Thursday, September 1, 2011

in the kitchen

I continue my home-redecorating series. To gather the giant unwieldy pile of inspiration images into my arms all at once, I ran a google search on my own blog, and realized that I have been going on about this stuff for years. (Is it cool that I can say that? Or just weird?) I'm happy to report that some of my ideas have actually evolved, and equally happy to report that some old favorites are still favorites. Onward.

First, the raw materials. They're not much, folks:


Right. OK. We have lots of work to do. With apologies for any redundancy with prior posts: the floor is a new vinyl peel-and-stick tile in good condition. It's going. It will be replaced with something like this:

(My excellently-priced source of slate tile is here.) Yes, I know, slate breaks plates. I cry crocodile tears for the plates that will be dropped there. I just don't want hardwood floors in my kitchen. For the sake of feet, and possibly plates, I will distribute a few of these (the blue):

The cabinets are not solid wood. As you see, they stop well short of the ceiling (which is nine feet high - the only major score in a small room), and in fact they start oddly high above the counters. (That's not an illusion in the photos; it's actually even more pronounced in person.) Since the cupboards that you see are the whole lot, their size needs to be maximized. And since they're not real wood, I feel no qualms about ripping them out. My plan is to reserve a facing pair of upper cabinets to install above the washer and drier (after I paint them white), and to find a set of cast-off real wood cabinets on Craig's List. With so few cabinets total, finding the right pieces to fit the puzzle together should work OK. I'm not picky about the design - anything basically traditional that I can paint and will not look "soooo 2011" in a decade will do nicely. Obviously, 42-inchers would be great to eat up that height, but that's custom and may be hard to find. I may be able to get the requisite height by stacking. I do love the stacked look of older built-in cabinetry:

My principal kitchen inspiration image, because it simply inspires me, in a kitchen-related way, is this one:

But my pet color scheme comes from here:

I don't have an island; rather, I'm thinking of that creamy white color for the upper cabinets, and the slate blue/gray color for the lower ones. I continue to debate paint colors for those. For the walls, my favorite is Behr's "provence cream" - a blogger shows off how it looks on her walls here.

Let's see, what does that leave us with? Well, I think I should replace the sink - its angly placement is not maximizing much of anything. I love vintage ones - wouldn't this be cool? (From Craig's List.)

Oh yes, and stoves. You know I love the Chambers 1950s copper one (upper left corner):

But they are rare and difficult to find, so I have decided that I am willing to settle for a white or other less-flashy Chambers one instead. The first one that falls into my lap in working order at a good price, since the 1970s (that's almost vintage enough!) stove that the kitchen currently has...does not work on the "bake" setting. It does broil, but as the weather cools down, I am going to want cookies. And bread. Hot from the oven. With butter. Mmmmmm.

Sorry, where were we? Oh, yes. There's also the question of countertops. Supposing I go for a sink (like the one above) with a built-in drainboard, I will still need a water-resistant material at least on the sinkward side. I think that may call for a bit of soapstone (and here is a source I found for discounted soapstone remnants. "Remnant" includes pieces five to ten times my size AFTER a KitKat binge, BTW). For the other run of countertop, a little further from the splashing, I would like butcher block. Ikea sells a nice low-priced option in birch. [I never understand why Designed to Sell installs laminate instead of butcher block when butcher block can be so affordable!]
And I'm keeping the dishwasher.

That leaves a few logistical points; the kitchen is not only small, but oddly shaped, and though I don't go in for "gadgets" much, I have a lot of pots and pans, and dishes, and platters. (I am in many ways my mother's daughter - and in still further ways, the current custodian of much of her servingware.) So some space planning is in order.

First, you may have noticed that neither photograph reveals a refrigerator. Presently, the refrigerator is in the laundry room (just off the kitchen). In the second photo above, you may notice a tall cabinet with a reddish stain, and a kitchen table. Neither is in the kitchen now. On the wall where that cabinet once was I will place the refrigerator - after tiling the floor, of course.

Next, if you will refer to the second picture (waaay) above, you will notice that in the upper-left corner you can see into a room with shelves. That's the laundry room (more on this to come). On the wall outside that room is a framed something and a wooden sort of furniture thing below. (These also departed with the former owners.) I intend to place on that wall - the entire wall is blank, except for a window - a very nice vintage built-in looking cabinet from my husband's grandmother's house. My in-laws saved it for me especially (it was my favorite piece in the house, so I was delighted). It's wood, painted white, about five feet tall and almost as wide, with two glass-paned doors and shelves inside. It will hold LOTS of dishes and glasses.

