Ding…Kitchen’s Nearly Done!

 

 

Well the last kitchen update post for the house renovation was a bit delayed so I get to quickly follow it up with lots and lots of progress. Not quite a finished product, but lots of box ticking happening! I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have a moderately working kitchen again. Going up to the house started to become a bit of a drain last fall. Everytime we went up we spent most of the Saturday trying to clean up and then most of Sunday trying to tidy stuff away again so that they could continue working. Don’t get me wrong our contractor is INCREDIBLY accomodating always cleaning things up, tidying etc. but there is only so much you can do when there is drywall cutting, timber cutting etc going on. Dust/filth just gets everywhere. So we spent our weekends tiptoeing on filthy floors (they need to be sealed, so they just hold everything in them) trying to keep Tilly out of the renovation area and trying not to track all the nastiness around the rest of the house. Tilly was most often found either jumping over ginormous obstacles on a search for the random dropped screw, or trying to eat insulation or something else equally irritating. Plus, there are just the small things of using the upstairs sink for everything water related.

 

The last two visits we’ve had have been infinitely more enjoyable since Tilly can be free to roam and we can do simple things like make a cup of tea and have a countertrop to prepare some food. I like that it makes me appreciate the finished product even more! I feel almost guilty that we didn’t do more of the renovation ourselves like Smitten Studio (LOVE both their cabin and their house updates-gorgeous!!) or Manhattan Nest but then I see shows like ‘Reality Renovations’ and I thank my lucky stars I’m not as naive as some of those couples. When you couple that with our general lack of time, David’s back issues and my ‘condition’ of pregnancy I feel happy with our decision to support local businesses and hire! Oh had I forgot to mention that ‘little fact’…well that’s happening and has impacted things a bit which I’m sure will be revealed as we continue through our whirlwind progress reports! Tick tock till May 12th!

 

Here’s the updated list as of January 19, 2014:

  • Remove wall between kitchen, dining room and bathroom
  • Expose existing (hidden) fireplace pillar (for heating venting only-no fires) The good news was that there weren’t major issues and it wasn’t horrible red brick. The bad news is that we ended up having to build out a big pillar off the edge to run some heating pipes. Hey, ho…
  • 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 Wood panelling is on order and yet to be installed
  • CANCELLED Create wall of shelves/closets/cabinets to house extra storage and potentially stacked washer and dryer Cue the sadtrombone . I don’t know what plan we were looking at, but this wasn’t quite feasible. We were so happy with the openness we achieved by tearing down walls that we hesitated (thankfully) to add something as deep as a washer/dryer in the hallway of the kitchen. Bit of a shame but there is still scope to add a thinner area of storage. Just waiting to see how it all feels towards the end.  
  • CANCELLED Install barn door on a track to hide washer/dryer on ‘wall-o-storage’  See above…snif sniff
  • 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) Being done AS WE SPEAK.
  • 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. Selected a slight variation on subway tile that is longer and skinnier for a simple but not quite bog standard approach
  • Install new countertops that are NOT square tiles. We went with soapstone that we love. Not loving the fact the price jumped by a third at final install, but looking at the positives right? We’re aiming for the middle ground of darkness. We aren’t going to actively oil as I don’t want them black, but will do the occasional oiling to make it a mid grey.
  • 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
  • CANCELLED Add pendant lights over the peninsula Once the walls came down our contractor recommended that we forgo the pendant lights over the breakfast bar as they were going to be akwardly close to the other can lights so we moved our plans to over the dining room area. So many lighting options in this room it’s crazy, but I love how bright (without being obnoxious) it can get!
  • Paint the walls 
  • Furnish the kitchen with all those kitchen-y necessities like pots, pans, plates etc. In progress as we go
That’s a lot of lines off, no? Hooray. A bit off the six week schedule we originally spoke about but onwards and upwards. Overall, I’m really pleased with how things are going and how it’s all coming together. Previously I mentioned  some  of my concerns after ordering items sight unseen (or without side by side comparison) and I’m happy to report back…
Concern #1 : Wall removal Issues. I watch too much HGTV and their drama laden programmes that make you believe that everytime you touch a house you end up coming across a previous reno botch that requires you to build a new house or bring in an excorcist or something else ridiculous (have you seen Love it or List it?!? The houses are all out of code and falling down?!). Anyway, we were erroring on the side of caution and assumed we would have loads of obstacles or have to be very flexible with the solutions. Apparently this and a somewhat elastic budget are the keys to sanity because everything went quite well. We were able to remove the walls we wanted. Sure, there was a beam that went up and an addition to our existing pillar…and some soffetting that went up, but nothing enough to make me feel like we didn’t achieve our ultimate goal. Verdict: Success

