Kitchen Sneak Peek

Are we there yet?

Kitchens, Restoration Diary

Our kitchen is 95% done. We still have some small things left to do like install the outlet covers and touch up the paint, so no Before & After reveal or resource list just yet. But, the kitchen is functional.

Pictures of cabinets before they were painted and cabinet maker information here. The cabinet paint color is Benjamin Moore Graphite. More about the cabinet color here.

I have to say the new kitchen is absolutely wonderful and I have no idea why we waited so long to remodel it. Kitchen before…yeah, I know! What were we waiting for? The kitchen actually looks nicer in those before pics than it really was.

Looking into our back porch.

I utilized the space from what was probably an original built-in for a pullout pantry. Part of the reason it took me 10 years to do this remodel was because I felt so guilty at the thought of ripping out the built-in. There is still some debate whether that built-in was actually original to the house or added a little later.

Now that the built-in is gone, I don’t miss it at all and haven’t looked back. Having so much counter space makes the kitchen a dream to cook in. We have super deep pullout pantries and drawers. I LOVE the storage space.

I have blind corner pullouts on both sides of the room. These are so functional.

My favorite thing in the kitchen is this Franke Manor House Series faucet. I love how the nickel has brass accents and it ties the chrome, stainless steel and brass hardware used throughout the kitchen together. I found the faucet on Amazon. It was a closeout and I got it for a third of the cost, which makes me love it even more!

I love a farmhouse sink. This was the most affordable one I could find that still had the style I liked. I used to think I preferred a two basin sink, but decided to get one large basin when I found out I was pregnant. I imagined us washing the baby in there. Of course, we haven’t done that once, but now I am a complete convert to a one basin sink.

I just have to say that our new garbage disposal is awesome. Every time we used our old one it clogged up the drain and we had to call the plumber.

The wood shelves are in the space where our other built-in cupboard resided. I know for a fact that built-in was original to the house. The plumbing for the upstairs bathroom sits in the space above the shelves and the main drain from the upstairs is in the little bump out wall to the right of the shelves. We left the plumbing in place and saved 6-10k.

The wood shelves were a compromise to save money after we ran into some unexpected electrical issues. I’m really happy with the open shelving.

Instead of the stainless steel fridge imagine this. One day…sigh. Why are all the stylish retro fridges so expensive? SMEG’s are cute but don’t seem family friendly. Have you seen the ice box?

The little doors lead to storage space and shelving underneath the stairs. I also had a wide trim piece installed all around the top of the room. It aligns with the top of the doorways and window trim. I have no idea what this trim piece is called. Anyone? I have always loved the Gamble House kitchen. I wanted to incorporate that touch into our humble little kitchen.

I bought the pendents from IKEA before I had even decided on a cabinet color. What a happy coincidence! And, you can’t beat the price, $60 total for two huge fixtures.

The other thing I am loving is finally having a dishwasher…I mean one other than me!

Comments { 17 } April 3, 2013

Kitchen Tile

White subway tile

Kitchens, Restoration Diary,

I can’t seem to get enough of white subway tile with white grout. I just love the look…so nice and clean! Something about the shiny white tile makes the room seem larger.

Comments { 0 } February 22, 2013

Going Gray

Dark gray & brass. A nice combination

Kitchens, Paint, Restoration Diary,

We holed up in a hotel for a week while having our cabinets painted and some other final work done on our kitchen. There is nothing quite so absurd as walking into a really swanky downtown LA hotel with a 4 day old baby! As we got into the elevator a guy asked us which floor the bar was on…and he was entirely serious…I guess 4 days after a C-section I looked like I could really use a drink. Yup, that’s how we roll!

The truth is that David found us an amazing discount through his FoundersCard and the hotel was conveniently located close to home. He could swing by the house while Juliet and I stayed at the hotel.

The cabinet color is Benjamin Moore Graphite. It’s a gorgeous dark gray color. I had a hard time finding a dark gray that wasn’t too blue. Graphite is a true gray. I was nervous that it would be too dark or make our kitchen seem smaller, but I am absolutely in love with it. The brass hardware looks amazing against the dark cabinets.

The countertop is Caesarstone in Misty Carrara. I wrote about our countertop selection here. It is lovely in person. I like it even more than I had imagined I would. Misty Carrara has the tiniest hint of gray flecks that look great next to the cabinets.

