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ladoladi

Ok, here goes... My half-finished kitchen [very long & pic heavy]

13 years ago

In the spirit of all the recent threads, here is my not-quite-up-to-GW-standards kitchen, but I love it anyhow...

Our story: We bought our first home. We're a youngish couple just hitting our thirties; no children in the foreseeable future. We did not live in the house before we started the renovation, which I know goes against GW conventional wisdom. However, we still had about 6 months left on our lease with no way to really get out of it, so we figured it was the perfect time to do the renovation, even though it has taken much longer than 6 months and we had to move in before the kitchen was even ready. We still only have 1 sink in the whole house, in the laundry room. We gutted 3 bathrooms and the kitchen. None of which are finished as of the writing of this post. We hope to be done by late September.

We hired folks for the things we didn't feel comfortable doing ourselves: electrical, plumbing, framing. But we did a lot of it ourselves: demo, painting, cabinet installation. It was not our idea to do the installation ourselves, but things went awry with the person who was supposed to install our cabinets, and (it's a very long and sordid tale, but) we stopped him midway after a cabinet side cracked, screws broke in half inside the cabinets, etc. We had to learn to do it all ourselves on the fly. Thanks to ehow.com, DIYnetwork, various books, and GW, we were able to get it done.

We have rather unique tastes, or so we think. My SO is stubborn as a pig, and well, so am I, to be perfectly honest. In many instances, we compromised to accept what we each hated the least rather than what we loved the most. This was perhaps our biggest downfall.

And here are the pictures:

The original floorplan

Picture from walk-thru when we purchased house

Close-up of soffits we hated

View of kitchen space and kitchen side entry to dining room

A previous owner REALLY wanted a fax machine nook and did some unbelievable DIY things to create one. We're not sure what the original floorplan of this area was, but the pocket door to the pantry and the nook were not original to the house. When we started demoing the kitchen and the nook, we realized that after their nook DIY project they'd left a roof beam completely unsupported. That was a nice surprise.

Stove area with more soffit

View of breakfast area from kitchen

View of great room and fireplace from kitchen

And then the DEEEEEMOOOO!

Trying to figure out how an island would look with the old cabinets

More DEEEEEEEEEMOOOOOOOO!!

Okay, so we absolutely hated the soffits and knew those had to go because why would you put in soffits when you have these gorgeous high ceilings?! We also didn't like how the angled bar made the kitchen feel very closed in, so our goal was to some how incorporate the breakfast area into the kitchen and make it a bigger, cohesive space. The problem was we had a walkway running in between the two areas from the garage/laundry/office/master bedroom hall to the main part of the house kitchen/greatroom.

SO did not want a kitchen table because the dining room is right on the other side of the kitchen, and we are not formal people. He also did not want a "skinny" (his term) island, which is the only kind of island we could have fit in the middle of the kitchen. From the island, we wanted to be able to see the TV in the great room and I wanted to be able to have a good view of friends and family in the great room whenever they come over.

We had plumbing restrictions because we're on a cement slab and would've had to trench over 5 ft to get plumbing to the island. And we had venting restrictions because of our vaulted ceilings and crazy things going on in the attic. So, pretty much appliances were going to stay in the same general areas as the previous floorplan. We also couldn't bump the kitchen out any wider because part of the wall behind the stove is structural with the garage on the other side and I wouldn't accept bumping the kitchen out in the other direction, towards the great room, because then the kitchen would've been straight in the line of sight from the front door, which bothers me in a way I can't quite express.

What I really wanted, that I (**spoiler**) did NOT get, was to somehow open the walk-in pantry in the hallway (across from the master bedroom) into the kitchen. Everyone thought I was crazy for wanting that. Literally, everyone. Not a single person took my side in the issue. It's just around the corner, everyone said. I began to think I really was crazy, and finally I stopped insisting. But it still really bothers me that the pantry is around the corner and in front of the master bedroom door. It also bothers me that if we leave the master bedroom door, guests can see straight through into the whole room from many parts of the kitchen and great room. We couldn't move the MB door, however, because the only place it could have gone has some sort of HVAC stuff running through it and we didn't want to complicate matters further. So, these are the things you live with (I guess) when you remodel an older home. And, I'll learn to live with them as time goes on because I'm really very happy that we've made this house our home.

