I put this blog together during the remodel of our 1912 Arts and Crafts bungalow kitchen to share pictures, progress and commiserations with friends and family. The blog eventually became a kind of companion and record of the journey, like a long and newsy letter to a friend who wants to know every detail and appreciates the strange and wonderful adventure of having your kitchen demolished and then rebuilt.
It’s been four years and everything about the remodel has stood the test of time. We still love it, and say that out loud just about every day. We’ve had important conversations here, raised a glass to family milestones in a kitchen jammed with friends, made important decisions sitting at the table. That’s what kitchens are for, as well as for feeding and caring for the family.
There really isn’t anything we would have done differently, or wish we had more of, or less of. Maybe another recessed light in the clean-up part of the kitchen. Maybe an electrical outlet in the wall by the table. But these are not deal breakers, and if they were that important, we’d add them. But we haven’t.
The kitchen speaks for itself and has been a solid, worthwhile investment in the house and family. What lingers about the process is a continued gratefulness for being able to work with Joe Petrina and the Petrina Construction team, who took such good care of us during the process in addition to their outstanding construction work. And the patient and exacting work of architect Stephanie Tottingham, who knows that getting the space right is first about getting a feel for the family and its needs.
One note about the posts here on the blog: you can’t miss my constant companion Lucy, the Australian shepherd, the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. Whenever I was taking pictures (or, really, doing just about anything), she was right beside me, and made it into quite a few of the photos. She was my shadow, my alter-ego, our family’s escort through life. She died way too early, after a short illness in the fall of 2011, at age seven.
After construction and throughout her remaining years, Lucy staked out her favorite spot in the kitchen, right smack in the middle of things where she could keep her watchful eye on all of us.
That’s the thing about kitchens: they are where life happens.
We’re very close now, just a few inside items, and the porchlet. Our list is down to under ten to-dos and you probably won’t be able to see many of them in the photos here. We’ve made breakfasts, lunches and dinners and enjoyed spending the last few evenings nestling in. Marie has all her favorite knick knacks on the shelves now. We’ve trialed and errored ourselves into putting the right pots and pans and silverware and glasses into the right drawers and cabinets. We’ve found the right place for the calendar. Tonight we returned our favorite art to the kitchen (thanks Bonnie). You get the idea. Here, take a look:
I have yet to wash the windows, but otherwise, this scene is complete.
The painter was here today and added another coat to the door, with one more to go. We’re looking forward to taking the masking paper off the door.
Countertops were treated today so they are now in use. Marie is definitely smiling.
I’m thinking there’s only a couple more posts in this job. Maybe a nice sunny day shot after the masking paper is off the door. And a photo of the porchlet. Might even get a picture of Joe Petrina and our architect Stephanie Tottingham next time they come over for a visit. Thanks for riding along on the journey!
It’s been a very busy few days around here, with all of the trades represented to do their part to get the kitchen across the finish line. We’re not quite there, but as you’ll see, almost.
East in the foreground, west in the background. Still need the beveled glass windows in the cabinets (and all the Franciscan); seal and enhancer on the soapstone, paint the trim under the windows; a few more lights. But it’s definitely useable (we’ll keep the soapstone covered until we treat it with the seal and enhancer).
Probably one day of painter’s time with touch up and to hit a few of the late trim pieces that were added. But we’ve started to move in some things and make this place look like home.
We’ve unplugged and defrosted the “camp fridge” that has been in the green room since July and moved the cold stuff into the new fridge, which is a dream. And we’ve used the stove to boil some water! The cabinet immediately to the right of the fridge is dry stuff (cereal, etc.) The cabinet on the wall is a spice cabinet, and it’s filled.
The door went in yesterday, and it is soooo smooth and solid and nice, and weatherstripped. Remembering the door that was there (which we loved in its quirky, drafty and worn way) makes us smile. Still needs one more coat of paint, hence the masking in the windows. Door stop on the floor behind it so it doesn’t hit the radiator. Note that we’ve added the chair rail (which you can see in the east kitchen) which is a tip of the hat to the former kitchen. Shoe box out on the porchlet (which still needs to be completed: rails, pickets, column, tongue-and-groove deck, etc.).
The assignment for today has been to vaccum and gently wash every surface (more like a tack cloth rub on everything). Here’s Marie’s job, which she is really looking forward to…really!
