About 1 year ago and after hundreds of discussions with Ryan, nightly pinning rituals, and more conversations with contractors then I had wished to have had, I embarked on uncharted territory and decided to general contract the demo of our first floor and complete renovation of the kitchen. I think about what I was going through at that point in my life and I sit back and am in awe of what I was able to get accomplished. I loved the whole experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. I did however make mistakes as well as learned TONS but at the end of the day, I absolutely could not be happier with our kitchen. I want to share with you my “favorite things” and “should haves” as I reflect upon my experience of living with the revamped version of my most favorite room in the house; a cook’s kitchen.
LAYOUT – This part of the kitchen is key and I think I nailed it. I’ll tell you why. This point is important for all of you TSPeeps that are currently living in your “not forever kitchen”. If you have a redo in your future, pay close attention to what you are in right now as far as layout. My previous kitchen could not have been less functional or more dated, but we are talking functionality here. The placement of workspace in relation to the oven was across the kitchen. The garbage can was down the road and to the right. I was walking across toddlers with knives and hot pots. For five years I paid close attention to functionality and placement, so when it came time to design the layout, I knew what I needed to do. I love that I placed my garbage cans to the left of my oven directly under my workspace. I designed my cabinets and storage knowing that lifting glasses and plates directly up and out of the dishwasher would be my preference. I have a long, wide kitchen space. Pre-redo, I was walking far and wide to put things away. NOT NO MO, HONEY!
Pot Filler – This is hands down my favorite appliance in the kitchen, well, that and the farm sink. I am a pasta boiling, soup making fanatic. I love nothing more than grabbing my pot from under the counter and putting it right on the stove. In the kitchen, convenience is nice. I am not a lazy person by any means, but to have experienced the ladder, I say pot filler all the way. If you cook, its nice to have. I use mine every single day, filling everything from the tea kettle to boiling water for macaroni and cheese. It was a practical choice for me and I am glad I made it.
Viking Stove that I purchased on Ebay – OK, lets talk stoves. My stove to me was the most important appliance on my list. Ok, and the farm sink. Does that count as an appliance? I knew I wanted a commercial range but also knew I couldn’t afford a new one. Champagne taste on a beer budget over here. I learned from a friend of mine there are companies that buy used commercial stoves, from foreclosures and such, and refurbish them to sell to people like me. When it came time to pull the trigger on my range I started stalking sites like Craig’s List and Ebay. I researched the vendors prior to any purchase and bid on the range I wished to buy. The company I ended up making the purchase through could not have been more professional and forthcoming with information. Once it was installed, I had it serviced and checked thoroughly by a professional and the bad boy has been working swimmingly from the day I turned that heat to high. Oh, and I saved ALOT of money.
Not getting a pantry- Here is the deal with this decision. I make it my priority to feed my family whole food. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a zealot. If you opened my cabinet at this very moment you would find all kinds of crap, but my intent is to limit that stuff in the house. My idea was if we didn’t have this vast amount of space available for large boxes of processed garbage, then I would be less apt to have it in the house. There were nights when I woke up in a cold sweat worrying about my cabinet order, second guessing whether I had made a blunder excluding a pantry of some sort in my design. I am happy to report we have more than enough space for food and I do believe it has helped me in my efforts to keep the cabinets as free from food with bar codes as possible. Besides, you don’t miss what you don’t have.
Kitchen faucet sans sprayer-This was an easy choice for me. I was so over sprayers on sinks. I was either getting sprayed by one or it was stuck in position, hanging 2 feet out of its little sprayer hole. Plus, one less spot to wash grime from was a plus in my book. I can barely handle the handles. No pun. Nicole was worried I was going to hate not having the ability to spray the base of my sink. Not at all. Totally glad I went with my gut on this one. I know it seems mundane, but it was important to me and I like the way my sink looks with the bridge faucet and nothing else. Clean and neat. Momma likey. I say do what YOU want and not what everyone else thinks you should be doing. Just because it’s mainstream, does not mean it is right for you.
The fact that my Viking doesn’t have a simmer. This was my biggest mistake on the job. Through all of the details and measuring and organizing, it wasn’t even on my radar to check that my stove have a simmer burner option. Commercial stoves are designed to feed the masses. The particular Viking model I purchased does not have a simmer burner. I love commercial ranges because they are large and in charge, simple in look and function, and they have three temperatures. Hot Hot Hot. Lucky for me I can cook and have managed to navigate my way around that lapse in detail. However, I miss the simmer when I am trying to make things like rice and need things going slow and low for bit. Live and learn. Now I know and so do you.
Should have done open shelving. I will definitely modify this in the future. How I came to this realization may make you laugh a bit. If you peruse my kitchen board on Pinterest, you will see lots of inspiration with kitchens with open shelving. Oh, how my heart wanted it. But my mind, my too damn practical, capricorn mind said, “NO!”. So, I didn’t figure open shelving into the plan. Instead, I settled for some cabinets with glass. Here is where the story gets funny, sad more than funny, but still funny. When we purchased our cabinets, I didn’t purchase the class that was offered with the cabinet. I did not like my options and didn’t want to settle. I mentioned earlier going through a pretty tumultuous time in my life when this whole process began, once the kitchen was done and cabinets were up, I had glassless cabinets and not a moments time or interest in putting forth the effort to get the job complete. I am embarrassed to say we have lived without glass in our cabinets up until now and because of that, I know for a fact I would have loved open shelving. LOL. I flipping love just reaching in and grabbing a plate or a glass. And even better, less shit to break, right? It has been 9 months and I already have to tighten every screw on every door. I should have gone with my gut. Oh well. I do have plans to modify those shelves to what they should have been from the beginning. In due time.
The space where the counter meets the backsplash should have included a piece of quartz. I am not sure if my tile job just blows ass (leaning toward that) or if it was inevitable the grout would crack between the counter and the wall. Everything has settled and the grout it cracking. We are planning to add a piece of quartz up the back of the wall at some point in the near future.
At the end of the day, this process was an incredible experience that is not for the faint of heart. I went into this with a positive attitude, no faith in the “contractors” calendar, and sheer excitement over the fact I was soon going to be cooking in such an incredible upgrade from what I had before. I hope that my hits and misses gave you some ideas for your next upgrade and remember, do what suits you and what will work best for your family. As long as it makes you happy, in the end, that is all that matters.
Love it. Live it. Share it.