Yikes! I have been trying to get this post up for a while, but I wanted to make sure I did it right, and posts this big take a loooong time to pull together. But alas, I have finally done it. So after all of the construction photos I’ve been posting on Facebook, here is the actual kitchen reveal!!!! You might want to check out the before pictures before you move on to see what a transformation it is really is. Before we go any further, let’s remember where the old kitchen ended. If you look at the ceiling you can see the beam that goes horizontally across the room. That’s where the old exterior wall was. We added about 13 feet beyond that. Our original kitchen was approximately 14 feet wide by 11 feet long so it’s now 14 feet wide by 24 feet long, more than double the original size! Because of this we were able to reorient the kitchen so that the kitchen island ran in the opposite direction.The left side of the room is the food prep hub. The refrigerator, stove, and cabinets that house all the everyday dishes and cookware are on this side. We hadn’t planned on getting new cabinets. The project was really about expanding the space and making it more functional. But once we removed the old ones we had to get a new sink base which meant the entire kitchen island had to be new cabinets, and since there were only four other cabinets outside of the island in this section of the kitchen, we decided to get all new ones. Well that, and we got them from IKEA so they were super affordable and didn’t bump up our budget by too much.
Anyone who knows me knows that I usually have a cup of coffee in my hand (when it’s too early for wine!) so I wanted to have a little coffee station in the kitchen, and the area between the fridge and stove was perfect for that. We had planned on having a cabinet or shelf above this spot for some dishware, but I also really wanted the backsplash to be the focal point here, and the beam landed in a spot that didn’t lend itself to a shelving so we left it open. I agonized over the backsplash. I didn’t want white subway tile (not that I don’t like it, but I just wanted something more unique), but I still wanted it to be classic. I considered doing a copper or stainless backsplash, but it felt like it was going to take over the room. Then I found this cobalt blue basket-weave tile on One King’s Lane, and there was no question that this was it, and I love how it came out.Added bonus, my new tea towels that I picked up at the Newport Flower Show look great with it.
I’ve got to say that the little details like the backsplash, faucet, and hardware were the things that really got me on this project. I knew what I wanted, but I really didn’t want to spend a fortune. But eventually, lots of patience and continuous searching lead me to the right pieces. For the hardware, I knew I wanted brass bin pulls and I really didn’t want to spend $12 apiece for the ones I was finding online. Then Overstock.com saved the day, and I found these, my favorites of all the ones I looked at, and for a steal.
One of the ideas we really liked for a kitchen is to have a pass through window to the deck (which in our case is now accessible from the kitchen for the first time). We looked for some older windows that could be swung open and hooked up to the ceiling and we considered splurging for a bi-fold window. The down side to these types of windows is that they don’t have screens so it can turn into bug city. Ultimately we decided that we could get the same function by just putting in a 4-foot sliding window, and when we want the pass through function for entertaining, we can just pop the screen out.
Another agonizing decision was the sink and faucet. I spent countless hours pouring over the possibilities. There were a few challenges with it. First, my husband didn’t want a double sink because with our old one he hated that the large pots and pans didn’t fit on either side of it. We also like the farmhouse style sink, but then I wondered if it was just becoming too overused and thought we should go with something more unique…again. And again I looked at copper, slate, soapstone, and even considered some big old monster antique sinks, but decided they would take up too much of the island. Oh, and why are sinks so darn expensive? I knew that going into it, but it’s really amazing. So alas, we landed ourselves back at IKEA with this 3-foot wide (plenty of room for large pots and pans) farm sink that was totally affordable and that we liked better than most of the others we saw.
We have a similar story for the faucet. After months of searching, I found one I really liked…for $500. But before ordering it I took one more peruse down the faucet aisle at Home Depot, and sure enough there was one that looked very similar to the $500 one for one fifth of the price. The key features we were looking for were that it was one handle, had a pull-out nozzle, a high arch, and a classic look (similar to the one we just put in our powder room) to suit the farm sink. I’m just not a big fan of a lot of the sleek, modern faucets for our house. We’re not sure the faucet will stand the test of time, but we figured it was worth the $100 shot, and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll get the more expensive one. And if it does, we saved ourselves $400.
Another feature of the sink that I really like is that it has a deep back plate on it. Since it is in the kitchen island and we have wood countertops, it helps keep the water in the sink and prevents the counters from being gunked up.I really wanted the island to be as large as possible. It needed to fit at least four people comfortably, and I knew it would be the counter space we used the most. My contractor and husband kept telling me it needed to be smaller than the 4 feet by 10 feet I had drawn in the plan, but I didn’t want to budge much. We ultimately ended up at 3 1/2 feet by 8 feet (although we could have easily made it a little longer). The countertop is made from wide plank pine. It’s the exact same as the floor except for that it was stained maple before getting coated with clear polyurethane. I think it complements the copper lights nicely, and we didn’t want the counters and the floor to be the same color. The floors simply got several coats of poly.
Speaking of the copper lights, these are the salvaged copper and brass marine lights that I picked up at Brimfield. They became the centerpiece of the design that all things needed to work around. When I bought them, they had not been wired so we had to do that, and we needed to figure out how they would hang because they’re pretty darn heavy. It took some creativity, but after many trips to the hardware store and marine store, we ended up getting stainless steel shackles that we spray painted brass and fit through the hole at the top of the fixtures. Then we hung the shackle from a hook that was affixed to the ceiling. (And when I say “we” I mean our contractor, Pete of Sachuest Construction. All I did was buy the fixtures and the shackles!)