Several generations worth of Franciscan Ivy and Apple need to be washed and sorted into the cabinets.
A few things to look for here: cabinet and drawer fronts now in place; the gas line coming out of the floor in the spot where the oven will go tomorrow. The trim around the convection/microwave oven; the wood trim (not yet painted) under the middle windows. The baseboard on the far left. Cabinet and drawer pulls will be installed by Friday.
The east kitchen. Beveled-glass doors go into the upper cabinets. The action on the cabinet doors is so nice and smooth, it makes you want to just stand there for a while and open/close the doors (and the memory of what was there–ugh–makes that an especially nice experience).
The fridge will still nestle back a bit into the slot there. It’s a perfect fit. The plumber comes tomorrow to connect the water supply to it, and the electrician is back to heat up the appliances, install the remaining fixtures, and make them all work by adding a second circuit panel in the basement.
Here’s the radiator that used to be in the nook. It’s now installed in the west kitchen and all connected up. Unfortunately, the guys from Rainbow Heating found that the run from here to the boiler–and the rising angle of the copper pipe to get there–may be too much for the simple gravity system. It did get warm, but barely. Joe Grogan, the Rainbow boss, called tonight to talk about fixes: he was thinking about putting a tiny pump in line to this radiator. I remembered some advice that my Dad once offered about our system: he suggested that we should think about installing a pump for the entire system so that instead of waiting for the heated water to make it circulate, a pump would move things along much more quickly. So, I shared that with Joe, and he’s investigating the equipment and cost. We’ll figure it out and either way, the radiator (recently painted by Leon) is a thing of beauty in that spot.
Tim and his helper were here today to install the marmoleum floor, which really dresses up the room. You can see that it has multiple personalities depending on the light. Check it out:
We had a good conversation about seams, and chose to install one single piece from the nook doorway all the way through to the back door (our seams run east-west). It does give us a seam up the middle (and another one in the east kitchen about mid-counter), but there was no way to do this without having three seams. Hopefully, we’ve made the right choice by choosing to protect the highest traffic area and sink with all one piece. This photo was taken without a flash and it has a lovely warmth to it.
This shot, taken with a flash, brings out more of the blues in the floor. Hmm.
Andy the finish carpenter comes back tomorrow to complete the trim, add baseboards, etc. Big appliances on Wednesday.
Randy the electrician was back today to connect up all the wire he pulled back in August, and to hang some of the fixtures (a bunch are still on order). These two schoolhouse fixtures are in the west kitchen, and match one in the east kitchen (see below). You can see that Hughbert finished the tile…trim needs to be added below the windows, but the tile is done. All the stuff is up on the counters because Monday the floor goes in.
Another view, taken from the door. Gary installed the convection oven/microwave today, visible on the left there under the paint. Lucy, as usual, right at my side.
Taken from the east kitchen looking west. The switch on the tile above the east counter controls the under-cabinet lighting (which has not yet been installed, but looks very nice…I saw it today). I actually did tonight’s dishes in the east sink. What a treat to not have to haul the dishes up and down the stairs, and to have light!
Splash related items today include near-completion of the tile backsplash (grout tomorrow) and installation of the sinks and faucets. They work! Water in the kitchen, yahoo.
Hughbert worked on the tile today and got it nearly finished. A few improvements and adjustments to make, and grout. Look carefully and you can see the garbage grinder on the right side under the sink, and the faucets.
Still need to put the apron trim under these windows, but you get the basic idea. And the sink works!
East sink (Doug’s sink) with backsplash. The flange sticking up on the right basin is the stock fitting that the plumber set there (and I removed after I took the picture). The Insinkerator flange has been installed. Note the “air switch” just right of the sprayer, which operates the disposal. I can hardly wait to put these into use. I’m not carrying the basin of dishes downstairs tonight: I’ll do the dishes right there.
We met with Joe today, and his wrap-up guy Gary, and set the remaining timeline: Floor on Monday and Tuesday; appliances, cabinet work, radiator installation and minor painting Wednesday; more of the same and return of electrician and plumber on Thursday to hook up appliances; door installation on Friday. And then we can move in! One week from tomorrow. There are still some minor items, including completion of the porchlet, but it feels like we’re rounding the last bend.