I’ve alluded to the fact that we moved recently, and you may (or may not) have noticed the leisurely posting schedule this spring and early summer, something anyone who has undergone a renovation can certainly understand. Not to mention I was kitchen-less for a good portion of that, I wasn’t able to create new recipes even if I had the time. It’s done now (well, mostly) and I figured it was about time I wrote a little something about it. :)
While we moved, we didn’t move far, maybe 100 yards to the other side of our condo complex (though that didn’t make it any easier). While we’ve been wanting more space for some time now, our desire to stay in our current neighborhood and community was much stronger, so we took a few more loads to Goodwill and stuck it out. Almost unbelievably, an amazing opportunity presented itself, allowing us to update and upgrade our space while still staying in the community we’ve come to adore. The new unit is larger, with a bonus guest room (something we’ve never had before) and a significantly larger space overall. We’d have been idiots to pass this up.
Of course, before we actually moved in, there was a good deal of work to be done. Because, let’s be honest, the new kitchen wasn’t exactly an upgrade from our old one. Exact same maple cabinets that were dwarfed by the tall ceilings. Un-utilized storage space. Dreaded black counter tops that weighed down the dark and dreary space. And a monstrous island that was far too large for its own good.
So we gutted it.
That was in February. We officially moved in mid-April. But it wasn’t until now that all the final loose ends were taken care of to a point where we could actually say it was “finished” (and of course, I say that loosely as we still have a laundry list of to-do items, trim to be painted and whatnot, but the space is at least presentable now.)
We’ve been incredibly fortunate in our partnerships over the years, and our relationship with KitchenAid, as a blogger partner and regular contributor to their blog, is one of our longest and most treasured (but, let’s be honest, we’ve been fans even longer). So it was with extreme excitement (nay, giddiness) that we partnered together to outfit this kitchen with a suite of amazing appliances. Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about these products, which not only look stunning but also boast some pretty awesome features (more on that later). Also, a big thank you to Delta and Rejuvenation who also contributed to transforming this space into my dream kitchen.
Someone please pinch me.
But enough about that… let’s get to the before & after pictures, shall we?
The biggest change we made was to the location of the sink and the removal of the existing island.
Based on the placement of the window, I really think this kitchen was originally designed as an L-shaped kitchen. I mean, why else would you have a window just that size at just that location if not to sit over the sink? I have a hunch that the architect designed it this way originally, then someone along the way decided that buyers want big islands (maybe they were watching too much HGTV?) so they stuck a massive one in the middle of the space. However it happened, I feel like we put it back the way it was supposed to be.
The new L-shape left plenty of open space for a more appropriately-scaled island, which we put together ourselves using some stainless steel legs from Etsy, topped with a beautiful piece of marble (my precious). I love how the open island gives us a ton of extra work space without feeling like a giant chunk in the space (seeing as we just took out a giant chunk, I didn’t want to put one right back).
While I would have loved to outfit the entire kitchen in marble, I knew that just wasn’t practical, seeing as how hard we are on our counters. So instead we went with a pure white quartz with a marble subway tile backsplash instead, plus the marble island (I’m going to embrace the fact that it will get etched and scratched and stained and be more beautiful because of it).
You can see here just how much of an eyesore that island was (and black? who paints an island black?)
The other big change? Replacing that dinky single row of cabinets with two rows of bright and beautiful, extra-tall white cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling. Not only did it pretty much triple the available storage, but it makes the 10-foot ceilings look ridiculously tall.
We also bought a new ladder. Obviously (shorty over here can barely reach the third shelf of the bottom row).
I’ll admit that, even with all our kitchen equipment, those top cabinets are not even close to full. Room to grow, right?
Our goals with this remodel were to lighten and brighten the space (white, white, and more white) and maximize storage as much as possible.
I think we accomplished that, don’t you?
(click through for LOTS more photos of the final space!)
The old floors were in pretty bad shape, so refinishing them was a necessity, and a total P.I.T.A. (we were incredibly fortunate to have very few snags in this whole process, but the floors just about did me in.) The final result was worth it though. We chose a medium walnut color, which looks pretty darn fabulous against the white cabinets (though I’ll admit they’re much harder to keep clean).
We also tore out the carpet on the upper two levels and installed the same hardwoods throughout. Because cats.
Seriously though, how many of our design decisions were based on the cats? More than I care to admit.
See what I mean? That window was meant for a sink.
That blue door though. Kendall (our oh-so-talented friend and interior designer who consulted with us on this project) gets full credit for that brilliant idea. Without her we’d still be picking out cabinet hardware (no, really, we seriously suck at decisions).
The powder room had a sliding door already, we simply repainted it and replaced the door hardware with something a bit smoother and more attractive, which makes a huge difference. (I really want to wallpaper the powder room in a fun graphic print… just have to convince Mr. Skeptical over here…)
Oh, and Kendall is also responsible for the beyond fabulous pendant lights. They are always the first thing people comment on when they walk into the space. Love, love, and love.
The open shelving comes from Rejuvenation, and adds a nice stylish touch to an otherwise empty wall, plus a space for actual, live plants that Kalypso can’t reach (the plant on the window sill, on the other hand? Entirely fake. Did I fool you?) The open shelves are also the perfect place for our cat salt and pepper shakers (from West Elm, if you’re curious!) I mean, I couldn’t NOT buy them.
