IHeart Kitchen Reno: Four Weeks Later!
Wow! Another month has come and gone since our previous kitchen update. I was really hoping that we would be able to wrangle both kitchen and living room projects and updates all at once, but the living room sort of took over at the end, both on the blog and in our lives. After the last update, I had a few questions I will be chatting through today, and I will also be sharing a few big things that have happened over the past few weeks. Although we were so focused on the living room side, there are quite a few changes here as well. It is finally starting to look and act more like the space we have been working for!
Based on the photo above, I am guessing there are a few differences that stand out from the last update.
We installed and set the island as soon as we could, which allowed us to finish installing our flooring. That was a major game changer. Like wow. It really unified our entire kitchen and living area and added so much more warmth in contrast to all of the white. And it is so clean! Looking back at the last post, my photos seemed to have a blue hue which was throwing some you off. I totally get it, I just revisited the photos and they are pretty bad. My guess is that much of it had to do with the cloudy day paired with reflections bouncing off of all of the white. Not really sure. The picture above is a much truer photo of how our kitchen really reads, especially now that the floors ground things a bit more (floor installation post coming soon).
Some of you asked about measurements... We currently have about 3 1/2 feet between the outer cabinets and island. We always read that between three and four feet is best, and we have been really happy with the amount of room and flow that the 3 1/2' provides. We are able to easily navigate around the dishwasher when it is completely pulled out for unloading, and the refrigerator has plenty of room to open and get around without any crowding (more on that in a minute).
When coming up with a kitchen design, we were extremely limited with where we could place our oven and stove. Our fridge and pantry had to go on the outer walls, and with the window and plumbing on the outer walls as well, we had no other choice than to place our cooking pieces in the island. In the end, I am happy it worked out this way as we will be able to face the living area while we cook (great for watching the fam and television). We also had to go with a larger island to accommodate the oven, cooktop and downdraft without compromising countertop work surface space and to provide enough distance between the cooktop and stools on the opposite side. This allowed us to add a lot more storage in the island, so it all worked out in the end. Plus, I got the oven I was lusting after for a couple of years! It is a beautiful white glass option which was originally purchased from IKEA (and was discontinued when they released their new kitchen line).
As you can see, we also installed the remainder of the hardware on the island cabinets to match the rest of the kitchen.
I also received a couple questions and emails regarding the island details. The doors are full overlay, meaning that there is very little cabinet frame showing around each door and drawer front. It creates more of a seamless appearance and is also quite similar to our IKEA white cabinets across the way. The color is an option offered by the cabinet company that built the pieces, so I don't have a specific name or number (other than a generic Slate), but I did have it color matched at Sherwin Williams and you can see the code here. It is a beautiful color in person, just extremely challenging to photograph because it reads a bit differently depending on how the light hits it (as illustrated between the photos above and below).
You may also have noticed that we only have about half of our counters installed. They always say to prepare for the worse when it comes to major home renovations, and we have experienced a few different hiccups along the way. I think it is just important to know that a few things will go wrong at some point, and do your best not to turn into a Kitchenzilla when they do. You have heard about our dishwasher saga and maybe also read about our first refrigerator being delivered damaged. Both were no big deal in my eyes. Truly nothing to get upset about and maybe they simply prepared us for the next uh-oh. The day the beautiful counters arrived to be installed, we went to place our oven into the oven cavity of the custom cabinets. Guess what guys! It didn't fit. Um, what? The cabinet was built to the dimension of the appliances we had already purchased. They were able to install the outer counters and sink while they were here, and now that we have since been able to figure out the cabinet situation and set our oven, will be coming back next week to finish things up (counters can typically be set without the oven installed, but we didn't know if our island would need to be taken apart or changed so we opted to wait it out). As frustrating as the cabinet situation was (it caused a three week delay in the island counter install), the counters are about the most beautiful moment this entire renovation has seen yet.
When we first built our home, I selected green faux marble laminate counters because I was 19 years old and thought they were so cool and grown up (ha). It only took me about four months to no longer like them. For the next 13 years, I was left trying to work with something that I didn't love. I am pretty positive that experience has scarred me, and may be why a lot of our newer kitchen finishes and selections are a bit more neutral and classic. Being this is such an investment, we don't want to change things each time a trend comes and goes. And we don't want to have regrets four months from now (although, I am sure there will still be a few lessons learned). Just like a lot of the other decisions we have made in the space, we did a lot of reading online when selecting the types of countertops to install. Ultimately, quartz won out. Both durability and the fact that it is non-porous (which means it won't harbor bacteria), were the main reasons we selected quartz.
I don't think we will regret these counters four months or even ten years from now. They are Cambria in Torquay finish and another thing I am smitten with is that they are manufactured right in Minnesota. (For local readers, we shopped around and ultimately decided to purchase from Selective Countertops and we couldn't be happier with the results). The veining and colors are a mix of beiges and grays and are quite subtle, almost a marble-like result but in a much more kitchen friendly finish.
