Friday, July 03, 2009

Before and After: The Kitchen

(WARNING: this post goes on and on and on...just like the remodeling did!)

Oh yes...our "before" kitchen was quite something! With the original 1955 (the year it was built) metal cabinets...back in the '50s metal cabinets were considered "the thing" to have; wood was not quite as "modern". Then there was some rethinking, and wood fronts were put on the metal frames.

I did not care about all that when we bought the house.

All I cared about was the pop out "eat in" space that looked out to the trees and the mountain. A cup of cocoa and good conversation at the kitchen table on a snowy day while baking something that smells wonderful would be my idea of bliss!

The red color actually made me quite happy. The old style kitchen was fine with me...but eventual resale sensibility required that we take advantage of B.'s GE employee discount and get new appliances and renovate the whole kitchen. The tile floor would be replaced to oak to match the rest of the house

The bathroom and the kitchen had the same tile floor!

I liked the metal trim on the original white kitchen counter tops. While usually a sink with no window is not desirable, I didn't mind; the dirty dishes will just be popped into a dishwasher anyway.

The second pocket door is just to the right of the dishwasher. It leads to the hallway.

We closed escrow on the house on Dec. 31, 2008. Then about three weeks day we had a red functioning kitchen, and a day later we had this mess.

And it stayed like this for quite a while.

It was supposed to be a 45 day long renovation. It lasted until June 20th, a little over six months time. It seemed like the house would never have a working kitchen again.

The wall in the picture above is the wall where the kitchen sink was. You can see through to the bathroom, which was also gutted at the same time.

Our appliance were delivered in January and lived in our living room, or on our deck from January until April I think. Grrr...

Thank heavens we at least had a working refrigerator in the garage.

Eventually the kitchen got wired, and drywalled.

And Gail was able to come out to help me paint, make me laugh, and be the best friend that anyone could ever want.

We painted the kitchen a white that is actually a creamy golden yellow...Gail is working on the white base coat I think.

The kitchen looked like this from Feb. until May.


I survived.

We survived.

And we now have a kitchen that I absolutely adore.

Maple cabinets, both stained and glazed. Maple does not take stain evenly.


Which was fine with us...I like the rustic feeling of the uneven stain.

We had the door and drawer front custom built. We had seen doors that we liked, and had a modified version of them made, with plain rather than mitered edge to save money. My goal was to have as simple of a door as I could, short of having just a slab door.

The basic configuration of the kitchen never changed: sink in the center, dishwasher to the right, oven and refrigerator on the other wall.

The quartz counter top was an easy pick for us.

I liked the black and pumpkin tones, liked that quartz does not need to be sealed, won't stain, crack etc etc...the wonder surface of the modern kitchen. I had a simple bullnose edge put on the counter top, and a short back splash of the same quartz.

The sink I wanted required a special order to get a model that was extra deep, almond tone and single instead of double.

The five parts of sink hardware took some thinking as to style and arrangement. Going left to right there is the insta-hot, which is expensive and worth every penny, the dish soap dispenser, the faucet which will both spray and stream, and has a pull out head, then the faucet handle, and then flush with the counter top, a push button to turn on the garbage disposal.

All nice and neat hardware...with no extra detail on anything that would require extra scrubbing later.

Choosing a range and oven was tricky. I absolutely DID NOT want stainless steel. Finger prints seriously show on brushed stainless steel and that is a total drag. When we saw the new features on this model it convinced me that I would be willing to use stainless steel appliance wipes every couple of days.

Bernie was just loved the brushed metal finish on appliances.

I made him give me a solemn vow that he would be as vigilant as I was about keeping up with the fingerprint wiping duties.

After having the appliances in place for about two months, I asked how often he had wiped them down.

Answer: He hadn't ever wiped a fingerprint down. Not once.

I pointed out the wipes. No, you can't just use a paper towel or rag. You can't just use any kitchen cleaner. You have to use a SPECIAL cleaner. And you have to wipe every inch of the stainless or it will look streaky.

He wiped.

He quickly learned it is hard work.

Now he hates wiping stainless as much as I do now and understands why I was reluctant to give into having the finish.


we do both love the appliances (oven/range, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher) anyway.

