Monday, September 21, 2009


The kitchen, an oft-mentioned topic earlier on in this blog, hasn't made an appearance for quite some time. As if I had gone through a nasty breakup, I needed a little time to mend my wounded heart and forgive it for its shortcomings (that, and it's still not 100% finished--these days I don't find a whole lot of spare time for staining trim and such). I'll spare you the mundane but terribly frustrating details of what went wrong during the remodel, and share some pictures of the highlights. **disclaimer--any use of the word 'we' in this post largely means 'I', as Sam had virtually no patience for or interest in agonizing over every decision like I did, funny enough. Every conversation about the kitchen went something like this: "What do you think of this sink?" "I like it--done; decision made. Order it." "But what about this...or this....or this? Are you still paying attention?" As such, I take responsibility for the bad decisions as well as the good...**

I freely admit that interior design is not one of my strengths. I looked through kitchen magazines (thanks, Anna!) in order to get a sense of what I was drawn to, and used many elements I gleaned from a couple of favorites. Since our home was built in 1905, we wanted something that would evoke the feeling of a period kitchen, but with modern amenities. And with the space opening up to the dining room and its large built-in buffet across the back wall, we also knew that wood cabinets matching in tone to the buffet would work best.

Here is a before picture to give you an idea of what we started with:

This was our only section of countertop, and a wall separated the kitchen and the dining room.

Here are some after pictures:

A beam supports where the loadbearing wall once stood, and two schoolhouse pendants light the island. The wood floors were mostly great underneath the white tile, but they did have to use a small amount of new wood to patch a couple of spots. I plan on stripping and staining the transom window above the back door, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

I like these inset cabinets and cup pulls, which lend a period feel:

Choosing the countertops was an easy process; we both fell in love with the easy, warm look of soapstone. Over time, small nicks and scratches give a lived-in feel, which works well with our older home. It has a muted black look (although this picture looks very green), with veins of color weaving through it. Here is a closeup of a more vibrant section of the soapstone:

I'm more attached to the form of the integrated drainboard than the function and don't want things left there overnight. Sam doesn't share the sentiment and has the nerve to actually drain things upon it; I don't think this is a battle I will win.

Another feature I love is the 1 3/4 bowl Blanco Silgranite sink. I had decided on a porcelain sink until I read about these sinks on the kitchen forums at Gardenweb, a site I highly recommend for anyone planning a kitchen remodel. I also find the sink grids really handy; they protect the sink and help keep water flowing down the drain even with a sink full of dishes.

The marble subway tile backsplash is simple but pretty, and since our stove is in the island we don't need to worry as much about the stone etching from pasta sauce or other various substances.

In time, I know that I will admire the kitchen for its positive traits and not see all the flaws. It has already made a large improvement on our daily life as a family, which was the whole reason behind this endeavor. There is plenty of counter space for the boys to help chop tomatoes for a salad or work the mixer for cookies, a lower cabinet with easy access to cups--every morning when Kenyon hears the Vita-Mix start up, he toddles over to the cabinet, pulls out a cup, and asks for his 'smoo-mee'. It works for our family as it is now, and I can also see Sam and I with three teenage boys and a herd of their friends hanging out here. The process was painful, but worthwhile.

Anyone want to come over for dinner? :)


  1. First of all, from here, it looks beautiful. Boy, do I feel your pain. We redid our kitchen from scratch two years ago. It sucked. But I'm so glad we did it. Even with all the mistakes, mis-measurements, and necessary re-fashioning of brand new cabinets. Now that's all neither here nor there. What I think of when I think of our kitchen, is our awesome parties. 'Cause we bought it to make memories.

  2. Exactly, Kami. Kitchens are inevitably the gathering place for parties, and I look forward to many evenings with friends and family here.

  3. Annie!!! The kitchen is absolutely gorgeous! You've just increased the value of your house by double the cost of the redo...but why would you ever sell!

    I'm loving the blog - you are such a great writer and your tales of your boys makes me nostalgic for when my big boys were little. Thanks for stirring good memories - and enjoy making your own!
    xoxxo Auntie Nora