Next to that, under the aforementioned window (not pictured), I am contemplating putting a little table that folds down against the wall. Maybe I could build the top with a bit of butcher block, or a piece of marble (World Market had little marble slabs for $30, and I need to check whether they still do). Under that, I could tuck a stool or two. I love these:

But they are designer and they are expensive. So maybe a knockoff. Or maybe something else simple and sort of industrial-looking.

I am also contemplating a simple white-painted wood shelf along that blank wall - about the height of the top of the window casing. OR, alternatively, perhaps above the window I should hang a pot rack, so that the pots hang over where the little foldable table would be. Here's where you can help me. Pot racks don't have to be expensive, and I've found several that I like. But which one?

To further maximize the usable storage, I'm thinking of some of those rails along the backsplash from which you can hang cooking utensils by S-hooks. At present, I'm not planning to tile the backsplash or anything, just paint it. And while we're on storage, there's the pantry idea. Here is the laundry room:

The sellers took those wooden ikea shelves with them, so that wall is now blank. You see the washer and drier (which I would keep there), and the fridge that will move into the kitchen itself (I would like to put a coffin freezer in its place), and then on that blank wall I think I would like to build in wood shelves, with nice wooden corbels, which could hold noodles and raisins and brownie mix and cookbooks. And things.

I think that might actually hold all my stuff, and leave a wee bit of room to navigate. Whew. Are you exhausted too?


  1. Oooh- where are those rugs from? I have similar ones in my kitchen/dining area that no longer match our new chair and bar stool fabrics.

  2. I can't wait to see what the finished product looks like! I love the inspiration photos and I know you are going to make it gorgeous.

  3. That kitchen has great potential! Love all your ideas so far, especially the slate floor...gorgeous!

  4. Rugs are from Ikea - $3.99 apiece. They're not very big, though. (Can't believe I missed something! But I never actually link to Ikea products because they seemt to change their links about every 10 minutes.)

  5. You should check out the Habitat ReStore up there- I think they often have really nice cabinets for super cheap!! I love all your ideas!

  6. Your ideas are fabulous! I think this blog might be my favorite. I will be waiting for more with bated breath.

  7. Your kitchen plans are amazing! Can't wait to see the finished product!

  8. I think Ikea do those fold down tables, or the tables that seat two and then expand to bigger...

    I love your ideas!

  9. I love white kitchens!!! (Well, white cabinets, which makes the room "feel" white and clean and open and airy, imo.)

    And I think that kitchen has so much charm! LOVE IT!

    A copper stove?! Where did you find that?! I am doing copper accents in my kitchen, and planned on a copper range hood with a white Molteni (DH likes the brand, and it's old-fashioned looking which I like)... but I had no idea they even had copper stoves!! How neat!!

    And I agree about wood floors in the kitchen. I think for ours, we'll end up doing a wood vinyl (whatever that higher-end stuff is that looks just like wood) but is much softer on the feet... only because tile/slate would not really go with our style.

    I'm so excited for you!!!

  10. You are so creative! I love your vision. The kitchen of our rental has similar cabinets -- ours are real wood, which I love, but ugly. I haven't taken the time to paint them yet (because, duh, its a rental), but Mo and I have talked about what we'd do differently if we ever bought this house. I am inspired by your inspirations, and have to bookmark this post for future reno ideas.


  11. I love your kitchen ideas. I admit that I'm slightly jealous that you get to redo your kitchen. I hate mine and would love to redo, house. sigh

    A thought on all your pots and pans....have you seen pictures of Julia Child's kitchen? She designed it herself, of course, to be efficient and pretty. She hung all her pots and gadgets on the walls. It was pretty cool.

  12. Very cool ideas, Misfit! I think Ikea also has some pretty nice white cabinetry, though I'm not sure what the quality is (i.e. will it look like crap in 5 years).

    How crazy that the fridge is in the next room. I remember looking at a house that you had to wedge yourself (and I'm not particularly wide) between the fridge and back door to get out of the kitchen. Old houses are so quirky sometimes...

  13. I *LOVE* your idea of the upper white cabinets & dark grey base cabinets + your slate floor.  Wow!  Are you into beadboard?  That may be a cool option b/w the upper & lower cabinets for a backsplash + your linear system for hanging utensils.  I'm VERY excited to see the after pictures!!!!!