Sunday, October 13, 2013

Function over Form in the Kitchen

Fall Garden

Before we moved in to the new-old house we thought we'd just freshen up the kitchen with paint, and maybe a new countertop, but it turned into a total gut job (as they say on HGTV). 

We went down to the studs and even replaced some studs, added new insulation, rewired, updated gas lines and plumbing. Then came sheetrock (previously it was cheap paneling, texture, and paint. We added new cabinets, countertops, sink, dishwasher, stove, fridge, floor. Everything except the window.  

I've pinned hundreds of images of farmhouse kitchens for inspiration prior and during the remodel. Most of them include creamy painted cabinets, stone or brick floors, a vintage cast iron sink, a chippy white kitchen table, and a wood burning cook stove. As it turns out, my kitchen looks nothing like any of the pictures I've pinned on Pinterest. While I love the look of painted cabinets, I have had white/cream painted cabinets in two out of the last three houses I've lived in and what I don't like about them is that they take constant upkeep. I got really tired of wiping down cabinets constantly. Kitchens are messy places and stuff drips. I had some really pretty custom painted cabinets in one house and I had a corner appliance garage, which i really liked. However, after about a year I'd literally wiped the paint off the corners from all the cleaning. So for practicality's sake this time I wanted stained cabinets (to hide drips...).

In the last house we had stained cabinets but they were a dark "cherry" finish which I didn't like. We ended up going with rustic hickory cabinets in this house.  Here's an "in progress" pic.

Kitchen Remodel in Progress

They look nice but again, not my idea of my dream farm kitchen. I ended up with a stainless steel sink mostly because it's practical and cheap and because I didn't find a vintage cast iron sink (within our budget) until AFTER the cabinets and sink were already in.... Bummer.

I left one wall blank so I could put in a wood cook stove. While I haven't given up yet, I have encountered obstacles. I wanted a masonry chimney and as it turns out this is apparently a lost art. I only found one local mason and the price was ridiculous. I don't want a metal chimney system, but may have to go that route. As I reported previously, I found a Gem-Pac wood stove locally for the low, low price of $600. A local stove shop had removed and replaced it for a customer. I did quite a bit of research and learned that the stove was not UL listed and needed more clearance than I could spare. So that whole project has been tabled for now. I didn't add cabinets or electrical wires to that wall so that in the future I could add my stove.

I will post some pics of the kitchen when it's completely done. We lack drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, touch up paint, and a few other odds and ends. Meanwhile, Marc has started on the living room - sheetrock, texture, etc. - and has it ready to paint tomorrow. We are replacing the set of french doors with a picture window, but that window has not come in just yet so we will move back to the kitchen to finish up the kitchen.

In addition to the remodeling I am working on some sewing projects - a christening gown (with slip, bonnet and slippers) and three dozen kitchen towels. Here's a pic of the kitchen towels.

Happy Camper Towels
We have a nice - but late - fall garden planted. Everything is doing well though the lettuce bolted.