In July of 2016, we moved into our new home. We spent months painting all the rooms, renovated the kitchen and basement, and added a bathroom. Friends and family have asked to see pictures of our new home, and I will be sharing different parts of the house from time to time.
This was what our kitchen looked like when we bought it. Perfectly functional, but not updated. My husband Ritter and I had aspirations of doing a lot of renovations ourselves, but hired contractors to take down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and lay hardwood floors in the kitchen.
When the contractors took down the wall, we found that the floor was two inches higher in the kitchen than in the dining room because the previous owners had glued and nailed plywood over the original hardwood and added vinyl on top. From that point we had two options. We could have the contractors cut the floor around the base cabinets, (apparently not a viable option) or have them take out all the cabinets and lay new hardwood flooring in the whole kitchen. Laying new floor meant that the base cabinets could be salvaged but not the countertops. We also realized that to install new countertops and backsplash, we had to refinish the walls, soffits, and ceiling. This is how we went from simply redoing floors to a complete gut job.
In the end it all worked out. Thanks to our agreement with out contractor, we were not charged more for all the extra work they did on the floor. It took them two extra weeks to take out the cabinets, rip out the three levels of floors, lay hardwood floors, including refinishing the dining room area to match. Then they had to put the cabinets back in. Ritter and I took out the cabinets holding our oven and microwave, busted out the soffits, and took all upper cabinets down. We had originally wanted to redo the ceiling and walls ourselves, but because of time constraints, hired the contractors to refinish the walls and ceilings, and also put in recessed lights. We had Caesarstone quartz countertops put in, and replaced the stovetop with a double oven, and put in a ceramic double sink.
We knew that it made more sense to put open shelves in our kitchen for several reasons. The kitchen is only 7 x 8 feet, and we knew upper cabinets would make it look claustrophobic. Also, we wanted to save money by not buying new cabinets, and figured we could make open shelves ourselves. This was the one part of the kitchen where our original plans worked out. With a referral from our contractor, we went to a saw mill and bought two inch red oak. We cut them down to length with a circular saw, sanded and oiled the boards, and installed them with brackets.
The kitchen, like the rest of the house is painted in Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl, although in the kitchen and bathrooms we used semi-gloss paint. We also mixed up the paint at half-tint which I felt was a more pleasing color to use throughout the house.
Ritter and I met in a ceramics class, and since then we've always loved collecting pieces from different countries that we have visited and lived in. The open shelves give us an opportunity to see our collection every day.
As we started putting things out in our kitchen we realized that we had a lot of ceramics in blue and white, and realized that it may be better to limit our collection in the shelves to that color pallet. Our other ceramics live in our dining room hutches, but I may change it up sometime and share a different look on the blog.
The male torso in the top shelf of the above picture is a piece that Ritter made in the ceramics class where we met. He has asked me to get rid of it many times, but I always find a place for it in the kitchen.
I am a serious brown thumb, but I've kept these plants alive for six months.
The peacock plate is an interesting combination of porcelain and stained glass, and Ritter brought the rug back from Afghanistan in 2008.
I found a pair of these ceramic enamelware utensil holders at a second hand store. I'm not sure when they are from, but I love them!
On the shelf we have a sugar and milk set by a Portuguese potter that incorporates cork and earthenware. The bird lamp is from one of our favorite Korean potters.
Ritter's grandparents brought back this alabaster figure from a trip to Mexico in the late 1940s. It sits next to a tea set from Korea, and Lenox dessert plates also from the 1940s.
A lot of the items for the kitchen are from Ikea. Our ceramic double sink, the faucet, the base cabinet doors and knobs are from Ikea. Our every day use water glasses and mugs are also from there. It seems the first three months after moving in we had to go to Ikea every weekend. We are thankful we have two of their stores close by.
These horses are actually salt and pepper shakers from Anthropologie.
Another beautiful lamp by our potter friend. The next time I share about our home, it will be about our dining room area. The post will show how the kitchen transitions to the dining room - showing our pantry shelves and fridge - yes, we have a fridge!
Whenever I see our kitchen I'm thankful for all the people who put so much work into the space. Our contractors were so amazing, and such hard workers. Ritter spent a month between passing the bar and starting his new job working on these shelves, and putting Ikea cabinet doors on decades old Home Depot cabinets (not fun). My brother Luke spent his summer between graduation and a new job in London painting all the rooms in our house with me - including trim! I will never forget how he helped me pack, moved boxes for days, played with our kids, and just supported us through everything while we bought a house, studied for the Bar, and renovated. My in-laws took time off work to help us move, babysat the kids for days, and bought us our stove and hood. Ritter's Aunt Jan from Ohio took a week off work to come and help us move as well. I'm still amazed by that. My parents gave us the money to put hardwood floors in our kitchen and sunroom. Thank you to those I've mentioned and the many others who helped in so many ways!