Go figure.

What did I like about the range so much that I was willing to go with stainless?

The black glass top range for one. I have had enough of wiping down burner and plates and spills and whatnot. Hated the wobbly electric burner elements. A flat piece of glass to cook on works for me.

I liked that there is a "bridge" burner option. When I want to use a griddle for pancakes or french toast, I turn on the bridge option and the space between the two side burners also heats up. Sweet.

I like that I have the choice of convection oven or regular oven, and that I have a small second oven under the main oven that I can use as a drawer as well.

My microwave has the option of being used as either a regular oven or a microwave oven. That makes it possible for me to have three ovens to work with.

Don't hold your breath until when that should happen though. Baking in three ovens at once? Not going to happen.

Unless my foodie/loves to cook son and daughter-in-law decide to take over the kitchen for some grand meal preparation.

Anytime Rachel and Jeff...any time at all!.

Planning for a pantry was interesting. There was no logical place for one. However, while we had the cabinet doors and drawer fronts custom made, the cabinets themselves are IKEA products.

Check this out: the IKEA cabinet front pulls open, and inside are shelves that also pull out.

And since the kitchen has two pocket doors (this one is the one in the hall) there were no worries of blocking entrance to the kitchen when the pantry or the dishwasher was open.

All the cabinets will eventually have the same slide out feature. We just need to retro fit that feature in...something I wasn't up to doing until after I got my "stuff' put away.

All the doors and drawer have the "soft close' feature that make the door or drawer glide to close softly and quietly. It is impossible to slam any of the doors or drawers shut.

We got a new door and the door window has a shade inside the glass. Very cool, and absolutely the windows without shades right next to it?

Hello.....what were we thinking?
But it is a fun feature to show off.

The door and window casings were switched to match the oak floor, as were the floor moulding.

Another "didn't want": a water dispenser on the refrigerator door. Unsanitary in my opinion.

Well, I've changed my mind. I like it now, even if it does spew crushed ice on the floor if you don't pay attention when filling your glass. I've made a point of keeping the dispenser disinfected regularly, and what the heck, it IS just us two 99% of the time anyway.

It cracks me up that it tells me exactly how many ounces of water I have filled my glass with. Handy feature for cooking though.

Bernie was able to get absolutely killer prices on the GE appliances as an employee. The appliances also had rebates on top of that. It only made sense to go with the top of the line appliances when we could get them at rock bottom prices.

Hart has come into the kitchen to help give you some perspective on the size of the place...

The pop out...and a nice view of the new oak floor. The new floor looks like it has always been installed as the same time as the 55 year old oak floor in the rest of the house.

The single overhead light in the kitchen has been replaced with six can lights in the kitchen ceiling and two lights over the pop out. Plus there is under cabinet lighting as well.

I can see to cook for a change instead of working in the shadows of a single overhead light.

The long lower cabinet next to the window has the same feature as the pantry. The door front pulls open and there are three sliding shelves inside.

The pocket door to the dining room. The prints on the wall were purchased on our 25th anniversary Alaskan cruise.

About the trash container. It took prodding to make me spend the money on the foot lever controlled stainless trash can, but I have to admit I wish I had had that style of trash can all along. The plastic ones are no match...and this one should last for the rest of my life at the very least. For once I don't mind having a trash can in view in the kitchen.

A close up of the drawer handles...another big decision that was made in a snap.

I wanted the kitchen to have a 1950's country kitchen vibe to it, and the black handles with copper tones played nicely with the black of the appliances, while still being warmer looking than '50s style hammered black iron handles.

The dots around the microwave center knob still eludes me. I have learned a few tricks...have read the owners manual...realize I am going to have to remember I now am doing high altitude cooking...and what the heck...I'll probably still never use all the features this marvel has to offer.

I do like that the center dial reminds me of tuning in an old fashioned radio.

So do you like my new kitchen?

Bernie and I sit in the kitchen and just stare in rapt wonder.

We have a kitchen!!!!

I want to give credit where credit is due:

In January I totally burned out on deciding what I wanted in terms of kitchen cabinets.

White...rustic cherry...birch...each decision got a thumbs down from Bernie.

