Tuesday, March 27

my kitchen makeover

This kitchen makeover takes the cake for longest lasting project in my life.  Start to near finished was almost 6 months.  Before...a dreary 80's dream with oak trim cream color cabinets and a dingy linoleum floor.  And after a classic timeless space that's not only pretty but functions wonderfully.

I've waited for this makeover since I bought my home almost 4 years past. I took my time planning the layout I wanted along with the specific finishes, thousands of design pictures later.  I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned about appliances and standard sizes either.

After meeting with a number of local kitchen design companies I wasn't falling for what I was hearing - "you have to keep the galley layout, an island won't work in the current space".  When I set my mind to something there is no convincing me otherwise and I think I'm fairly realistic.  I believe in making any space work to meet your wants and needs.  I wasn't impressed nor could settle on any of the kitchen companies designs so I designed the kitchen myself! 

We started by removing the bulk head cover and hanging cabinets that attributed to the original galley layout.

We were left with a sense of space and the exposed beam...

The floor before was a vinyl linoleum, something of the sort...2 layers of it on plywood and 1/2" lower from the hardwood that runs through the main level of the house.  We tore out the old floor ourselves.  I called Vintage Hardwood to match the existing 20 year old oak. They did a fabulous job. 

The thickness of the new oak matched the existing so it is perfectly level now.  Did I mention I LOVE hardwood in kitchens!! Well in any room for that matter.

We applied a stain to the new floor to get an idea of what color we want.  The plan is to sand the entire main level of the house sometime later in the year so it's all the same color.

The inspiration for my new kitchen came from my Grammies kitchen. It's all summed up in one word, CHARACTER!

Once the kitchen demolition was completed and floor installed we were ready for the cabinets. *When I say demo it sounds so extreme. We took apart the kitchen carefully and gave it away to a family.


I found a great cabinet maker by referral and had him build what I wanted to a t.  I was able to customize the island with shelves for my cookbooks and cutting boards.

While in Toronto last December I found perfect the knobs and pulls at Restoration Hardware. They are heavy, good quality and achieves an old worn look.  The color is soft iron.

We decided on all white cabinets for the back wall and a dark ebony stained island. Glass was tricky, to go clear or not...so I went with almost clear panes that have an antique feel as the glass is not perfect.

The project included updating the appliances.  We choose:
  • A counter depth energy star Fisher and Paykel refrigerator (One of my pet peeves is when fridges stick out past counters!)
  • GE five-burner gas range
  • GE energy star range hood
  • Bosch Energy star dishwasher (only affordable energy star on the market that I could find is Bosch...no heated dry option)
For a sink I choose a Kohler cast iron white porcelain sink and a Grohe stainless steel pull out faucet.

After much counter top thought we went with white granite.  My real love is for calacatta marble but the price was way over budget.  The granite is close enough to achieve the look I wanted and it's a far cry from the speckled granite that I can't stand.

The back splash is a classic white subway tile with charcoal grout for that traditional feel.

I ordered vintage pendant lights on ebay for over the island (see Vintage Lighting) and I scored a $20 chandelier at value village that I spray painted. (See DIY Chandelier Update)

What did we DIY?
  • Kitchen demo
  • Floor demo/prep
  • Drywall patching
  • Painting
  • Light Fixtures
What's left?
  • The exposed beam needs to be aged, stained, or covered in an old barn board.
  • Stools! Haven't found anything different yet.
Managing the project was easy, I'm organized in general so keeping on top of it all was a cinch compared to the choices I was faced with!  When designing a kitchen form follows function.  Not only does this space function better but I have way more storage then previously.  The pull out drawers are deeper and making use of the vertical space is key.  Before we'd get stuck inside the dead end galley, now more people can be in the kitchen as the island allows everything and everyone to flow properly.  Thanks to my amazing partner Gerald for all his help and our friend Tim who assisted with tearing up the old floor.  Our kitchen is now complete and just in time for the new addition to the family.

Saturday, March 3

DIY Pillows Projects

I'm owl obsessed and want this! DIY owl pillow I found online, to be added to my list of projects...perfect for the soon to be baby's room. 

MarthaStewart.com can be thanked for the following pillow project ideas!

These ruff hewn pillows were created from denim cloth or a denim shirt that had seen better days.
Mix and match for two looks, so you can change it as often as you change your mind.

Brighten outdoor spaces with decorative pillows made from cloth napkins. Use spares when their matches have been tossed or lost, or buy single napkins that catch your eye.
Nautical stripes in faded blues combine with neutrals and naturals for a room that's modern and inviting. The same rugs were used to make two kinds of pillows: a large one (bigger than a bed pillow) and a smaller one with an envelope-style opening.

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