We finally finished up in the kitchen. Well, almost, B still has to decide what to do with that big blank wall next to the window. It’s a tossup between open shelves or a big painting, still undecided. Our original design was with birch cabinets with a small square detail. But when we drove down to Ikea to look around B noticed a kitchen setup with glossy white cabinets, and she thought about how easy it would be to clean them – I do most of the cooking and she does most of the cleaning, so for her the idea of a smooth finish with no details to catch dirt was very appealing. So we changed our style and decided to do a more modern look, with shiny white cabinets, long stainless steel handles and an all stainless steel island.
Anyway, here are some ‘before’ shots. I didn’t really think ahead and take good photographs of what it looked like before we started, sorry. Our house was built in the late ‘60’s and the kitchen is original. The cabinets were all custom built, probably pretty good quality when they went in but after forty years they were kind of worn out, with the drawers starting to come apart. When we moved in it was the original dark wood stain. B painted the cabinets white because she just couldn’t take how dark it was. After a few years I took down some overhead cabinets that were separating the kitchen area from the small seating area.
To the left of the refrigerator is a door that leads to the laundry room, a small bathroom and the garage. The cabinets I took down were over the small peninsula right in front, so with them in place you would not be able to see the window from this angle. There was an open foot or so below the cabinets, I guess so that you could pass things back and forth, but it was just too confining. Overhead were two long fluorescent fixtures, each with one bulb so it was never very bright in there.
Behind where the camera is in the above photo is an outside wall which had a small window which we replaced with big French doors out to an eating area on the patio.
To the left of the above shots is the cooking area. Only two burners of the electric cooktop still worked. Just to the right was a small wall oven that would not keep an accurate temperature. B painted the wall behind the cooktop, and eventually stuck up some glass tiles. The walls behind and to the left are what we took down and we pushed this area back three feet to make the kitchen wider.
After seven months of slow work this is what we ended up with. It’s a major change from our old ‘60s kitchen. We took down the wall between the kitchen and our family room, extended the kitchen three feet and put in the large countertop bar. I moved the stove and installed a gas cooktop in a new island with exhaust hood. The sink was there in front of a small window which I replaced with an 8’ window which brightens things up considerably. We used to have the old style ceiling fluorescents with plastic panels which we pulled out and raised the ceiling and installed all led and fluorescent lights in ceiling cans. The bar is about a meter deep and two long, plenty of room for working on my cakes and cookies. There are now cabinets along the entire outside wall, over six meters worth. Again, a lot of room to lay out whatever I’m preparing.
All of the cabinets are from Ikea, with pull out drawers. We’ve got so much more storage now that we didn’t need any overhead cabinets, and with the drawers we don’t have to kneel down to dig things out of lower cabinets. That’s a small cabinet to the left of the window with a roll up door in which we keep the coffee maker.
In the above picture you can see the microwave with two big convection ovens below. They are in about the same place as the old oven, but pushed back three feet. To the left of them is where the old cooktop and wall was. Pushing that back made the area pretty large, and instead of the peninsula that was original there we put in an island with a new gas cooktop. When built the house was all electric, but shortly after we moved in the gas company started laying lines in our neighborhood and we had gas brought to the house, originally for a water heater but in anticipation of a gas stove. I now have five burners that all work, one of which is big enough to cook just about anything. The only overhead cabinets are above the ovens and the refrigerator. There is room in the island for all of my pots and pans. Cookie sheets are in a roll out next to the ovens. We could have made the island bigger, but there is enough countertop space and we wanted room for a small table to sit at in there.
The door that was originally to the left of the refrigerator was covered up and moved to the right of it, making room for a large walk in pantry (which is behind the refrigerator). I changed the door to be a sliding pocket door, so it doesn’t take up any room when open. Countertops are bright white quartz with a grey marbling, much nicer that that yellow laminate we started with, with stainless steel on the island. We put down a cork floating floor as the concrete slab developed a long crack which limited what we could do. Didn’t want tile, we felt it was too hard and cold to stand on. The cork is soft and warmer to walk on. B picked a glass/marble mosaic tile for the backsplash, which was also put up vertically next to the bar to provide some color.
That's it - the cabinets and appliances have been in for a while, so I've gotten to try everything out. The countertops went in and finally the flooring. Crown molding finished things up, so now it's on to our next project.