Cookin’ up a list…and a kitchen

This post needs a bit of a precursor I’m afraid. See, it was written in September but I didn’t have the photos with me at the time. So obviously the next best solution was to wait 4 months to post it. So it’s a wee bit out of date, but it’s already written so why not roll with it. Excuse the horrible pictures/type etc. Just think…most of the renovation has already happened and it’s just a short most likely long, post away!

September 13th—Finally an excuse for not getting to my to-do list…because I’ve been busy doing. I love lists and I’m one of those weirdos that puts things like ‘make a list’ on the list and enter into one of those M.C. Escher paradigms. Which list is making which list happen?! And yet, here we are 4 months from when our house became our home  second home and no official list. Sure, I have spreadsheets coming out the wazoo, but nothing to tick, so to speak. Mainly because it felt like nothing was happening and well the other–laziness. But, I was over at Young House Love and realised I enjoyed seeing that progress update and thought it might make me realise what we have accomplished and what is on the horizon. So here goes.


Phase 1: Furnish and paint everything.

Mmm…that doesn’t feel better at all, let’s try again.


Phase One  (to be completed by December 31st 2013 because we all need a little goal in mind) Editor’s Note 01/17/2014: Hate to spoil the surprise, but…we missed that goal. Oops

Kitchen–Rip it out and Start again

Status: In progress!

As of this week (ahem, September 13, 2014, our kitchen demolition is finally underway-which feels like the proper beginning. First thing we thought about the house during the viewing was–kitchen is going, bathroom is going. The most major work we’re doing in the house is this back corner of the house as we’re rearranging some walls/moving some plumbing all in the name of FLOW. Basically you enter the house through the backdoor (there isn’t a doorknob on the front door!) and you enter a mudroom, walk through a hallway (where there is a bathroom), walk into the dining room and then turn left and back around to get to the kitchen. It’s silly. This hallway has space, but for what? You just walked through a mudroom! BUT, it is the exact same size and shape as the bathroom that runs along it, which shares a wall with the kitchen. So we’re removing the wall between kitchen and bathroom/dining room creating an open plan ‘L’ shaped kitchen/dining room and exposing existing brick fireplace. Then we’re swapping the bathroom with the existing hallway. This hallway/walkway will now be apart of the kitchen and allow room for a breakfast bar and allow that previously unused width of the hallway to house a wall-o-storage, including a closet, washer/dryer etc. So the nitty gritty.

  • Remove wall between kitchen, dining room and bathroom
  • Expose existing (hidden) fireplace pillar (for heating venting only-no fires)
  • Remove existing cabinetry 
  • Install new upper and lower cabinetry in it’s current placement as well as an addition of a peninsula that will run up to fireplace pillar
  • Create breakfast bar area at peninsula
  • Create wall of shelves/closets/cabinets to house extra storage and potentially stacked washer and dryer
  • Install barn door on a track to hide washer/dryer on ‘wall-o-storage’
  • Remove faux brick flooring, lay wood (fir) flooring down so living room, dining room and kitchen all flow together as there are no doors in this space.
  • Sand existing wood floors and restain darker shade (includes other existing fir on the first floor–more on this later)
  • Replace 1972 appliances-fridge, dishwasher, oven, stove as well as add in new fan/extractor
  • Insert new farmhouse sink and faucet
  • Remove the bizzarre mexican folk art backsplash and replace with new white tile.
  • Install new countertops that are NOT square tiles.
  • Remove random off center can light that sits akwardly close to the others, whilst adding a few more to balance out the line of lights
  • Add pendant lights over the peninsula
  • Paint the walls
  • Furnish the kitchen with all those kitchen-y necessities like pots, pans, plates etc.

