Kitchen – the fun stuff…

5 months later – we passed our final inspection – the kitchen project is complete!

Time for accessories, a few new dishes, art, new knives, a new cutting board, new pots & pans, and the first meal.

My existing colorful canister set works perfectly.  The ceramic measuring cups were a kitchen warming gift from my friend, Lisa – and she hadn’t even see the kitchen yet – aren’t they perfect?!


My existing dishes worked out as well – mixed colorful Fiestaware (made in the USA).  I will admit that I bought a few limey green pieces  to match the limey green wall tile and  a few orange pieces to work in the adjacent sunroom orange wall color.


The Zebra with the birthday cake and a gift from my mom (glass and metal sculpture) – a little quirky – I like quirky.


New kitchen – New pots & pans…


I felt the need to have a decent sized cutting board – so I got one…


Then a few new knives to go with the new cutting board.


Finally, our first meal – corn muffins…


I’ve got one more kitchen post in the works. A summary of sorts – planning details, did it work out like it was supposed to (since we have now lived with it for a while), and a few highlights to remember…

Kitchen – the finishing touches…

We saved a bunch of money by doing so much work ourselves on this project so I felt ok about splurging a bit on the finishing details. Here we are – a bunch more stainless steel type finishes and some woodwork to pull it all together (prepare yourselves – this is the first of many cliches in this post) …

Hardware – the cabinet hardware is oversized.  The salesman at the hardware store asked if it was for Paul Bunyan’s house.  I say go big or go home.  I went big – and I went home (with my new beautiful cabinet hardware) and never looked back.


Outlet and switch plate covers – the fancy five. There are only 5 switch/outlets visible in our kitchen – so I went for fancy, hand hammered ones. The bumpy surface adds additional texture and interest to the flat tiled walls.


Lighting – I think we might have more lighting in the kitchen than we have in the rest of the entire house.  I wanted a bright kitchen and I got just that!  We have recessed lighting, a center ceiling fixture, a pendant over the sink, under shelf task lighting, and ambient uplighting.

We reused our ceiling fixture from the old kitchen – it has a bit of a craftsman feel – we like that.


The pendant over the sink is from Restoration Hardware.  It is old school in design, but has a modern feel with the brushed finish.  I also like the slightly industrial vibe.


The under shelf lighting and above cabinet lighting is quite lovely at night.


The under shelf lighting required a fair amount of research. Tad insisted on an LED fixture.

The above cabinet lighting was planned from the beginning – we installed outlets tied to a light switch. We tried a bunch of different types of fixtures up there – most were too bright and spotlight like.  Eventually, I opted for LED strips – custom cut to size – it came as a kit – inexpensive – easy to put together – easy to install.  The above cabinet lighting was Tad’s idea – so he received it as a Christmas gift.

A common question I get about the lighting design – why didn’t you put pendants over the peninsula (everybody else does it)?  Simple answer – I didn’t need it and I wanted to keep the view from the front of the house to the back of the house unobstructed.

Woodwork – for me the woodwork was the single biggest transformation of the entire project.  It provided the detail/element that made the kitchen finally feel finished.  I was so happy on this day!  I think I mentioned that we hired out this part of the project.  We could have done this ourselves to save some more money, but I think Tad just wanted the project done.   Anyway, Tad had done most of the window woodwork in the rest of the house so we wanted to duplicate it in the kitchen.   The woodwork is what pulls together the kitchen with the rest of the house.  It  bridges the new (addition) and the old (house).  I could go on and on with the cliches, but I think you get the picture.

The new cherry beam mimics the existing, structural beam found on the other side of the kitchen.


I am not sure it is really considered crown molding ( I am talking about the trim along the ceiling here) but I like it anyway.


Cherry and maple wood – trims the window.  We have this cherry/maple combo throughout the rest of the house – we kept it in the kitchen too.


The woodwork was finished with Watco Danish Oil.

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Toe kick – this is a detail most people don’t think about or even notice.  I had the stainless toe kick cut to size and installed it with some adhesive – less than $100 and the kitchen is finished, finished, finished!


Kitchen – appliances…

A dishwasher has been on the list of desires for quite some time – like 15 years. We brag about our dishwasher whenever the opportunity arises – I can’t imagine life without it now.


As you can see, we went with the dish drawers. So far, I really like the drawers.  I like that you don’t have to use every dish in the house to fill them up.  I like that you can run the drawers separately.  I like that they are attractive.

The refrigerator was chosen because it was the only one that met all my requirements.


Counter depth – I like a sleek, shallow refrigerator – stuff is easy to see and access.  Tall and skinny – I wanted a decent capacity but didn’t want to use up a bunch of floor space – this little frig is 30 inches wide and 80 inches high – it holds plenty of food and drink.  Ice maker.  Industrial looking. Perfect.

The stove – we reused our old stove – it looks brand new and it works perfectly fine (gas cooktop, electric/convection oven). By the way, if anyone thinks that stainless is a fad finish – check it out.  This stove is 15 years old – simple, a slightly industrial design, with a stainless steel finish – it will always be in style!


Vent hood – this particular item was a debate item for us.  I did not think we needed it (our stove has a down draft vent system – why not continue to use it – I didn’t have a vent hood in my budget).  Tad wanted it (still not sure why) – we got it.  It is pretty.  It was pricey (we also had to install ductwork out the ceiling and roof.)  It works great.  I like the halogen lighting that shines down on the stovetop so I can see what is cooking.  I am still not sure we “needed” it – though I will admit it works a lot better than the old downdraft system.


On a side note, I did learn a bit about ventilation in general when researching vent hoods. The stores try to talk you into the biggest and most powerful vent hood they have. These huge vent hoods are not necessary unless you are using a huge commercial type stove. In fact, these oversized vent hoods can be dangerous by sucking too much air out of the house if you don’t have enough “make up” air available. I won’t go into the details here but just a word of advice to do your research prior to purchasing a large and/or powerful vent hood.

Countertop appliances – I like things put away but still accessible.  I like my countertops free of unattractive stuff like appliances.

For years our microwave sat on top of the refrigerator in the old kitchen.  It is surprisingly convenient and much safer having the microwave at waist height.  I  was a little nervous having a built in specifically sized for this particular microwave.  What happens if this one breaks and I have to get a new one?  What happens if someday I want a microwave drawer instead?  In the end, I halted the over analyzing and just went for it.  I like that it is housed in a built in – it feels more finished.  I don’t really care if I have to search the world over for a new microwave that will fit the space – if and when it happens that I need to.


We don’t drink coffee so we don’t have a coffee maker. The red teapot stays on the stove ready for use. Oh and a little bit of trivia – this exact teapot can be seen on Seinfeld reruns – can it really be that they have been making this teapot for 20 years?


Toaster – it is located in a pull out drawer – easy to pull out, use, and put away.


What else do you need?