The Kitchen

Friday was a big day. J. the contractor was here all day, putting finishing touches everywhere! It was basically his last day, but he will be here Monday just doing a few more outside jobs, like wrapping the pipes and other stuff I don’t know about. I feel sad and glad at the same time. He has been here almost every day for the past three months, many weeks only taking Sunday off. I will be glad that I don’t have to worry about getting dressed and ready for someone to arrive, but I know I will miss the activity and excitement of the “next new thing,” and his cheerful presence, always ready with a quiet “hello Noah.”

Anyway, at long last, here is the finished kitchen. Oh, but wait, first I have to show you a couple of pictures of the old kitchen. This is the kitchen that I cooked and created in for the past 28 years. The entire kitchen was 6 feet by 8 feet. The open floor area was probably about 2 1/2 X 5 feet.

This shot is from the living room, and you can see into the kitchen and the bathroom. Yes, the refrigerator just kind of stuck out like that, and it was parked in front of the door that went nowhere.


Here is the old kitchen after I cleaned it up! The entire counter space was just always filled up like that. I did all my food prep work on the pull out cutting board.


And here is the new kitchen. (Its really hard to get good perspective shots of a room. I now really admire the people who are able to do that.) For those of you who have been following this year long adventure, you probably know this–But my original intention was to only add on the studio and mudroom. And then I saw some beautiful wooden cabinets in Noah’s trainer’s kitchen… and that was the start of this whole process.

I saw a blue island in some magazine, and I really wanted that. I am searching for a few blue accent pieces to add to the kitchen. I found the plaque that says “i tuning you out” at a store on my recent trip to Lake Tahoe. PERFECT for The Queen. The cabinets are knotty alder. I fought the recessed lighting, but now I love it so much! And I like my hanging lamps over the island too. They were on sale at Lowe’s.


To the left. Oh, I found the butcher block top for the island online at a place in Ohio. I ordered it there because they were the only place that had knotty alder butcher blocks! You can see the edge of the refrigerator. After I got over my disappointment, I am VERY happy that I have a refrigerator with the door opening in this direction, instead of having to take two steps to the left to get into a side-by-side.


To the right. We used the backdoor from the studio (which got eliminated–the kitchen shares a wall with the studio,) for the kitchen. It lets in lots of light, and it has a shade enclosed in the glass. Which I have to close in the morning and the evening. Otherwise, Noah keeps watch there. (“There must be something out there I need to bark about.”)

The white door is a little pantry (which still needs shelves,) and the wood door is a little broom closet!


And this photograph?? It is from our very own Lori! I saw it on her blog and just loved it. I asked her if I could possibly get a copy of it, and she very nicely emailed it to me. I got it enlarged on Snapfish, and then had it framed about a week ago.


Here are some of the really fun things I got to go in the cabinets. A spice drawer! LOVE this. So much better than ruffling through the cupboard that I can barely reach anyway, and knocking over half the spices before I find the one I want. And see that Garam Masalla there? Yep, Lori sent that to me as a “housewarming” present. She remembered that I had mentioned that I was not able to find it out here. I am actually going to try a recipe using it tonight!


The corner cupboards are pretty deep. The cabinet guy suggested Lazy Susan’s in both upper and lower cabinets.



These two tier organizing trays are pretty nice too.


This is just a shot of the granite countertop. The granite was a good buy, IMO, from a place called Granite Outlet.


Here is a shot of the backsplash. Those tiles were on sale at Lowe’s.


I think most people are familiar with these, but they were new to me. Oh, how nice to have a place to keep the garbage away from the dogs! (and a place for the ever-present collection of diet soda cans 🙂 )


And this baby? Oh I am very pleased with myself on this one! I am using it for dog food! The lid closes when you close the cupboard door. It is right under the sink, which of course is where I prepare their food twice a day. All of the cabinet gadgets are from a company called Rev-a-Shelf.


The floor, in case you are wondering, was one of the pricier investments… Its vinyl tile, but very thick (so says J. the contractor.) It wasn’t my intention, but it definitely does not show the dirt!

The kitchen sink is HUGE, and white. Its cast iron, and I also got a bargain on it (after choosing several other sinks that either would not work or were not available.) I feel a lot of pressure to keep it clean 🙂 The faucet was one of the first things I picked out. It sure was fun to see it go in place.


I have been bringing stuff in from the storage shed one box at a time, running them through the dishwasher, and then finding places to put everything. Gotta admit, its fun having a dishwasher too. Everything comes out so Sparkly and Squeaky Clean!

I can’t end without mentioning Shelley again, who was ever-present via text messaging for consultations and confidence building. Sometimes I needed an opinion or advice, and sometimes I just needed someone to say, “yeah, that looks right!” Thank you again, Shelley. Other IRL friends helped with ideas and decorating advice. My BFF listened to me prattle on endlessly about the construction and decision-making on almost a daily basis. My rug-hooking friend back in Chicago who is an interior decorator also had some good advice for me. Thank you to everyone!