How is it coming along? Well there is a plan…so that’s good. I’ve ordered cabinets, countertops, sink, backsplash and selected appliances and as I mentioned the contractor has now removed the cabinets so we’re on our way. We’re probably looking at 6 week timeline so I’m excited and a wee bit anxious because I worry about my decisions–having made them without actually seeing it all together and there are still things to order/pick up etc. I so hesitate showing this plan because it’s such a mess, but let’s live a little. I really am aware that I don’t want anything so extraordinarily safe that I feel I’ve just moved into another crappy rental, but yet not so wacky that I’m the only person to appreciate it. It’s a fine line. I’m trying to take some risks as that’s part of what this project is all about, and we’ll just cross our fingers that works out for us! I’ve gone with a rather traditional cabinet style as a lovely simple canvas but am looking to introduce some other textures in like a weathered wood to give it some contrast and make it feel a bit less like a kitchen out of a box. I guess if I was designing a kitchen based on looks instead of practicality I’d error on something that felt more loose like furniture assembled without upper cabinets and shelves of beauty. But, it gets annoying having to dust your plates every weekend ( I should imagine) and having to worry that ‘so-and so’s’ favourite mug is hideous and I’m not having that on my shelf .  I’m hoping the textures and a few other unexpected pops in lighting, fridge and cabinet pulls will help liven up what could otherwise be relatively standard.

We haven’t pulled the trigger on our decorative wood yet as we want to line the area on the backside/underneath of the breakfast bar area as well as create a barn door. I also have a style/colour in mind for pulls and handles but am struggling to find the entire collection in a matching tone. I’m set on cup pulls (first thing I had decided), but am also looking for a few cupboard latches and potentially recessed pulls in a shock-daring brass as I’m so over silver. I know brass isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but at the end of the day silver is en vogue and has been for quite a while and eventually that too shall pass so why go for it when in 5 years everyone might be agreeing with the thoughts of the 2013 Brittany? So I’m going for it…I just need to find all three items in the same tone and not one distressed, one matte, one dark etc.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve found in this process of designing/selection is my assumptions and disappointment in the similarities, or lack thereof between the US/UK markets. I obviously wasn’t shopping for kitchens when I last lived in the US as a college student so my main knowledge comes from my time in the UK. I developed a sense of what I liked and didn’t like and what was available etc. and took this wisdom forward into the design. Hah. Big joke on me! It’s so different! Integrated fridges and appliances are practically standard in a kitchen in the UK. Sure, not everyone has them, but it’s certainly not exclusively for the rich. You can get a kitchen from ikea with an integrated fridge! And just to be clear, in case even the terminology is foreign, when I say integrated, I mean that there is a cabinet panel covering the fridge, dishwasher etc. so that it just looks like a wall of cabinets. When we came here and enquired about them we got a bit of a smirk…which didn’t make sense until I started looking for fridges and found out getting an integrated fridge was pretty much $6,000 USD, and that is without the cabinet panel. What the what?!? And as I’m sure expecting to hear, Ikea doesn’t sell the fridges this side of the pond either. That was quite annoying as I’ve been HGTV’d out of stainless steel appliances and was resistant to buy something that was supposed to be in, that I didn’t have an affinity for. We have stainless steel in our apartment and it doesn’t bother me, but for some reason actually paying the bill for it makes that so much different. But having said all that, I was able to get an integrated dishwasher (Ikea had them, but the depth was a bit off so I ended up going with another option).

So it’s definitely a learning curve, but it’s exciting times and definitely feels like it’s all going to start happening after this as we’ve been holding off on furnishings until the dirty work was done. Here we come holiday home!


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  • Lauren said on January 18, 2014 4:18 am

    I’m ridiculously excited to follow this reno and couldn’t agree more on many of your points. Specifically those brass pulls – can’t wait to see them in action!

  • Darcy said on January 19, 2014 11:26 am

    Very excited for you and the family! I can’t wait to see the progress and one day visit!

  • Other Lauren (Sobie) said on January 20, 2014 10:36 pm

    YAY for progress post!! Da demo makes total sense to me. I can’t wait for more visuals, no pressure, but pressure…kind of for more posts along the way. Fantastic work so far ma lady.

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