Sunday, December 21, 2014

Kitchen Completion!

It's finally (95%) done! My house is back! Out with the dust and microwave meals and in with the sanity and holiday decorations.

We need to find shorter screws to attach a few of the drawer pulls, a flat piece of wood needs to go under all the over-window cabinets, and the cabinet doors need to be leveled- and the bar stools arrive on Monday, but it's pretty much there. I took testimony on Thursday and came home, fed the kids their last round of Easy Mac, put them to bed, opened a bottle of my favorite champagne that a beloved coworker gave me to christen the new kitchen, and went to WORK.

At midnight it was nearly all unpacked and then I spent 8 hours Friday running errands, cleaning, unpacking, organizing and reorganizing, and finally FINISHING, and then running out to the garage to grab our Christmas decorations to make Christmas finally arrive in our house and got all THAT done about 20 minutes before my parents and brother were due to arrive from Houston and we needed to leave for Claire's holiday pageant. At 3:30 p.m. I realized all I'd had to eat was a chai tea latte I'd grabbed on my 8 a.m. Target run and the only sitting I'd done was in the car to buy more organizers. It was a crazy day.

But I love it. I love it so much.

Our old kitchen wasn't terrible. It was functional and perfectly fine looking, but it was a big space that couldn't have been more poorly designed (so much wasted space!) and was completely cut off from the rest of the house. Every night I would get home from work with the kids, they'd go to the playroom, and I'd go in the kitchen and I pretty much wouldn't see them again for an hour. The kitchen was too narrow to safely have them in there with me and I hated the separation.

Above: random peninsula jutting out 1/3 of the way into the room with a tiny dorm microwave hidden in a lower cabinet on the other side; big wall cutting off my view of anything except the wall while cooking. Below: counter top that inexplicably ended 4 inches past the sink with another huge amount of empty wasted space; and two small pantries on opposite ends of the rectangle.

So we saved and I planned and pinned and drew 1,000 sketches of my dream floor plan. I solicited contractors in January to get bids and see if what I wanted to do was architecturally and financially possible. I googled and pinned and houzzed all spring. We picked our contractor and got to work in earnest in the summer. We had the cabinet maker over in the fall. He stalled on giving us a quote and we had to give up on him in October and move on to another company. Everything was delayed. The appliances we'd excitedly purchased in September sat in the warehouse at the store forever.

The cabinets were finally ready to go in mid-November and we had our contractor get going with demo even though he was going to be gone for a week at Thanksgiving, and while it was miserable to have an extra 10 days of no progress on the project (we were gone for half of them, but still, it messed with my mind to have the chaos so unchanging), I'm so glad to have the project done before Christmas. The granite was a saga. I obsessed over the same four shades of grey paint. I hated the first set of cabinet hardware I'd ordered online. The cabinet install was wrong and we had to pay more and wait two weeks to get a bunch of the boxes re-done. I took a half-day off work to stand behind our contractor's shoulder to free flow design our built-in cubbies. Everything was worth it.

In all of my kitchen design research it would drive me crazy to see a picture I loved that had no details on how to get anything in it, so I'll link to a bunch of things below. I was also starving for details, so I've included lots of those. Apologies to the non-HGTV addicted in advance.

So, let's take a tour- begone giant wall!

(Ignore the now-hung wreath and entry hutch that has now been sold. Three bar stools coming Monday.)

We used to only have a doors-width opening between the two rooms.

New view while cooking on the stove.

Trash/recycle bin drawer to the right of the sink, another stack of drawers for all the plastic cups and lids and lunch box storage containers, and a little silver button above the sink that turns on the disposal. I still get a little thrill every time I push it. I also love the over window line of cabinets; no one liked that idea, including JP, but it totally completes that wall and they're storing all our serving dishes and other rarely used items.

Looking left:

My new big pantry and beloved cubbies.

The original plan was for that to be all pantry, but I wanted to save the window and a big pantry wasn't going to fix our overflowing backpack/jacket rack problem, plus I didn't like the idea of walking into a big long wall and narrow hallway (that side door is the one we use to come in from the driveway), so I redrew the plans and cut into the pantry for some cubbies that would face the door. Our contractor was skeptical, but they are probably my favorite thing about the whole redesign.

