Friday, July 26, 2013

Kitchen Reno (nearly done!)

Well it's been a little over a month since the kitchen renovations started and I'm happy to say that they are nearly done. Good thing because I've just about had it. Juggling full time work with a complete kitchen reno has just about done me in. Thankfully we chose to do this during the summer when barbecuing and dining on the deck was an option. I can't imagine doing this in February! 

As I sit here typing, the quartz countertops are being installed. All of the tradespeople who have been in our house have been incredibly polite and professional but I have to say that I am really looking forward to having the house back to myself and not sharing it with a constant stream of strangers. And so is Daisy the dog!

One of the most stressful things for me in this process was wondering whether the reality of the new kitchen would match the idea of the kitchen that I've been carrying around in my head for the last year. And I am happy to say that the actual real-life kitchen is even better than the one I was dreaming of. 

My very favourite part of the kitchen is the island. Its walnut top is quite stunning if I do say so myself. And the large pot drawers are way more practical than the disaster of a corner drawer we had before.

A friend suggested that I give a few tips and tricks for anyone considering a kitchen reno. My number one tip would be to hire a designer. Most kitchen cabinet companies offer this service for free and they will do plans even before you have signed a contract with them. During this process we had three different companies draw some plans and, although they were all pretty similar, we ultimately went with the designer with whom we had a connection from the start. She just seemed to get us and our style and we found out later that the style of kitchen we wanted was exactly what she would choose for herself. It really helps to work with someone who is excited about the project.

Also, make sure that the designer actually comes to your house before drawing up the plans. One designer never bothered to come and we were getting annoyed as she kept putting in a wall oven in her design plans even though we kept insisting that a) we did not own a wall oven and b) we had no intention of installing one. 

Another tip I would have is to not be afraid of speaking up if something doesn't seem quite right to you. For instance, our electrician had roughed in the pendant lights before the island was installed which meant we had to guess where the lights should be placed. Once the island was in its proper place it was clear to my husband and me that one of the lights was just a little "off". Thankfully, our contractor agreed and had the electrician come back and move the light by a few inches. Much better.

Here are a few pictures that were taken over the last two and half weeks. 

Sugar approves of the large drawers.

We were debating whether we needed to get new stools but decided to keep them because we still like them. Instead, we will have them spray painted in a bright white to match the cabinetry. We will do the same with our kitchen table and chairs which are off-white.

Side view of the island, my favourite thing about the new kitchen. You can tell from this picture that there is still an upper cabinet door missing as the holes for the pulls were not drilled in the proper place. A costly mistake for the kitchen supplier because they now have to build a new door.

And now...tada! a picture of the brand new dark grey quartz countertops which were installed less than an hour ago. The guys also put in our new (very deep) kitchen sink. We opted for a one large single sink rather than a traditional double sink, mostly because we rarely do dishes by hand.

So we are now entering the home stretch. Next week, the plumbing will be done, the drywall where the light was moved will be repaired and the backsplash will be installed. After that, I'm taking a nice, long vacation and enjoying the kitchen of my dreams. Cheers to that!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kitchen Reno (here we go!)

As I sit here typing I am also watching men carry in the parts to our brand-new kitchen. This moment has been a long time coming! As anyone who has ever been through a kitchen renovation knows, the entire process is incredibly long and all-consuming. For us, it started about a year ago when I opened the corner cabinet and three pots fell out. My husband came running when I yelled: "I hate this kitchen!" And that was that. From that moment on my every thought was consumed with the details of our new kitchen.

I started by tearing out images from the stacks of magazines I had collected over the years and pasting them onto a large poster board (sort of like a 3rd grade school project). One thing was clear when I stepped back and looked at my collage, the style I was coveting was a classic white kitchen, not too fussy and hopefully not too trendy. I still wanted to love it in 15 years. 

Now seems like the perfect time to show you the kitchen we are replacing. It was still in good condition and I had some friends openly question our decision to spend big bags of money on a new kitchen when our old one was perfectly fine. But the heart wants what the heart wants. And this heart wants a new white kitchen.

Original kitchen with new(ish) appliances. 

This is the state of my kitchen right now...

And this is my dining room...

Finding food is an adventure.

Choosing the colour and style of the kitchen was easy but everything else was not. When I started pulling images from magazines I was 100% certain that we would be putting in marble countertops. But after nearly every person I spoke to, including our kitchen designer, questioned the soundness of putting in marble in the kitchen I caved and started looking for an alternative. 

My second choice was quartz. I thought I had found the perfect one from Cambria. On a small scale, Cambria's Torquay does a good job of imitating marble. On a large scale, not so much.

Finally, we settled on Devon. From Cambria's Desert Collection, this is how the company describes it: "Awash in gray and black, much like waves rumbling through the pebbly coves of Devonshire, England. Peaceful, neutral and simple, Devon is unmistakably the new black for contemporary or traditional rooms". Very poetic, I know, but hopefully it will look as good as its description. I guess we'll find out in a few weeks when it is installed.

In the meantime, here's a photo of my sample of Devon.

It looks concrete gray in this picture but in the natural light there's a hint of a brown undertone. 

By tomorrow progress will have been made and I'll be able to post a few more photos. Wish me luck and lots and lots of patience!