So, without further ado...

DRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLL.....

TADA!

New kitchen floorplan (island isn't quite in the right spot)

Please excuse all the mess, the stain on the bottom of the island cabinet, the old couches, the painted closet doors in the foyer, the plywood counters, etc.

I know GW poopoos matching cabinet and floor stain, but it was one of those things where we hated everything else for both floors and cabinets, and so... this is what we got. It doesn't look quite so matchy-matchy in real life, and we're hoping really light counters (with some of the same coloration as the fireplace stones) will bring it all together and offer some contrast.

We are both OCD about symmetry, and while this was perhaps not the BEST use of the stove wall, the asymmetry of every other design we came up with bothered us too much to be able to really live with anything else happily.

Whole kitchen view from great room side

We're saving this spot next to the island and "poopis station" (again, his term...sorry, we call the dog and cat poopises) for some kind of hutch or beverage station, but after final placement of the island I think the deepest we can go is 18" and that's not enough for a beverage fridge.

We haven't even looked at countertops or backsplash yet, so I'll update at some point. We did decide on 2 of the medium Harmon pendants from RH for over the island.

Comments (27)

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, what an undertaking. You needed guts and vision to take on this baby!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think it will be gorgeous. Of course that soffit stuff had to go. You are letting that house breathe, finally! The same color floor/cabs doesn't bother me at all. Some houses need it.

    A tiny thought: are you going to address the traditional-looking ceiling fan in the great room when you're done with the magnum opus in the kitchen? It stands out like a traditional thumb...Do you need a fan there? If so, a more modern one is in order, with all that soaring height and through-composition.

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  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    WOW! You two did great job! I like how the cabs and floor are similar in color. It adds to the sleek, seamless feel of the kitchen and greatroom. Having counters that match the color tones of the fireplace will give you a nice look.

    I love the modern feel with all the natural materials and soaring ceilings.

    That looks like it was a monsterous amount of work!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Those soffits are quite possibly the worst I've ever seen! LOL I can see why they had to go before you lived in that space. I love your dark cabinets! They look very similar to ours (also nearly done). Can you share the info on them? I tend to lean towards darks myself, so your floor/cab combo looks great to me! You have done an amazing job with your space. Congrats!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I like when floors and cabinets blend together. That's what we did. What a great transformation of space! We took out as many walls as technically possible without having to tear up the entire roof system and add support beams. I'm loving this demo of yours... can't wait to see more pics.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ladoladi,

    I like it. I like dark finishes and it doesn't bother me at all to have the floors and cabinets the same sort of color. Hopefully you pick something awesome for a countertop and it can really shine.

    We call our cat "Pooper" so your pet station nickname made me laugh.

    I love that you tore out the soffits. Looks messy and fun. Made for a nicer space. They had all thay height and they just had it hovering up there and it made the previous kitchen look REALLY short and stubby. Now it's much better!

    Keep posting. Can't wait to see the all the way finished product.

    Ne

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    whoa...those soffits...and you bought the house??? Those should be in some kind of soffit record book. I'd have run in the other direction.

    Always in awe of people with such vision they take on these mega projects.

    Kitchen looks great so far.

    (still snickering at the "poopises")

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love the story. Just a "page-scroller", Thank you! My breath is baited awaiting the next installment (equally picture-ful, please!).

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'd have run from those soffits too! ugh - what a project!

    it's looking good tho. you'll know you have a problem with the floor / cab color when someone tries to continue walking... up the cabinets! lol!

    look forward to seeing it completed.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Those soaring ceilings are so worth major demolition work to uncover. Let's hear it for youth and ambition. Were you able to resist an attempt to beam someone up Star Trek style, before you began dismantling?

    Also, re: "I know GW poopoos matching cabinet and floor stain":
    THERE IS NO UNDIFFERENTIATED JUDGMENTAL GW. There is a corporate GW, but it neither congratulates nor sneers. Then there is this anarchic community of people with strong or weak but inevitably mismatching opinions. What we have in common is that we are all pretty avid. And most of us are suckers for quixotic kitchen-related adventures.

