November 9, 2020

My New House: Thoughts On Our “Mini” Kitchen Renovation

The thing that made our new house an exciting purchase is that all the “guts” had been redone already- HVAC, wiring, roof, etc, so I get to put my aesthetic touch to things in this 1865 built house, without needing to gut and restore it – which I’d love to do someday, but just don’t have the bandwidth to do right now with two little kids.

The house was renovated in 2003 most recently and they did a good job and seem to have used quality materials, but they are just a bit dated and not my style. The kitchen, for example, has inset cherry cabinets that are beautifully made, but the color is not me. And the layout of the kitchen isn’t what I want ideally. But, we cannot afford to rip this kitchen out right now and redo it studs in – so while we’re saving to be able to create our dream kitchen someday, we’re doing a little facelift on this one! I wanted to share our plans as we prepare to kick off the renovation in December.

Here is the kitchen as is now.  The wall looking into the family room is load bearing, so when we do our BIG renovation, we’ll have to put in a steel beam to open it up to the family room, or perhaps just change the opening to be centered and wider. Also, I want cabinets that go to the ceiling (even though these are 10 feet and I’d need a ladder to get to the top ones. :) But for now these stay and will be painted. I’m deciding between painting the perimeter white and the island a color or the perimeter a color (green-grey) and leaving the island wood. Or I could paint everything the same color (grey-beige?) The floors will be refinished to match the darker floors in the rest of the house.

The appliances are probably on their last leg but I think can last us a few years until we renovate.

I may see if I can have my millworker make straight bottom sections for the cabinets flanking the opening to the mudroom before we paint.

I’ll cap the middle pendant and replace the other two with new larger pendants. You can see here the island has a really pretty drawer configuration!

So the plan is to stain the floor, paint the cabinets, replace the backsplash with a simple zellige subway tile in white, replace the countertops with an affordable honed jet-mist granite (which looks like soapstone) and replace the sink and faucet.  I’m actually going to just replace the cabinet hardware with a very similar oval knob, but antique brass instead of lacquered.

I think this will truly transform the space!

  • I am undecided on painting the island or leaving it wood. I see this space having a green/grey palette, but do I do just the island that color and the rest white, or the whole kitchen green/grey? Or that English beige-greige that looks so fresh now? HELLLLPPPP MEEEEEEEEE.
  • I’ve loved these pendants forever, so I want them for the kitchen :)
  • I may look into replacing the glass with wire mesh if not hideously pricey.
  • I can’t deal with the speckled granite so I found some really affordable slabs of honed jet mist and am gonna go for that farmhouse-y feel, like this space by Heidi Callier.
  • Cabinet hardware linked here.
  • An antique runner, of course :)
  • Either a framed series of intaglios or some other decor (like these jugs) for the niches.
  • A new brass faucet! YAY!

Thoughts??? As a designer, I always have such a hard time picking for myself!

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