I’m pretty in love with them, and they were the perfect splurge to make the kitchen one-of-a-kind! And no, I will not be polishing them–we’re going with a lived in look. In the previous picture, you might notice the other nautical fixture over the window and counter. I searched high and low for that. A lot of what I found was more farmhouse than nautical, and most of it didn’t come in the right finish, making it stand out too much. I found that one at IKEA (surprise), and I like the way that the stainless picks up on the appliances, but it also has brass accents which helps tie it together with the pulls and the kitchen island lights.
And then there is the eat-in nook! One of the main reasons we wanted to do this kitchen addition is because we wanted to be able to sit down as a family to eat dinner. I think of it as not only an investment in our house, but also in our kids’ future as they say it’s one of the most important things you can do with your kids. I have to say that we aren’t using it quite as much as I’d like yet, but any time we do use it is one more time than we were able to in our old kitchen. And it’s been great when we’ve had small groups of friends over so that we don’t have to get all formal in the dining room (which also got a mini makeover that you’ll be seeing soon). Another crucial part of this project was letting the light in! In our old kitchen we had one 30-inch wide window above the sink. In the new kitchen, we have 12 feet of windows across the back wall, along with a 4-foot window on each side wall and a windowed door to the deck. That’s more than 22 linear feet of windows, and it completely transforms the space, and allows us to enjoy our beautiful westward facing views. It’s also why it was so easy to go with such a bright color for the walls–because there really isn’t that much wall space.
The nook was a spot that was really fun to decorate. Knowing that I wanted to paint the kitchen some shade of lime green, I bought the chairs first, and then worked off of them to find a lighter shade of green in the same range. The table is a piece I picked up at a thrift store many years ago. It was our dining room table in our old house and has since been in the living with pictures on it. It got a fresh coat of paint and the leaf put in for this spot. The custom banquette cushions are made from Sunbrella navy with lime green piping. And I picked up the chandelier from Ballard Designs. You can’t really tell, but the shades are blue grass cloth. I love grass cloth! Oh, and that banquette has loads of storage space.
Another key element to the space was to create a work station. We previously had the computer in the living room and all of our other office stuff in the basement. It didn’t look good, and it wasn’t convenient. Now there is a spot for the kids to do homework, and for us to file papers more easily. The fourth chair from the table fits perfectly here and is easy to grab when we need it when we have guests. The desk itself is two filing cabinets that were unfinished wood. We picked up a piece of wood from Home Depot for the top, and painted it all.
As you can see, it’s still needs a bit of work (like attaching the top to the bases), but it’s close.
Next to the desk is this cabinet that we had custom built by a friend for our old house. Back then we used it as an entertainment center, and more recently it was in the living room housing the computer and some toys, but now it’s the home of my oversized platters, cookbooks, and some of our more decorative kitchen items. It is one of the most crucial pieces in my quest to have a place for everything and everything in its place. We painted the back of it the same color as our dining room to draw a connection between the rooms that are now more open to each other.
Oh, and remember that barn door that I picked up at Brimfield? Well, it’s made itself right at home in the newly widened opening between the kitchen and dining room.
Pete had the great idea of wrapping the base of it in copper. It had some rot on it that he had to fix, and this way it wasn’t so hard to match the repaired wood, and it ties back into the kitchen island lights.
Here’s what it looks like from the dining room side. Pete distressed it a bit which I think looks great. In the last corner of the kitchen is the pantry. For this, we actually used our old cabinetry. It’s a pretty close match to the new cabinets, and to separate it enough to show that I wasn’t looking for an exact match, I put different hardware on these cabinets.
This project was certainly not an easy one, but I sure am happy with the result! With working full time, having the kids home from school for the summer, and opening my first retail store in addition to all of this, I’m not really sure how it all came together, but I have to say that working with Pete, who saw my vision from the start, made it a lot easier. There are a lot of talented craftsmen and builders out there, but it’s not always easy to find one that has vision beyond what’s on the black and white plan. From when we first started with the built-in bookshelves and powder room back in February to the extreme yard makeover that took place last spring (that I still need to share with you all) and now the kitchen, every bit of it has been a collaboration in design. It’s not to say that we haven’t had our differences (believe me, he was the first to ask me if I wanted to go pick out another paint color–but he likes it now), but it’s been a really great way to work from a design perspective.
I’m not going to lie, it’s not perfect. We’ve banned the kids from being on the side of the island where the appliances and sink are when we are back there because it’s just too tight for all of us. My husband gets aggravated by the close proximity of the appliances to each other, but the only way to avoid it would have been to have set the kitchen island much further off of the counter, and then we would have lost the space for the desk and cabinet. There are only so many ways you can design a finite space! While the kitchen is big, it’s not that big!
So, tell me what you think! What’s your favorite part of it, and what would you change?
Contractor- Peter Downing/Sachuest Construction
Paint- Fresh Cut Grass by Benjamin Moore
Cabinets- LIDINGO by IKEA
Brass Bin Pulls- Overstock.com
Brass Cleat Knobs- Anthropologie
Countertop Stain- Maple by Old Master’s
Sink- DOMSJO by IKEA
Refrigerator- Electrolux from Sears
Range, Hood, and Dishwasher- Kenmore from Sears
Backsplash Tile- One King’s Lane
Tabouret Chairs- Overstock.com
Tabouret Stools- Overstock.com
Salvaged Copper & Brass Marine Lights- Brimfield
Stainless Steel Pendant Light- OTTAVA by IKEA
Coral Chandelier- Ballard Designs
Grasscloth Chandelier Shades- Ballard Designs
Navy and Lime Green Fabric for Banquette Cushion- Fabric Connection
Unfinished Wood Filing Cabinets- Mill Stores
Salvaged Barn Door- Brimfield
Barn Door Track- Rustica Hardware