Tuesday, June 24, 2008

while we wait

I took some time out from The Book this weekend to spend with my old (have I really known her for over 20 years? yes, I have) friend Beth, who decided to shoehorn in a visit in our waning days as a family of three. Not for anyone else would I have swept, mopped, and scrubbed the entire house at 38 weeks pregnant. But since it was very likely the last top-to-bottom cleaning this house will get before (and let's face it, after) Baby Brother arrives, it was good to get it done. And of course, great to see Beth, who is truly a fellow traveler in this life.

The only unwanted drama of the weekend was that poor Jasper impaled his thigh on a branch in Frick Park and had to be carried to the vet for treatment of a pretty gory wound. We've been nursing him with painkillers, liquid skin, lots of petting and special treats, but he's going to be an invalid for a while, poor pup, and it's sad to see him not his usual spunky self.

With all that excitement now over, and before I put my blinders back on to finish (let's hope) The Book, allow me to introduce... Ladies and gentlemen, my new kitchen! Go ahead, view it large!

Lest you merely nod politely and move on, I think a little before and after action will dramatize the transformation. The "before" shots are scans of old film prints from several years ago – in other words, not that great – but you'll get the general gist of the hideosity we were up against.

Here's the corner where the window had been walled over and we were able to install an exhaust hood. The stove and cabinets date from the last renovation of the kitchen in 1962. My father-in-law generously offered to buy us a new stove, but we like our funky old one and will keep it till it quits. The steel cabinets likewise fall under the heading of "they don't make 'em like that anymore," so we had them refinished rather than spend more money on new ones. A new pull-out style cabinet to the left of the stove provides 12 precious inches of extra counter space next to the cooktop and is where we now keep our most-used cooking oils and spice jars, saving multiple mid-sautée trips to the pantry.

Here's the other side of the kitchen. Same cabinets, new butcher block counters and tile backsplash (our one big splurge). Where you see the little bookcase in the "before" picture is where, a couple years ago, we busted through the back wall and restored a doorway to the former butler's pantry. Aside from restoring the house's original circulation pattern, this brought a lot of borrowed light into our otherwise cavelike kitchen.

A "new" sink was key to the whole project – actually an old enameled cast-iron double sink with a double drainboard, which allowed us to skip building any countertop between the dishwasher and the window. We haunted Construction Junction for this sink for a year and a half and finally picked it up for only $20, which allowed us to splurge on a super-deluxe faucet. I had no idea what a difference a a nice faucet would make. Have I mentioned how much I love my faucet? I lurrrve it.

Finally, here is the little hallway which leads from the front of the house to the kitchen in the back. Some years ago, we knocked out a broom closet on the left which allowed us to move the refrigerator across the room and install a dishwasher (another life-changing event). The two doors lead to the basement and the pantry. I painted the wall at the back of the little hall with chalkboard paint – fun for Iris, a place to write shopping lists and notes for J and me.

Even though it's not a whole new kitchen, it is. We may have kept the same cabinets, appliances, even roughly the same layout, but small improvements have made it a better space in every way. The room where we spend the most time is now a room where we like to be. So good!


Blogger Rouxhauser said...

How wonderful! You guys have outdone yourselves. The ultimate in nesting!?! I am more than a wee bit jealous of your lovely new space. We'll be living with the "before" kitchen for the foreseeable future.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the most charming kitchen EVER! congrats.


3:10 PM  
Anonymous erin said...

it is beautiful, angelique! so worth the work and wait. now if that baby would just get here....

4:14 PM  
Anonymous dayben said...

i love it so much! i think it's so great that you were able to re-use so much of what you already had. it has so much more character than a typical renovation. great job!

8:03 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

My absolute favorite part of the new kitchen is your metal paper towel holder!!

12:03 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

lovely lovely!

1:07 AM  
Blogger wayfarer said...

That is awesome! I can't believe they had that window covered. Still boggles my mind why someone would do that. I love the mix of old and new too. That shelf with the cubbies for jars is genius! Great nesting!

8:06 AM  
Anonymous meg said...

wow! that's pretty f'in spectacular! well done.

i'll be thinking of you these next couple weeks. hope everything goes super smoothly.

8:44 AM  
Blogger a friend to knit with said...

i LOVE it angelique! everything about it.....i am so into kitchens with character, and that is exactly what you have. fabulous!!!
great find at conjunction junction! i need a new faucet. and i really want that one!!!
enjoy! and enjoy your last couple of weeks......of nesting. :)

8:41 AM  
Blogger Ally said...

gorgeous!! quite jealous. =)

1:53 AM  
Anonymous amy h said...

It looks beautiful! What a steal on the sink!

10:47 PM  
Blogger Tempest in a Teapot said...

It took me a few visits, but every time I look at the photos I notice more improvements. Your kitchen must be so much more efficient and fun now, and I truly admire your dedication to preserving your home's history while making it more suitable for modern life.

Congratulations on finishing the kitchen and The Book in advance of brother.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Paper Dolls for Boys said...

I used to read your blog all the time and then I switched computers and lost all my bookmarks. I have been trying to think of your blog name I was coming up with Au Neko and I just couldn't find you. Tonight I figured it out!!! I arrived here to see that you've had another baby, congrats on baby Kai and that you've finished your kitchen (two unequal but important events). The baby is adorable and the kitchen looks great. I love that you kept the old cabinets. The color scheme is roughly what I hope to do in our next kitchen!

So sorry to bore you with my search for you and your blog but I am happy to find you again!

5:46 PM  

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