Sara’s Kitchen – An Updated Sneak Peek (It’s Functional, But Still Not “Finished”…)
Like that fossilized fry you find under your car seat, I’m back. Did y’all forget about me? I did. But I promised you all a kitchen a reveal so I’m here to deliver…sort of. DON’T GET MAD, but I haven’t finished my kitchen yet. Turns out kitchens are tough, and getting a new refrigerator delivered during the time of COVID is even tougher.
BUT I’m here with an update. And I hope that it will hold you over until this kitchen is finished for real. (Real quick, if you’re new to me ((rude)) you can catch up on this whole kitchen debacle in chronological order here: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4.)
On the left is where we started back in 2020, and on the right is where we are now, almost a year later…
Are they even the same PERSON?!
Honestly, I’ve forgotten how to write blog posts, because I have no idea where to start. But since this is just an update post, I won’t get stuck too deep in any weeds.
Like most of the rest of the house, we* demo’d everything out down to the studs, and rebuilt from the literal ground up. We took out the door and window that were a part of the back kitchen wall, and popped in a new, centered window that lets in a lot more light. The choice of flooring was made easy by the fact that we had leftover wood flooring from the rest of the house, so we could save a little $.
*If you’re new to me and my house, the royal “we” mostly refers to my dad and little brother. Neither of whom do this professionally, but are just very talented, hard-working humans who apparently love me an insane amount. But Mac and I have put in a fair share of blood, sweat, and tears along side them.
Next, we re-ran all the electrical and installed cabinet boxes from Ikea. With the new walls, new electric, new flooring, and new cabinet boxes all in place we were finally ready to start adding in the fun details – like custom cabinet fronts and pretty counters. And while we’re still missing the whole integrated fridge section, along with some other details, this kitchen is now 100% fully functional.
Honestly, if someone told me today “that’s it, you can’t do anything else to this kitchen” I’d be totally fine. Maybe a little bummed, because I’m really excited for the finishing touches, but I really have nothing to complain about. Not only is our kitchen functional, it’s pretty. Thanks to my dad, some amazing partners, and a lot of hard work this tiny galley kitchen is now the beating heart of our home.
I spend a LOT of time in here, and as someone who needs to cook their own meals on a regular basis to feel like a sane person, I truly feel blessed by some super generous kitchen gods.
Let’s chat details, and then I can fill you in on what still needs to get done along the way…
Since we were using Ikea base cabinets, I used the Ikea online software to design the layout for our kitchen. And then we partnered with Kokeena, a small custom cabinet front maker out of Portland, to have all the beautiful fronts and integrated panels made. We went with a style from their collaboration with Townsend Interiors – shaker style cabinet fronts in the mossy sage green of my dreams (aptly called “Moss”). They took my Ikea design and made the whole process so easy. We also used their hardware.
There are a lot of companies doing custom Ikea cabinet fronts these days, but Kokeena stuck out to me for two big reasons. First, their panels are all wood, and you can really feel the quality when you touch them–my dad was super impressed (it’s hard to impress my dad). Secondly, they’ll send you cabinet fronts painted whatever color you want. I choose one of their pre-selected colors, but if you have a dream color in mind they’ll make you cabinet fronts in that color (rather than sending you unpainted cabinet fronts that you then have to paint yourself). Working with them has been nothing short of a pleasure, and it’s just nice to work with small companies run by awesome people.
For the counters I wanted something really durable. I need them to last a long time, and since I live in my kitchen, so they need to live right along with me. So, we decided to go with Caesarstone quartz counters. I started by ordering a sample of the counter, and literally putting it through weeks of trial. I used it as a spoon rest, I cut up fruits and veggies on it, I left lemon and tomato sauce and wine on it for days at a time. And it cleaned up every time. So by the time we had to make the final decision, I felt really confident.
Our Caesarstone counters are hands down one of the best decisions I’ve made in our house. We went with honed Statuario Nuvo, and they just look really elegant. And to bring in a touch of timelessness I choose an ogee straight counter edge (we used Euro Stone in Pacoima for our fabrication, and they were amazing).
Since our new fridge has been backordered for a bit, we haven’t been able to install our integrated fridge corner. But we have been able to install our integrated KitchenAid dishwasher, and this beautiful thing, the thing that steals my heart time and time again, our new KitchenAid range. IT’S NAVY (they call it “Ink”). I love the touch of understated color it brings to the space. It’s the crown jewel of the kitchen–I can control it from my phone via bluetooth, it can bake, broil, proof, and has convection settings, and it’s just really sexy. It’s the Ian Somerhalder of ranges (Bowser and Veronica got me watching Vampire Diaries, which I missed the first time around, blame them for that one).
WILD difference, no? There’s so much happening in that one little picture on the right. I found that amazing Kohler cast iron sink on Craigslist, NEW for $300 (normally $600+). The beautiful faucet, outlet plate, and sconce are all from Rejuvenation – the literal gold standard for beautifully coordinated brass home accents. The sconces, specifically, create a really beautiful soft light in the kitchen, perfect for late evenings or getting a glass of nighttime water.
Eventually, we’re going to get a single wood shelf to span the entire length of the counter over the sink, and install a brass rail system under it. The plan is to make it nice and deep, so it can hold all my cookbooks, some pretty dishes, and a piece of art or two (which would free up more counter and cabinet space).
Let’s talk a little bit about functionality, because I didn’t want a kitchen that was pretty but couldn’t actually work.
In the far cabinet, across from the fridge, we created a microwave shelf, and installed several deep drawers for things like cat food, mixing bowls, and reusable containers. And our everyday dishware is stored to the right of the stove. I used shelf risers from Open Spaces to make the space even more efficient. The rest of our non-everyday dishware lives out in the bar cabinet in the dining room. (Peep my super cute amber tumblers that I snagged off Erik’s new vintage Instagram store, Bric-A-Brac).
We didn’t have space for a walk-in pantry, so we had to get creative. The cabinets and drawers to the left of the stove are our pantry. Emily was working on some sponsored content with RubberMaid, so we got to fully organize my upper cabinet into a super functional pantry using their Brilliance collection. And then we’ve got our spice rack fully organized in the top drawer (not pictured), and the bottom drawer is deep enough that it’s my baking pantry where I store bulk flours, sugars, and the like. So far, it’s all been working out real good.
So while our kitchen is fully functional, why aren’t I calling it finished? Because I have plaaaaans. I can’t wait to get our new fridge, so the whole space can be fully integrated (and we’ll get another set of cabinets above the fridge for appliance storage). We actually need to install our range hood (and by “we”, I mean hire someone who actually knows what they’re doing). I really want the open shelving above the sink, because I love my cookbooks and I want them to have a dedicated space. Plus, I think the brass hook and rail system will bring in a touch of vintage. And we need to add in tons of small details – like toe kicks, under cabinet lighting, a window treatment, and ACCESSORIES (maybe a rug that actually fits the space).
So there you have it, our kitchen as it is now. But slightly better, because Bowser came over and styled it (like the talented angel she is).
When are we aiming to have it finished, finished? Fall of 2021, probably. Good things take time, hard work, and a little patience. That’s what this house has taught me. So we’re just enjoying the process. Because in a home this old, there will always be a new project (I’m looking at you, primary bathroom), and if we get too focused on getting things “done” we’re never gonna get to LIVE here.