I want to mention one other thing. I don’t know if people are wondering about this or not, but feel like I should say something. When I did the studio and the mudroom, I used money that I had saved for ten years, specifically for the hope of adding on a studio. When the idea for the kitchen add-on and other renovation came up, I thought long and hard about that. I had some money I had inherited from my dad. Was this the wisest use of that money? In the end, I decided that it was a good investment, because if I was ever going to move, my house was not worth much as it was. I wanted to mention this because I have strong feelings (from personal experience) that going into debt for almost anything is not  wise. And of course it goes without saying, that although I am grateful for the money we received from my dad, I would gladly cook in that little kitchen in exchange for more time with my dad. I like to think that this project is something that he very much would have approved of, and would have enjoyed watching.

Thus ends the tale of the kitchen. If you have lasted this far, thank you for reading along. It has been an adventure, and you can be sure it is an adventure that you won’t hear about again!


38 thoughts on “The Kitchen

  1. I did hang in there with you throughout the kitchen tales and I enjoyed them immensely, especially since I went through the same things two years ago. Love your choices and the color of the island. From your writing, I can tell it suits you. Enjoy using it, looking at it, and remembering your Dad through it.

  2. It’s all great you will enjoy cooking and working in that kitchen for a long time ,I sure your dad
    Will think money well spent.

  3. It’s FANTASTIC! Having lived for many years with a galley style kitchen myself, I know you must feel iike you’ve been transported straight to heaven each time you go in there. Just beautiful and I am so happy for you… as I am sure your Dad is as well.

  4. I can’t believe you used to do so much cooking in your former kitchen – there was no room to spread out! This new kitchen must feel like a mansion in comparison. It came out just gorgeous!! I love the cabinet and drawer inserts you picked (and LOL’d at Sophie guarding her food when you opened that one for the picture). Your drawers look so nice and deep, too. I love the grout color – it all came together so well! 🙂

    Your dad would be pleased with what you did with your inheritance; although, I totally get that whole trading it for more time with him, absolutely.

    • I told J. the contractor that you said it looked like a mansion. That made him smile 🙂 Yes, Sophie keeps very close track of the dog food and also the garbage.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your remodeling project. I can not even imagine how you’ve had to “rough it” for quite a while now. Everything looks great, and I’m sure you’re thrilled just stepping into the kitchen every morning. I’m with you about not going into debt. I’ve been saving my money as well to do update quite a few things in my house as well. Patience definetely pays off for sure, and knowing I don’t have any debt hanging over my head. Enjoy your practically new home!!!

    • The planning was very fun. And it is a little amazing to me that J. the contractor did all of this by his own planning from ideas and little drawings I gave him (no real architect involved.)

  6. Debbie, I have loved watching the process and seeing there are other people who value NO DEBT and are willing to wait. Your kitchen is awesome! Enjoy for many years to come!!!!

  7. I cannot believe how much bigger the kitchen looks – and tons of storage to boot! I am jealous of your spice drawer – and do I spy the garam masala in there? LOL!

    Lovely choices all around.

    I love that my picture is part of your room, too. Makes it feel like I actually have visited there. 😀 Maybe someday.

    • Well, it is much bigger–165SF compared to 48SF! Yes, and I am in LOVE with garam masala. I will post about that later in the week!

      I know. One of these days we MUST meet!

  8. Oh my gosh that kitchen is BEAUTIFUL!!!! It’s so pretty and light and airy and gorgeous! LOVE IT. 🙂

    You know, I never once thought you went into debt for this. Knowing you, I figured you had money in savings for it, otherwise you never would have done it. And I think it’s a very good use of the money your dad left you…and that was a very sweet note to end on as well. I’m sure he would be proud and excited for you. 3>

  9. I have followed the whole saga and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a similar experience in that I inherited some money from my mother and put a chunk into home improvements mostly in the kitchen. From time to time I will look at something in the kitchen and think how Mom would love it and then cry. Thanks for a wonderful story.

    • Thanks for sharing that. I really didn’t think of it until I read this. But my dad loved my cooking, and used to tell people I was a “gourmet cook.” What a nice memory to have.

  10. Debby, your new kitchen and really, all of your home is lovely. I’m sure your Dad would be thrilled to see what an awesome job you did in the planning and finding great deals. Plus, (although I didn’t know him) I feel quite sure that he would be happy for a kitchen that helps you on your quest for a healthy lifestyle. I would want that for my kids.

  11. It is simply lovely! You & J have done a wonderful job. I think your father would have been proud of what you’ve accomplished!

  12. I absolutely love your kitchen! It is so so pretty! It must be such a pleasure to cook in your new kitchen, enjoy it!

    And now I’m going to look for a spice drawer too for my own kitchen 🙂 I have it in a cupboard but it’s always hard to find the right spice.

  13. Congratulations Debby, it’s wonderful! So light and airy and spacious. The blue island is perfect, we quilters have to have our color! And I know just what you mean about knocking over multiple spices to get to another.

    • Thank you Jeannie! Yes, I guess its the quilter in me that had to have a different color in each room! That, and living with paneling for 28 years!

  14. I’m a stranger here, but I got sucked into your remodeling posts and went on from there…will have to come back and read more later. I love what you did and you’re really going to enjoy it!! I’ll come back to look again if I ever need to do something similar. =)

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