    So please keep us apprised of your progress.

    Down with orthodoxy, and cheers.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Love the look!! So clean and modern. Floor/cab color looks rich I like it.
    GW poopoo's everything.

    Rolling eyes-I'm even feeling bad about my "white kitchen" -that I thought I came up with lol!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Flyleft: The fan's days are numbered! Actually, all the fans in the house have to go. They squeak unbearably. We spent a whole afternoon trying to fix the one in the master bedroom to no avail. I LIKE the idea of not having a fan in the great room, but unfortunately, in North-Central Florida they can really come in handy. So, I may just have to replace it with something more modern looking. Priorities first, though. I NEED a sink in the kitchen. Oh yeah, and not having to streak across the house from the only working shower to our closet would be nice too.

    KayceeFL: The cabinets are Thomasville's Eden in Maple with a Chocolate finish.

    We bought them at HD because they had this "buy more, save more" special going on (to meet a sales quota for end of year), and the price was just too good to pass up. We were able to get a lot of things for "free": hardware (not that many choices, but we found something acceptable), soft close doors, drawer glides, 5 roll out shelves (which I actually like although I know some GWers do not).

    I even passed up 4 glass doors that would've been completely free, but like I said, we both suffer from a little bit of OCD, and if things were on "display" I would constantly feel the need to have everything placed perfectly. I didn't want the glass doors to become a burden.

    Also, because of the special we were essentially able to get our master bath cabinets for free... although that was a mess! Beware: Thomasville's River Rock finish looks grey in the store, but reads completely taupe in our bathroom. It was a last minute decision, and we paid for it by having to scrap our original bathroom plan and working everything--tile, wall color, fixtures--around a color we didn't expect.

    The Thomasville cabinet construction is good, I would say. Better than the stuff that was in the kitchen before and just about in any other kitchen I've ever had, but that's all I have to compare it to. Most of the cabinets on display at stores are so beat up it's hard to make a judgment on them.

    We made a lot of mistakes along the way.

    For instance, all except 1 of the cabinets for the perimeter that were supposed to have furniture ends came without furniture ends. We told the KD to add the furniture ends, but she apparently didn't add them to the order and because the "order" is just a bunch of HD and Thomasville code, we had no idea until the cabinets were already installed (by the person who we stopped midway). So, HD sent us the furniture panels for free. However, we had to cut them to size (they were not exact) and had to buy a table saw (so we didn't pay for the F-sides, but we got a saw out of it, which means he can build the shelves for the pantry). My SO had never used a table saw, so this was an ordeal, but now he's an expert. Then, we had to figure out how to stick the F-sides on. The KD told us Liquid Nails. Boy, was that the wrong advice! Liquid Nails is too thick, and so the panels bulged out. We had to pull them off and try again with Contact Cement, which worked like a charm. You can't even tell the cabinets didn't come with furniture sides from Thomasville.

    Another beginner's mistake: I love to cook and I make big elaborate meals even when it's just the two of us, so I REALLY wanted a 36" stove, but because of the whole HOUSE remodel, a Wolf or a Viking or any of the big fancy stoves many GWers have was out of our budget. We looked on ebay and craigslist for the longest time, but no luck. Someone--I can't quite remember who--mentioned to us that you could find commercial 36" ranges on ebay for a lot less. So, we looked... and found one! We ordered our cabinets for the 36" range and had about 5 days left on the auction. After placing the cabinet order, I was reading up on the 36" commercial range and I found out that not only is the warranty void if used in a residential installation, but that you also risk being denied by your homeowner's insurance in the case of a fire! So, there I was with no range and my cabinets already ordered and set for a 36" stove. We found the Kenmore Elite 36", which bumps out and has the top part that sticks up (not sure what that's called) instead of the nice flat ones that everyone has... but well, maybe in 10 years I can convince SO that we can afford that Viking.