I gave up and told him it was his turn to pick something out.

He did...and I loved what he picked.

We worked together picking out the handles, sink, counter top and applinaces.

I picked the paint color.

Our contractor sketched ideas for the lay out.

Lowes drafted a plan.

We thought, modified and thought again.

It came out just perfect for us.

Including the fact that we had the lower cabinets installed so the countertop would be higher than a couple of inches.

For the first time since I stopped growing as a child, I can work for hours in the kitchen without having an aching back from working on a counter top that was too low for me.



Now I have to tell you another thing about this kitchen: I had a friend whom I have never met who has been on the same life course as I have since January 2008. Vicki, who lives in Florida was preparing to sell her house and move with her husband into an apartment at the same time God nudged me to start clearing out our Houston house.

Vicki downsized, and moved first.

By June I was doing the same thing.

We comiserated about moving cats, losing friends, making do, waiting and waiting and waiting for our houses to sell...and then buying a house...and remodeling.

We laughed when we realized we had bought the same faucet.

We compared notes on sinks...appliance finishes...quartz...and Sherwin William paint colors.

It was almost like being pregnant at the same time.

We kidded about which one of us would post our new kitchen pictures first.

(Her contractor worked FAST!)

Yesterday we decided to "deliver' our kitchens to our blogs at the same time.

So go and have a look at what the kitchen in Florida looks like!

Never mind that both of us are like proud new mamas about them...and feel happy and worn out all at the same time.

Thanks Vicki for all the emails sharing both exasperation and excitement.

Thanks for letting me know I wasn't the only one dithering sometimes.

I'm excited to finally see the finished project! You can see it too, here.

YA HOO!!!!!


Vicki said...

Awww,'re so sweet, Jill!

You did a fabulous job with your kitchen posting! It's gorgeous! Doc said to tell you that he really likes it, too. (Thanks for the info about the maple cabinetry taking stain unevenly...we're still trying to decide what wood to choose for the bathroom - I'd like beachy rustic, but I'm not sure I want that installed permanently!)

I love the look of stainless, but I just couldn't bring myself to installing something that would be so high-maintenance.

Considering that you pretty much redid your entire house, I think the reno was completed in a remarkable length of time!

Beautiful, beautiful! Congrats to you and Bernie! Perhaps you can entice Lovella to come for a visit and make your kitchen smell yummy!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

That's a very yummy kitchen and obviously well worth the time and aggravation and effort. I love it.

A Lady said...

Great post! Left a big smile on my lips! So fun that Vicki coculd go step by step with you. Loved it, and no, it was not long at all! I enjoyed every word. Love my momma! Love her home

Lovella ♥ said...

JIll, your kitchen is magazine perfect. I love it. . could move in tomorrow and not change a thing.

What a great choice you made with the cabinets. . .love the pulls. . I would have picked those too.
The colors . . .everything. . .very very nice. I can see myself sitting there in a future post of yours.
Off to visit Vicki.

Vicki said...

Like you, I keep coming back...and I notice something "new" each time. It's interesting...Henry gave me a choice of having the drawer pulls installed centered to each drawer, or an equal distance from the top of each drawer. I chose chose the equal distance. Ahhh, variety is the spice of life! ;)

Becky said...

Thanks for the invite, I can almost smell the coffee (eventhough I don't drink it, I love the smell!). Your kitchen in marvelous! Love the colours, feel, luxury items (that garbage can for one!), and view. I hope you are happy there for a long time. I am sure you are done with moving and renovating!
May this kitchen be a place of friendships, laughter, great food, and refuge to all those that sit in that window seat! Blessings!

Julie said...

Ohh Jill... I LOVE your kitchen!
I walked through the whole process from your first photo of the old red cabinets to your gleaming new one! I love seeing things move from old to new in renovations... but I do realize that I had the easy ride! All done in one blog post !! smile..
I'm soo happy that you are pleased with how it all turned out... It is stunning!!
May you enjoy many years in your new home, created just for you!!

Judy said...

I've so enjoyed catching up on your home reno's! Everything looks amazing. Great job in picking things out.

I have had stainless appliances for five years...and they aren't such a big deal to keep clean.