slightly to the left, standing in the doorway from the dining room. I’m laughing as I look at our half-hearted attempts at spackle and paint swatches – we turned a blind eye to those, um, improvements for at least a year!
Rotating to the left completely, you can see where the only other window in the room is. Again, it’s much too low to allow for a counter, so we ultimately nixed it altogether, adding a new gas line to accommodate our stove. A wall of cabinetry was installed, including a refrigerator surround, pull out pantry and spice rack. The base cabinets in our kitchen were built with sliders to prevent items from getting hidden in the back, a perk we’ve been loving as we grab for pots, pans and lids! Before + after:
To the left of the stove and turning towards the living and dining rooms is our furnace (behind the louvered doors), which stayed put (boo). But! By shifting the stove to the now defunct window wall and replacing it with a small, slim vintage hutch, the kitchen feels less like a hallway upon entering. Our DIY island is accompanied by glossy blue stools, acting as the kitchen command center while storing everything from food containers, puppy medicine, dish towels and foil. I picture a lot of great conversation, veggie chopping and catalog flipping happening around this hub! Before + after:
The wet wall was upgraded with a longer working surface by moving the existing door (which leads to the workshop) closer to the back wall and swapping in a pocket door to save space – plus, pocket doors are cute! To save money, we refaced the cabinets we could salvage, needing to add only one additional upper. The base cabinets were a different story, as they began to fall apart as soon as we wriggled them free from the wall! We took that as an opportunity to reconfigure the drawers, add pull out waste and recycling and include a tip out tray for the sink. Before + after:
Below, we found this solid brass sign at a yard sale for a buck, and we snagged it knowing it’d eventually make an appearance in the kitchen! Scott cleaned it with a dab of Brasso, and it shined right up.
When we made the decision to opt for a 6′ wide sliding patio door, it meant that we’d have to rethink the dog food area, which, big deal, right? If we had stuck with our initial intention to go with a 5′ door, we would have had enough space to stash their station, and I have a pretty marble shelf that was waiting – so patiently, mind you! – to float in that bare wall space, too. Being the crazy dog mom that I am, I stayed awake at night reconfiguring how our two meatballs would dine in style, and finally (finally!), we landed on a sweet little corner station that took us a few hours to complete. See it? (Sadly, the marble shelf will continue waiting for her perfect spot. The bathroom remodel, perhaps?)
Over the course of 8 months (8! Although to be fair, there were a few months of waiting), we’ve had a good amount of time to break the space in, learn our kitchen habits and re-work the guts of the cabinets to create optimal work flow. We have our lighting scenario down to a science (under cabinet lights in the evening, with a low dim overhead), and Jack and CC have already learned that the low hum of our patio door blinds equates to breakfast or dinner. We made choices in this room with the idea that large purchases would feel classic, timeless – and so, I’d like to share some of the decisions that we consider our favorites.
THE COUNTERS. Remember when we couldn’t be more on the fence between black or white? The white macaubas quartzite counters were our biggest splurge in an area where we thought we might be able save, but they really do make us smile every time we enter the room. Worth it.
TOUCHLESS FAUCET + ALL WHITE EVERYTHING. We paired our Kohler Sensate touchless faucet with a large white enamel sink, and we couldn’t love it more. The hands-free model keeps the chrome spot (and hassle!) free, and because it runs on electricity, there are no batteries to fuss with. Wanting to keep a completely seamless feel throughout the kitchen, we opted for all-white appliances, and we haven’t regretted that decision for a second. White appliances have come a long way!
OUR DOORS. Between the cute-y pocket and the mammoth slider, we are in door heaven! I painted the patio door and transom last weekend, and although it was the most difficult door I’ve ever had to paint, she is a stunner. Scott suggested we use the same black paint as the island (Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine by Clark+Kensington in an exterior satin finish), and although it matches, it doesn’t feel overtly matchy-matchy. We are already itching for next summer so we can tackle that back deck now!
THE MIX & MATCH HARDWARE. Between the shiny brass pulls on the island, the burnished brass on the hutch and the oil rubbed bronze on the cabinets, we’ve got it covered! Toss in our chrome faucet, and we’re repping all (well, most of!) the metals.
THE FINAL TOUCH. We waited until the very, very end to hang a single thing on the wall; we treat it like a reward, the final touch. From the small (personalized photo booth magnets!) to the not-no-small (that rug!), it was all this that turned our grayscale blank slate into a place that feels so much like Kim and Scott.
Below, you’ll find all the past posts that have documented our kitchen journey (just click on any thumbnail to take you there). We’re happy to answer any questions we may have missed, and in the meantime, we’ll be in the kitchen. With a glass of wine (me) and gin (him), of course! Hip, hip HOORAY!
KITCHEN SOURCES: Wall color: Intense White by Benjamin Moore // Cabinet color: Distant Gray by Benjamin Moore // Baseboard + Door Trim color: Ultra Pure White by Behr // Counters: White Macaubas Quartzite // Backsplash: Rittenhouse Square matte Arctic White, Whisper Grey grout // Appliances: Samsung // Patio Sliding Door: Pella Windows & Doors, painted Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine by Clark+Kensington // Pocket Door: vintage from Rebuilding Exchange, painted Swept Away by Ben Moore // Island: DIY // Counter height stools: Aurora industrial stool, Rejuvenation // Hutch: thrifted, Mission pulls with backplate, Rejuvenation // Rug: Vintage, Ebay // Faucet: Sensate by Kohler // Sink: Cape Dory by Kohler // Cabinet hardware: Mission pulls, Rejuvenation // Overhead light: Eastmoreland pendant (6″), Rejuvenation // Sink light: Hannah small semi-flush mount, Rejuvenation // Corner dog food station: DIY // Dog paintings: The Pet Shop (by yours truly!) // Fridge Magnets: DIY // Decanters (all glass!): Ebay // Decanter tags: DIY // Purple carafe: Kulture Bomb // Terrarium: DIY using Heritage Hill Jar // Chicken planter: West Elm // Utensil holder: CB2 // Chicago hot dog art print: Frangomint // Mirror frame (family photo): West Elm // Donut art print: The Donut Shop // Skull on pink art print: Laura Berger, framed by Framebridge // Cake Part art print: Baba Souk