Please, forgive the pics. They were taken with David’s cellphone at night. The color is darker in the photos than in real life. Better pics coming soon!

Comments { 4 } February 12, 2013

Kitchen Cabinet Installation

Kitchen design by proxy

Kitchens, Restoration Diary,

Note: This post was added after the fact.

A slew of texts messages and images fly back forth from my hospital bed, where I am strapped to a fetal heart monitor 24 hours a day, and from David who is overseeing the installation of our kitchen cabinets. I get asked lots of questions…where is the cabinet hardware, how thick should the base molding on the cabinets be?

David: Your idea for the pullout pantries won’t work.

I send David a drawing of how it WILL work.

David: The guys say your idea won’t work. Oh, wait. Yes, it will. You are getting exactly what you want.

Me: Ya know it! :) {yes, I do text annoying emoticons}

Back and forth, this goes on for hours.

We have made peace with the electrician. After the fact, I will admit there was a slight chance I could have been a tad hormonal. He paid for the labor to have the wallpaper installed. We had the paper installed before I ended up in the hospital. Everyone is happy.

The electrician is super cool and doesn’t press us for a final payment until I’ve been out of the hospital for a few weeks. It wasn’t that we were delaying on purpose, just tired from lack of sleep and still trying to get the hang of this parenting thing.

I hope that things are cool with Juan. We had a disagreement over what he would be paid since a lot of the work was jobbed out to other vendors. Juan comes back and finishes a few major carpentry issues and sends over his tile person.

He still needs to come back to finish up a few things but we haven’t pressed him. Hopefully he’ll come back! Please, come back…we miss you.

This leads me to the real hero of our kitchen remodel, Jeff at The Limey Woodshop! Jeff came in and saved our project. He got the cabinets built and installed within 3 weeks…and they are absolutely beautiful. The cabinets are traditional in style with inset door frames and soft close drawers.

Once I was in the hospital Jeff kind-of took over. He arranged the countertop installation and found painters to spray the cabinetry. I really cannot recommend them enough.

Note: The Limey Woodshop company name may be changing. Jeff is from England and his family doesn’t really see the humor in the name “Limey”. Being an American, I thought the name was memorable and didn’t realize it can be considered derogatory. You do what you have to do to keep the peace within your family. The name may change but it is still the same owner and wonderful work.

Of course, the project supervisor was on hand to make sure the kitchen cabinet install went smoothly!

Comments { 5 } February 1, 2013

Cost-Saving Kitchen Remodeling Ideas

Places to save

Kitchens, Restoration Diary

We faced the unexpected cost of rewiring the entire downstairs of our house, blowing our remodeling budget out of the water. We needed to make some drastic cuts to our kitchen remodel to have any chance of the project cost coming in anywhere near our original budget.

One major place to save is on the cost of cabinetry. We are replacing the upper cabinet portion of one of the built-ins (pictured here) with shelves similar to what you see above. The shelves cost less than $100 dollars. When compared to the cost of custom, built-in cabinetry there is no contest. The space is still there if we are able to afford a built-in at a later date.

Another way we cut costs was to forego cabinetry around the vent hood or the refrigerator. Eventually, we will be able to afford a cute little SMEG or retro Big Chill fridge. I prefer the vintage looking fridges freestanding rather than built-in anyway.

One major place we saved is on lighting. I found these economical pendants at IKEA for under $25. You can’t beat spending $50 for kitchen lighting. And, we can always change out the lights later with no regrets.

Comments { 6 } January 9, 2013

Countertop Selection

What did we choose?

Kitchens, Restoration Diary,

I LOVE marble countertops. Based on looks alone marble is my first choice. The sad truth is we aren’t marble people. I know marble countertops have lasted hundreds of years in European kitchens, but I don’t think they would last 6 weeks with us! Maybe we are just more messy or careless than all those European chefs?

We have a knockoff Saarinen table with a Carrara marble top. With daily use we have scratched the marble and there is a water ring from where I left a vase of flowers for a week. David accidentally spilled beat juice on the table top that he didn’t immediately clean up, sending me into panic mode and a sputtered explanation about beet acid etching the marble. At which point David looked me straight in the eye and said, “There is no way we can have marble countertops in our kitchen! We are not those type of people.” I’m sure he means careful, non-beat juice spilling type of people.

