The fun part…design

Here’s how our new kitchen project came about. I designed our old kitchen 10ish years ago (pictured below – with yellow tile), a the time we had a newborn baby (and two giant dogs). This design came about because when we moved into this house it didn’t have any kitchen cabinets or counters.  When it was built, in 1886, a kitchen was a room with a giant stove,  a table and some furniture for storage and no running water! In our kitchen some plumbing was added in the 1930’s but still no counters.

In 2002 when we moved in we added some Ikea pieces and it worked well enough. Then suddenly we had a new baby  and we had a bedroom in the attic and one bedroom right off of the kitchen which was the only option for the nursery. We quickly realized that it didn’t work to have a new baby sleeping right next to the kitchen. So we built this wall (with the green picture on it), and I designed the kitchen with the yellow tile. The new wall formed a hallway, so the nursery was now off the hallway, but the kitchen became smaller. We had no budget at all when we built this kitchen so I needed to design something around Ikea cabinets, the natural birch flat panel design is what I choose. I installed the tile myself, we had a carpenter build the upper cabinet and soffit. It had a modern vibe that stemmed from the Ikea cabinets. It worked, and we loved the tile.

Over time it really bothered me that the style was so foreign from the rest of the house, and the main feature that I loved about the house, the height of the ceilings and nicely proportioned rooms were fighting with the horizontal cabinet design. So, when it came time to  re-work on the back of the house, and we no longer had the need for a nursery on the main floor (we now have two bedrooms in the old attic), it seemed it was time to take back the hallway and add it to the kitchen. All those reasons along with the fact that the Ikea cabinets were now discontinued lead us making a new kitchen part of this project, rather than extending the Ikea kitchen.

We were somewhat regretful (because we felt it wasteful and excessive to pull out a 10 year old kitchen). So, we saved the tile, took the good cabinets and the concrete sink and counter top and repurposed them in the mini-kitchen down stairs. So, most of the kitchen was recycled! And we were free to learn from our mistakes and design a kitchen that we hope will last 50 years.


I pulled these photos (below) when I was starting to think about the kitchen, the photo of the yellow tall shaker style cabinets were just the right proportion. Changing to a vertical design would better emphasize the tall ceilings, and the more traditional cabinets would work in better with the original style of our house. I like all the vintage appliances in the middle photo. I’m over fancy new ranges. I hated our Bosch oven, though it was a Craigslist find so it didn’t cost much the whole electric convection oven thing was annoying to me and didn’t work better than the vintage stove I had in my first SF apartment. I had spent a good amount on a Meile cooktop which also was unremarkable, burners were hard to start. The last photo I pulled because it had a nice balance of color, pattern and tile.

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 9.45.42 PM.png

Here’s a sketch I did of the initial idea, it revolved around tall simple shaker cabinets and a Copper Chambers Stove. The colors are cool, the light blue being a nod to mid-century aqua. Also important were the  vintage Danish pendants I saw last summer in Spain that I needed to track down. I found them here, and would have everything in this etsy shop if I had more rooms to furnish. I had ideas for the tile of course, but more on that later.

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 10.20.10 PM.png

Below, the design for the main kitchen wall firmed up, and was thought through by our architect (Barbara Brown). Not shown is the large island in-front of this cabinet wall which makes the whole kitchen function. Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 9.38.34 PM.png


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