We also ordered our sink with the counters, and once again, a major difference has been made in how we use the kitchen.
The sink is a total of 30" x 17" and 10" deep. We went with a stainless split sink, about 2/3 is the main bowl and the side bowl is the remaining 1/3. And it is all seamless. I knew I wanted a deeper sink for washing large pots and pans and filling my mop bucket...
But little did I know it would also be amazing for hiding a pile of dirty dishes when the dishwasher is full/being ran. Definitely a jumbo sized bonus in an open concept layout. Another new-to-us feature is a pull out faucet. The kids and I have been having fun with this! It reaches all corners of the sink which is great for cleaning, and offers two spray options.
We purchased a model that complimented the cabinet hardware, not super modern but not overly ornate either; it was juuuuust right.
But wait, there is more! I had no idea how much really has changed in the last month. Big post today folks.
One thing I have been challenged with throughout the entire process, is knowing that we have a garage door to work around. And it was a previously very unsightly door with about eight different layers of paint and dings and dents. Although not an ideal setup, moving the door really wasn't an option as there is other place to move it to. Keep in mind that we really only use the garage for projects, and even when we start parking in there again, we will most likely be carrying in a handbag and groceries. The boys always come off of the bus and enter through our front door, which is why their belongings are all located there. So fortunately, we don't need much of a system for more than a pair or two of shoes, maybe keys and some hooks. But visually, oy!
Our solution was to build the fireplace built-ins in the living room, to mimic the cabinets in the kitchen. Once the moulding is installed on the kitchen cabinets, they will be the same height and color as the built-ins, as well as the same distance on either side of the door. Our very lovely new paneled door!
See how we only trimmed the living room side? Haha, darn One Room Challenge. And no, we weren't really that lazy, we only purchased enough to do the living room side and that is exactly where we ran out. Hoping to get the rest finished up in the next week or two. Just sort of funny how that worked out.
Anyway, still not the most amazing setup, but I love how it worked out to create more of a nook or alcove for the door, making it almost look like intentional placement. And the paneled look on the door is much more polished and matches the remainder of our interior doors. Definitely happy with how it all is turning out.
Last but not least, we finally have a fridge! It is counter depth, and also finally framed out. Or in? Whichever way, it is so much cleaner.
When we began the kitchen planning process, we realized quickly that to maximize our space and to accommodate the island with cooking appliances, that our fridge would be best at a countertop depth. First, I ordered a white side-by-side option. There are not a lot of white countertop depth refrigerators on the market, especially with great reviews and decorative bar pulls. And the ones that did have good reviews, were about a few thousand dollars over our budget. But I found one and ordered it and when it arrived, it was completely dinged and dented and the pulls were nothing like they were pictured online. The company took back the refrigerator at no charge, and we were left starting over with our search. We thought that a side by side was the way to go since that was what we were use to, but after quite a few recommendations to try out the french door option, that is what we ultimately landed on. I have to say, I love how much more space there is in this style and that the doors can swing wide open and leave us a ton of room to navigate, even with the island directly behind us (we purchased this model).
What I don't love is the freezer drawer. This thing terrifies me. But I always love a good organizational challenge so I will let you know if I ever get this thing figured out. We also kept our previous fridge in our garage as a replacement to our freezer chest, which we will love for holding six packs of be... I mean soda. And for party throwing and entertaining and freezer overflow. Also, for some reason my regular stainless cleaning solution does not work on this fridge, so I would love recommendations on streak-free stainless cleaning.
So, a month later we have a fully functioning sink and fridge and even started unloading (but not organizing) our fridge and cabinets. After the counters are in next week, we can have our stovetop hooked up and start cooking on real appliances again! If anything, this process has given us a much deeper appreciation for everyday kitchen conveniences. Like making coffee.
And just when I am feeling like the end is near, it is time to get real and take a look at what is left before we call this renovation complete.
- Install HVAC/Oven/Cooktop
- Install counters
- Set island cabinets
- Install hardware on island cabinets
- Replace garage door
- Install flooring
- Frame in refrigerator
- Finish installing cabinet side panels
- Install cabinet toe-kick
- Install cabinet crown moulding
- Panel gap above fridge
- Trim floors, doors and windows
- Install backsplash
- DIY a coat closet door
- Add shelving and doors to nook above coat closet (?)
- Install legs to built-in side cabinet
- DIY message center
- Hang window panels and roman shade
I can't wait for layering in finishing touches to really start warming up the space. Things like rugs and new dining chairs and window panels, oh my. And cutting boards. We still have a lot of items to pick-out that we haven't landed on yet like backsplash (although my heart is set on one) and also have to troubleshoot a moulding issue we may run into with the beams and cabinets. But everything left is really just a lot of finishing touches at this point! And after next week, it should be 100% functional (fingers crossed). With that big list lingering above, I think you know where you will be able to find us when we aren't on at the baseball fields. Happy weekend everyone!
You can follow all of the kitchen progress here.