Sunday, April 1, 2012

kitchen catch-up

Since it looks as though there may continue to be some progress on our kitchen in the coming months, I thought I'd do a picture post to show how far we've come. Three years seems like forever to wait for this project, and I was amazed as I looked back through old photos to see how young the kids looked when we started.

To help you get your bearings, this is what we are going for:

The dotted line shows the size of the original kitchen (although the ORIGINAL original kitchen of 1910 was about half that size and was bordered by a butler's pantry where the oven wall is now, and a pass-through pantry between the kitchen and dining room). In any case, the kitchen was tiny, had almost no counter space, and very little cabinet space for a family of 14. We resorted to using a storage room in our basement for storing most of our food, with just a 24" wide upper cabinet that would hold packages and cans that we needed for meals for a given week. It was not fun. The cabinets were falling apart, the green laminate countertop was chipping and breaking, the carpet (yes, carpet!) was fraying and coming apart, and the false 7.5' ceiling made the place feel like a cave.

Here are the big things we did:
  • Moved the north wall 30" into the too-large dining room
  • Knocked down the east wall (see dotted line) that separated the kitchen from the old laundry/mudroom
  • Relocated the powder room to a large coat closet in the center hall
  • Moved the laundry to the old powder room location

This is the view into what's now the pantry. It was a small office (originally the "sewing room") and we knocked out the wall that separated it from the kitchen, and closed up the doorway (just to the left of the radiator) that used to access it from the dining room (see next photo). Our washer and dryer used to sit right where Cora (purple shirt) is standing when there was a wall there.
This doorway went into the old office. Kitchen is to the right.
In this photo, you can see the old door to the office behind Curtis. The backside of the old kitchen wall hadn't yet come out. We were crammed in the dining room along with tons of construction materials.
Here's a view looking the opposite direction
And here's the dining room now. The paneled wall idea came because originally the dining room had paneled walls and a beamed ceiling, but it also helped cover up the old doorway to the office (which would have been on the far right of the photo). The kitchen is just to the right.

As for the kitchen, most of my old photos are saved on our external hard drive, so I did my best to find a couple that would show what it was like. I look just lovely in this picture. ;o) It shows what my counterspace was like. There was 24" to the left and right of the sink, and then we had this little rolling cart (which we called "the island" - ha!). On another wall, there was a tiny bit of counterspace, but that's where we kept our mixer and microwave, so it wasn't usable prep space at all. In this picture I'm making tamales for our Christmas Eve dinner. You can also see how low the ceiling was; it came down to the tops of the windows (which were just panes of glass, by the way - great for the times I would burn things and couldn't even open a window!)
And this shows our tiny eating area. We used to cram some of us around this and some of us on stools around the "island." (The food is from my heavy duty couponing, pre-vegan days.)
Now here are some early demo photos:

Just before the old wall separating the kitchen and dining room was torn out. There is a radiator "bench" just in front of it that we would use when sitting at the table.
And here is the wall gone, revealing the new wall behind it. (See the radiators that we used as a bench?)
Here the old mudroom wall that stood behind the fridge is gone, and the ceiling has been ripped out to its full 10' height.
This wall borders the garage and is where the stove/cooktop will be. See the hutch-shaped outline along the wall toward the left? That's where a hutch stood in the original butler's pantry. We covered over that window since an attached garage was added on that side of the house in the 30s and it wasn't a nice view. ;o)
Now here are some progression photos of the new kitchen. We still have a long way to go, but we're getting there.

This one shows the awesome soffit that our contractor built. We had to have a soffit here to cover up some needed pipes on the right, but I didn't want a standard 1990s soffit. I love how it turned out. There will be a pendant hanging over the sink. The windows were replaced with casement-look (but they're really awning-syle) that match the rest of the windows in the house.

We put in honed slate flooring with black grout. To save money, we ordered 18x18 tiles and cut them down to 9x18. The wall with the plywood is where the garage window was. The pantry (old office) is just to the left.
Since we couldn't get away with much color on the walls, we painted the ceiling green. It's unexpected and I love it. Our contractor framed out cheap steel doors with oak to match the oak doors in the rest of the house. The one on the left has a chalkboard center and leads to the garage.
This shot shows the grey-blue we used for some of the cabinetry (including the backing center cabinets in the pantry) as well as the laundry room on the far right. The laundry room is where the old powder room was, and is now a pass-through to the center hall. It also has built-in cubbies on the right side and separates from the kitchen and hall with pocket doors.
We agonized over countertop choices. Neither of us is a fan of granite and after years of living with green laminate (here and at our old house), we really wanted something more durable. We settled on Beleza soapstone. We were able to order slabs and have them shipped here for our contractor to cut and install, and it was FAR less money to do this than other options we looked at. Since soapstone can be cut with regular woodworking tools, many homeowners do it themselves. Other bonues are that you can put hot pots on it, it doesn't have to be sealed, and if you scratch it (our variety is pretty hard), you can buff out the scratches. Since we were cutting it ourselves, we chose to have it 30" deep around the sink and have it run right into the windows instead of having a sill. I will plant herbs back there, I think.
This is one of my favorite things about the kitchen. The doors don't have glass yet and aren't installed, but this will house our display stuff. Right now I just have cookbooks in it. (The contractor is building a dining room hutch to match the originals that were ripped out of the dining room in the 20s or 30s, and that will house our ironstone).

Here again is the garage wall with the ovens and cooktop, with the pantry (old office) to the left.
The green tape shows where the island will go.
This is my spice drawer. I got these little jars super cheap online from a restaurant supply place and I love them!

Behold, the island! I've waited more than 3 years to see this in real life and not just in my head! It will be stained and sealed on-site, likely by moi. We picked out this countertop and had it shipped with the soapstone. It was less than half buying and having it fabricated locally. There will be two big pendants hanging over it once all the lighting is installed.

This is the island sink. It was just installed and I can't wait to use it once the island is done. Our contractor is coming back for a three-day weekend in two weeks, so hopefully it will be all stained and ready to go by then!

The pantry (old office) is one of my top five favorite things. It's hard to photograph since it's so small. This left wall is where the doorway into the office once was. I keep most of our food on the left, and on the right is my baking center. I have baking supplies in the cupboard, and flours, sugar, etc. on the shelves above. My mixer sits on the far right. It's all just to the left of the ovens, so it's super handy.

Hopefully I'll have more photos to show soon!


  1. Love the post and LOVE the kitchen!

  2. Amazing! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  3. LOVE your pantry! now I need to find the pic of mine and try to finish mine someday the way I intended ;)