Yes, we are those people.
The kitchen faucet is one of those fancy Touch20 faucets from Delta. It’s a feature I never knew I couldn’t live without (and I have to stop myself sometimes from trying to touch the other faucets in the house, wondering why they’re not working). It’s perfect for messy kitchen projects (which, let’s be honest, is pretty much every day around here), you simply touch anywhere on the neck or handle with any exposed bit of skin and voila! Water floweth. The faucet (fortunately) has a built-in safety feature that will turn itself off after so many minutes, because yes, the cat has managed to turn it on more than once (because I knew you were wondering). I’m sure this is exactly what Delta had in mind when they designed this feature.
The other cool feature of this faucet? The LED indicator light that actually knows the temperature of the water. Yes, it will slowly change from blue to purple to red as the water heats up. How cool is that?
The matching sensor soap dispenser coordinates perfectly, dispensing the perfect amount of soap with both a tap and a proximity sensor, though I’ll admit, sometimes it gets a little too excited for its own good, squirting out soap onto anything that get too close, be it a pot or pan or colander full of berries. So we do go through a bit more soap than we used to. Still, it’s an incredibly handy feature to have in the kitchen.
Let’s play: spot the cat.
(Trick question. No cat in this one.)
Darn cats think they own the place.
On the wall between the kitchen and the living room, the previous owners had installed an enormous full-depth cabinet. While I get the need for that storage, it blocked the lovely light and flow from the living room. It had to go. We had a hunch that the space underneath the stairs was empty, and so as soon as we signed on the dotted line we started busting out holes. And sure enough, that space was completely empty.
Not for long!
We basically ‘sunk’ a full-size pantry cabinet into the empty space behind it, so the front of the cabinet sits flush with the wall. We also managed to relocate the microwave from above the stove (I hate over the stove microwaves) into this wall with little more than a bit of electrical work. That left the space over the stove wide open for a sleek slide-out range hood, which is much more functional and not to mention downright gorgeous.
Also, that cable railing? Would you believe it used to be a chunky half-wall? Yep, we tore that down too.
It’s probably the slickest hood I’ve ever seen.
Even slicker? The blue oven interior. Gah I love it.
While we used some of the under-the-stair space for the built-in pantry, we definitely didn’t let the rest of it go to waste, either, installing a door in the dining room wall, finishing off the inside space, and adding a ton of shelving inside.
Please excuse my mess.
I still can’t believe this space was totally empty before, because it’s seriously a ton of usable storage. Busting into that wall was the best thing we ever did. So. Much. Storage. Of course, it’s now completely full (where all this stuff went before I have no idea) but it’s probably the most functional feature of the entire space.
Our electricians got the wild idea to install these under-cabinet outlet strips, instead of having outlets along the back wall. It was a bit tricky to install, but once they got it working I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. For one, we now have about twice as many outlets as we used to, but also because the pretty marble backsplash is completely uninterrupted by ugly outlets.
Also? Under-cabinet lighting is a necessity in my mind. They installed some LED light strips for us with a switch built in. We’ve actually found ourselves turning on just this light in the evenings when we’re just hanging out and have no need for all the lights on; it’s the perfect amount of ambient light.
The big drawers are also something I couldn’t imagine not having. So nice not to have to dig under a huge stack of pots and pans to find what you’re looking for.
In the living room, we installed an entire wall of cabinets (and a
wine beer fridge, perhaps Taylor’s favorite feature of the new place). We call it the bar, but in reality 3/4 of it is full of props. Eventually we’ll get some nice big art to display on that glaringly blank wall, but big art is an investment and not something I want to rush into purchasing. Ask me again in 5 years, we’ll see if the wall is still blank then (ha).
We’re still waiting on some backordered furniture for the living room itself (story of my life), so you’ll just have to wait to see that. :)
More open shelving and a seriously stocked bar finish it all off. Oh, and the bar is the perfect place for my retro slot machine toy (inherited from my grandparents) as well as my ampersand collection.
And inside? Prop storage galore.
Of course Sgt. Pepper sticking his nose where he doesn’t belong.
Isn’t that right Kalypso?
This is the cat’s house, no question about that.
Sources (for those interested):
(please note that KitchenAid, Delta, and Rejuvenation provided products for this renovation. However all opinions expressed are purely my own, and these are products I would have purchased regardless of any partnership affiliation. Some affiliate links below.)
- Appliances: Double Oven Range, French Door Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Slide-Out Range Hood, Convection Microwave, and Undercounter Beverage Center from KitchenAid
- Faucet: Trinsic Touch2O faucet and Contemporary Touch soap dispenser from Delta
- Cabinets: Locally from Opus Luxury Cabinets
- Countertops: Caesarstone Pure White Quartz
- Open Shelves: Industrial Iron Shelf Brackets and White Lacquered Shelving from Rejuvenation
- Pendant Lights: Feiss “Freemont” in High Gloss Blue from Ferguson
- Dining Table: Rogue Round Dining table from Rejuvenation (we bought this baby with our own money and it was worth every penny)
- Dining Chairs: Domino Desk chairs from Land of Nod
- Dining Rug: Carmine in Frost from FLOR
- Dining Fixture: Grand Mobile Chandelier in antique bronze from West Elm
- Interior Design consulting: Kendall Simmons (seriously, she’s amazing. And even if you’re not local check out her e-design services!)