My next choice is wood. I think it is absolutely lovely. David’s reasoning is if we aren’t capable of taking care of stone than we aren’t good candidates for wood. We really are looking for something with no maintenance.

We have been asked if we are doing a tile countertop. Many bungalows in our area have tile counters. I think it comes down to preference and I don’t care for the look. Like I said, we can be messy and dirty grout never looks nice. I am not even considering tile.

What I have decided on is engineered stone. We need something that will stand up to carelessness and moderate abuse. I have selected Caesarstone Misty Carrera…and not because I think it looks like marble, because it doesn’t. I find Caesarstone beautiful in it’s own right. I really want something that I don’t have to be ultra careful to maintain. Now, if only we were making some progress on our kitchen cabinets…

photo resources: 1 // 2 // 3

Comments { 14 } January 7, 2013

Grey Kitchens

My new love?

Inspiration, Kitchens


I love a white kitchen, really love a white kitchen, just as much as the next girl who fell in love at first site with the dream kitchen in the movie Something’s Gotta Give. You had me at the kitchen, seriously!


But, lately I feel like I am cheating on my true love. I’m falling hard for grey. And like anything else, the more you are aware of something, the more you start noticing it. Ever notice how once you buy a new car that you start seeing “your” car everywhere?

Taupey greys…

Kitchen designed by Windsor Smith. Cabinet color: Benjamin Moore’s Galveston Gray.

Dark, inky charcoal greys…


Smokey greys…


Grey cabinets with brass hardware…a winning combination.


So, am I swayed by grey? My fickle heart says YES, historical accuracy be damned!

Thanks to Sharon for pointing out Robert Schweitzer’s article on 1900-1925 Kitchen Colors. I do see a grey kitchen! I also see that he has a link to 1912 Bungalow…nice.

Comments { 6 } December 18, 2012

My Inspiration Kitchen


Inspiration, Kitchens

Photo: Lincoln Barbour. Professional photographer Lincoln Barbour has many amazing homes featured on his site. Please be sure to take a look!

A blog commenter recently left the following message, “I look so forward to your kitchen reno. Now 8 years later, has your vision for your kitchen changed?

Great question! The answer is YES, about a hundred times. But, I have kind-of ended up back where I started. After seeing the kitchen in Lincoln Barbour’s photo (above), I had this feeling of that’s it. This kitchen is everything I love; simplicity and that homey, comfortable vibe that just feels “right”. I appreciate the contemporary light fixture and chairs mixed in with the vintage kitchen. This kitchen is definitely my inspiration kitchen.

Here are some other ideas that I love…

Photo: Pinterest

The vintage sink sitting on the marble countertop is so beautifully done. I love it!

Photo: Pinterest

If I was in the market for a new stove I would get something fun like this blue stove.

Photo: Pinterest

Look at that wall of built-in floor to ceiling storage. I don’t have quite that much room in my small bungalow kitchen, but I dream of storage.

Photo: Neptune

My heart still beats quickly for freestanding English kitchens. I recently discovered the beautiful kitchens handcrafted by Neptune. I really want an island with work space and seating.

Photo: Neptune

Did I happen to mention that I really want an island? The English do kitchen islands so well…

Comments { 3 } March 30, 2012

Before Kitchens Were Gathering Areas

Kitchens of the early 1900’s


Can you imagine calling this room the heart of your home? To my modern eyes the early 1900’s kitchen looks rather cold and uninviting, utilitarian, and with all those pipes and exposed brick, industrial.

It is interesting how the industrial look is a current kitchen trend with industrial lighting and stainless steel.

At this time, some kitchens were still located in basements. In many upper middle class and well-to-do families kitchens were the domain of servants. Kitchens of yesteryear were not the hub of family life the way our kitchens are today. Friends gathering around and chatting to the host while she (or, as in my house, he) prepared dinner would have been unimaginable.

“Modern” conveniences such as a water heater, gas range, and garbage incinerator were available, but it is still a few years before what we would recognize or relate to as a modern kitchen of the 1910’s-1920’s.

What do you think of the 1900’s kitchen? Anyone want to go back? :)

Comments { 7 } March 4, 2011

Add Color, Glamour and a Whole Lot of Fun to Your Kitchen

1950's Retro Style Refrigerators


Pretty, pretty!

Smeg refrigerators are now available at Sears. I’m know. I’m surprised, too!

Look at all the delicious colors. Oh, I want one.

Comments { 2 } July 12, 2010