    Anyways, I like to ramble, but I promise to post more pics (with less rambling) once we go look at some countertops.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love the matching floor and cabinets. Such a pretty rich color. I can't believe how many soffits you had. You did a great job and I can't wait to see more pictures!

    celineike - I agree - I feel like I have to defend my "white kitchen" every time I post.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I am not a huge detractor of soffits, but those aren't soffits, they're a space ship. It looks so much better with them gone, its really coming along.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have ceiling-height and fireplace envy. Can't wait for more pics. When is the next installment?

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That view through to your fireplace gives a hint of how gorgeous your space is going to be. Wow. What an incredible amount of work and vision and planning have gone into this house -- and what a terrific result you will have. Please keep posting!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow...what a difference! I can't wait to see the final result!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the info on the cabinets! Ours are Thomasville Belgrade in maple with chocolate finish. We got a very similar deal, so couldn't pass it up either. Although have had a few bumps in the road with quality control at Thomasville and with HD's communications with them (much like you described). HD is doing our install and is doing a great job. Kudos to you for DIYing it...if only we had the time and patience. We did our demo, including some faux walls and soffits, but nothing like those monsters you had! LOL Can't wait too see more progress. Love the dark finishes!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the info on the cabinets! Ours are Thomasville Belgrade in maple with chocolate finish. We got a very similar deal, so couldn't pass it up either. Although have had a few bumps in the road with quality control at Thomasville and with HD's communications with them (much like you described). HD is doing our install and is doing a great job. Kudos to you for DIYing it...if only we had the time and patience. We did our demo, including some faux walls and soffits, but nothing like those monsters you had! LOL Can't wait too see more progress. Love the dark finishes!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Amazing!! YOu should feel so proud...what a transformation! I love your floors and cabinets.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You took what looked impossible and made it possible--really impressive undertaking and really great results! Sounds like you're near me (G'ville), and if so, I'm sure those fans have gotten some use the last few days. I'll look forward to seeing your finished product.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You conquered the soffit monsters! Congratulations! I'd say you're well on the way to having a beautiful home. I love your dark floors and cabs. I'm sure you'll love your 36 inch range (wish I had one). Can't wait to see what stone you pick for your countertops. Definitely looking forward to seeing your next pics 'cause they're going to be beautiful!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow--talk about having a vision! Love the story and the pics!

    PS Have I got a modern fan for you--look at the Matthews Fans. We LOVE our Vent Bettina fan!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Matthews Fans

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't know if it is the NYer, in me but when I was reading about your F-sides, I think I jumped to the wrong conclusion. I thought at first you meant F&*#@)~ sides....when you probably just got tired of typing out the word "furniture"...

    I think the old soffit situation would have worked if you have had an ultra modern kitchen. Then it would have been space age/Star Trek chic. With an older style, it was just odd. I love your new setup and think the same color stain for cabs and floor is fine because you went with a modern look and it was a dark shade. With a medium color wood, it would be more likely to overload on one tone. I think you also get away with it because of your tall ceilings.
    I can't wait to see it all come together. Your halfway point is looking good!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I kept looking for the sink in the pics because I KNOW I saw it on the plan! You need to get one of those. I hear they're quite handy to have IN the kitchen. ;)

    Looks great. You win the award for the ugliest soffit!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That was a massive undertaking (n my book). Great job - I like that the cabinetry and floors have a similar tone (there is such a thing as too much contrast). Looking forward to seeing the steps as you move toward completion.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, thank you, everyone, for your kind and encouraging words. Having spent countless hours, taking notes from this site (even when I knew some things were impossible to achieve in this kitchen) and quietly admiring all of your beautiful kitchens, from the big, jaw-dropping ones to the smaller, but oh so lovingly personalized ones, it means a lot to me and my SO that so many of you like what we've done so far. As newbies to all of this, we questioned every single small decision we made, and then questioned it some more, never quite sure if we made the right choice--especially going with practically the same color floor and cabinets--so it's great to get some positive feedback. Except the soffit. We never questioned that decision. We knew those had to vamoose! You should see the ones we took out of the bathrooms! EEEeeeeek!

    Anyways, thank you so much!

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