 

 

Concern #2: White on white. I quite quickly became determined to have brass accents (not bright, but brushed/rustic) in the kitchen, but that led to the question of what to do with appliances. Stainless steel is the appliance coating du jour but I’m not overly keen on it. Again, not anti-it just didn’t love it enough to make it a purchase on my own terms. In the end we decided to make things either invisible, ‘invisible’ or blatantly in your face. The invisible award goes to the dishwasher which is happily tucked behind a cabinet panel. The ‘invisible’ award goes to the oven and stove top. The oven which sits in the lower cabinet area was ordered from Ikea in white in the hopes that it would just blend in with the rest of the wall. As the stovetop was going into a greyish/black we opted for  a black ceramic top. My biggest concern was whether or not the whites would be really off as we had to tell the cabinet company which appliances we were using before they ordered them and we never got to compare them side by side. The result is better than expected and doesn’t jar so whew! Lastly, the ‘blatantly in your face’ award goes to the Smeg fridge and the Ikea exhaust fan. Originally I wanted a white smeg fridge, only to find out that all the photos I had saved online were misleading as white only is available in Europe. Cream was the only ‘non-colour’ version available in the US. We had seen it in person at West Elm Market and thought it could pass for white so we stole a panel from the kitchen, brought it back to Brooklyn and actually for the first time in the reno actually got to make a decision on sight. Thankfully we discovered it looked dreadful so we went with a light blue to make it obviously different as opposed to just dingy different! The exhaust fan has a much more boring story. It was black or stainless so we went with black…zzzzzz. Verdict: Success

 

P.S. it really irritates me that the photo captions are all different sizes and it’s all a bit of a visual mess, but as I’m averaging about 2 a year otherwise, I’m trying to let those irks out into the wind. I just want to call it out so you know, don’t think I’ve lost my eyes. I see it and I get it…and I’m getting over it. I think.
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  • Celia Goddard said on January 21, 2014 10:41 am

    WOW!! Pregnant!! Congratulations, you slipped that little nugget of info through quietly! Loving all the pictures- that house looks fab! X

     
     
  • Brittany Hurdle said on January 21, 2014 10:44 am

    Hiya Celia!! NO JOKE, I saw a pinterest repin this morning from you and thought…hmm I should write her and tell her about the bubs, I’m sure she’d enjoy a bit of ‘keeping in the loop!’ Of course I got distracted immediately after that by looking at the pictures of your dream home exterior. Love! More posts to come about all the life changes I’m sure as now I’m sort of on a roll…over the hump and all that. Hope you and the mister are doing well and have settled into your new roles both personally and professionally!
    Great to hear from you, Bx

     
     
  • Darcy said on January 21, 2014 4:12 pm

    Beautiful Brit! Love the fridge, I do not think I have ever seen one like it in person.

     
     
  • Brittany Hurdle said on January 21, 2014 4:16 pm

    Well then you’ll have to visit us then! The Smeg fridges are more popular in Europe (despite looking quite Americana) I had one at my first workplace and I honestly saw it on my first step in the office and thought, “I have to work here!’ Bit smaller than a typical US fridge, ahem…a lot. But we don’t have huge needs plus we have the benefit of having our old ugly fridge in the garage which we can stock up with drinks and extras when necessary. Sadly, there IS a bigger model, but not available in the US. Booooo!

     
     
  • Sobie said on January 27, 2014 1:33 am

    Pshh caption sizes…SMEGGGGGG! When I read your previous post about an integrated fridge, I did not expect to see this saucy blue beauty in it’s place. Sending you a virtual high five on that selection. Secondly, that sink, backsplash, counters…! Dreamy. All of it. Keep em’ coming.

     
     
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