Room by Room Revival: the Kitchen

The kitchen of our lovely, old home has earned the “Most Changed” award among its peers. Nothing remains from its previous life.

My husband and I stood in awe on our first look into the room at the back of the house called the kitchen. It wasn’t that this kitchen was not clean, it was simply ancient beyond belief.

We estimate the original kitchen was last updated in the 1960s.
We estimate the original kitchen was last updated in the 1960s.
A counter atop the radiator divided the original kitchen from what was once a breakfast nook, but now our butler's pantry.
A counter atop the radiator divided the original kitchen from what was once a breakfast nook.

A CLEAN SLATE

The contractor wasted no time removing everything. She could only hope the sub-floor could be salvaged – it could not. You might say we had been given a clean slate, except that I call a clean slate designing from the ground up. . . no walls.

Everybody wanted six more inches of floor space, but there were only four inches to be found, and we spent a fair amount of time debating what those four inches of floor space would cost in terms of dollars and historical preservation. In the end, the walls stayed put.

The basement stairwell prevented us from moving the walls of the kitchen.
The basement stairwell prevented us from moving the walls of the kitchen.

My husband and I have a way of divvying up the responsibilities of a renovation. He chooses the appliances, I do the rest. (I do exaggerate, but only a little.)

After a few searches across the world of online shopping, he found the perfect appliances, and we saved thousands of dollars in the process. It was a scheduling adventure, however, to ensure the availability of each appliance would coincide with someone being at the house to accept the delivery, and space was available in the garage to store it. Sometimes it worked out, and sometimes it just didn’t.

The design for the kitchen came to me almost immediately: white against dark. We selected the cabinets, and had great fun tweaking where there would be drawers, pull-outs, or glass front doors.

As with everything else in this renovation, the kitchen cabinets were designed online.
As with everything else in this renovation, the kitchen cabinets were designed online.
We selected the granite for the counter tops from a picture sent from the supplier.
We selected the granite for the counter tops from a picture sent from the supplier.

kitchen in progress 2

kitchen in progress

Brick veneer found for a steal on Craig's List created the back splash for the butler's pantry.
Brick veneer found on Craig’s List created the back splash for the butler’s pantry.
We found the drawer pulls on Amazon and they shipped directly from China.
We found the drawer pulls on Amazon — they shipped directly from China.

Throughout the renovation, we made the 3-hour drive once each week, spent about two hours meeting with the contractor making decisions about the next week’s work, and admiring their progress from the week before.

It was on one of these weekly visits that we experienced the most opportunistic moment of the entire renovation.

We were standing in the 2nd floor master bedroom when my husband looked down through the open flooring to the kitchen down below and noticed a “void” above the kitchen ceiling beams – a void that would allow us to vault the ceiling.

Although the footprint stayed the same, our little kitchen became infinitely more grand with a raised ceiling.

From the master bedroom, we could see a void between the floors.
From the master bedroom, we could see a void between the floors.

Knowing exactly what you want can be both a curse and a blessing. We knew exactly how we wanted this kitchen to look. The only challenge was in pulling the pieces together.

fridge textCorrecting the mis-matched handles on the refrigerator and freezer meant we had to return the entire freezer. The replacement freezer arrived with yet another different handle. We ordered the correct handle, re-drilled the holes in this beautiful freezer door, and installed it ourselves. (Lesson learned: ordering appliances on-line is not for the faint of heart.)

The granite counter-top cracked on its way from Charlotte, the sink got lost in the mail, and spots appeared out of nowhere on the front of the dishwasher — the whole unit had to be replaced.

Sometimes, it’s not how you get there. . . it’s that you’ve finally arrived.

kitchen3

kitchen2

kitchen1

The refrigerator and freezer door handles finally match.
The refrigerator and freezer door handles finally match.

butler pantry after

kitchen4

Paint Colors:

Kitchen Walls: Sherwin Williams Origami White (HGSW4007)

Trim: Sherwin Williams Fundamental White (HGSW4001)

Doors: Sherwin Williams Raven Wing (HGSW1442)

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