Peninsula with my beverage fridge, drawers for all the things (including pot and pan drawers that I've wanted forever), and so much counter space.

We "built-in" our old fridge and the big cabinets on top are awesome for all our Costco paper products we used to stuff in Cora's closet and then we'd inevitably run out of paper towels or toilet paper after she went to bed and have to sneak in to get more. And no more peeling vinyl tiles in the entry! And I finally got to unpack all our glasses!

Another fave: I wanted a shelf and wine storage built into the end cap of the lower cabinets to hide the lunch boxes (and my wine). I didn't want to do too much custom cabinet work because needs change, and the contractor was not too sure about it, but I already love that tucked away space.

And now that the dust and debris are all gone, Christmas finally got to come to our house!

Links to everything I could link to:

Dish washer: GE Stainless Built-In Dishwasher (the appliance that started it all; our old one was clunky and made a non-stop clicking noise that drove me crazy. We found this one in the scratch 'n dent section of our awesome and charming local appliance store and got $400 off to make this much higher end one suddenly affordable. It's amazing and COMPLETELY silent. We keep trying to open it when it's running because you can't tell. The microwave also has a hidden dent on the side for 50% off, our appliance guy found a coordinating beverage fridge by Frigidaire for half the price of the GE one, and then we were able to order the range of our dreams and still come in under budget. If you're in Fort Worth, I can't recommend Bruce at Oliver Dyer highly enough.)

Range/Oven: GE Profile Gas Range with Double Convection Oven (j'adore. I wanted two ovens but they couldn't fit in the design; this is a perfect use of space and I get five burners, including a griddle and a "double" burner that got a giant pot of water to boiling in minutes on Friday, and the two ovens are great- the larger one will fit a turkey and the top one heats up so fast and is perfect for 90% of my cooking which used to require me heating the whole oven to cook one flat tray of something.)

Microwave: GE Over the Range Microwave (the over-the-range aspect was a design necessity and this one is about 2x bigger than our old hidden one; it is lovely to be able to nuke my big tea cups when the tea gets cold)

Beverage Fridge: Frigidaire Wine Fridge (We'll never have room for two fridges, but getting the beverages out of our big one freed up about 33% more space so now we won't have to run out of food on Thursday instead of Saturday morning when I can go to the store again.)

Sink: Undermount Double Bowl Sink with Low Divider (LOVE this; I wanted a double, but liked the farmhouse style for cleaning big pans; this solves both problems and it looks great.)

Faucet: Ultra Faucets Pull Down Faucet in chrome (I liked the modern style but wanted a touch of the classic with the curvier handle.)

Pendants: Quoizel Emery Mini Pendant in chrome (I love these so much; set the tone in keeping the kitchen from getting too modern and far away from its classic roots.)

Bar stools: CB2 Phoenix Ivory 30" Bar Stool (I picture much homework and breakfast eating being done on these).

Cabinet color: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace (uppers and trim); Benjamin Moore Shaker Grey (lowers and peninsula)
Wall color: Kelly Moore Bird Bath Blue

Cabinet bars: Allen + Roth Polished Cabinet Pulls (I started with more simple metal bars, but decided they were too cold; the extra bit of design on these is perfect.)
Drawer pulls: Polished Chrome Cup Drawer Pull (Love the longer length!)

Baskets: Scoop Wire Basket

After one million design decisions and internet bookmarks and microwave dinners (and SO MUCH DUST), I am SO glad it's done and that we love it so much. I've never looked forward to making dinner more!


  1. It's fantastic. And the cubbies were a great idea.

  2. It looks GORGEOUS. Shaker Grey was a fantastic choice--I am in love with it and noting the color for future use. (This from a girl whose new house is painted a shade of grey with white cabinets and trim, and a countertop that looks identical to yours... but Shaker Grey would have been even better choice--the blue tone is so nice!) Congratulations and hope you enjoy for years to come.

  3. Love the cubbies. Inspired.


    Faithful reader :-)

  4. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!! happy Christmas to you!

  5. Could be a photo shoot for a magazine! Enjoy:)

  6. Can you tell me where you got your drawer cups, the link is not correct. Thanks!

    1. I've fixed it- we got them on Overstock and LOVE them!