Our new kitchen
I know we moved into this place two Aprils ago and I know the kitchen was basically finished shortly thereafter - and I know that referring to this space as our new kitchen is a stretch - but we had a little issue with our fully integrated dishwasher that we managed to put off fixing for over a year (pro tip: avoid putting one at the end of a cabinet run, if you can). And since I'm a firm believer that there are few things in a new kitchen that look worse than fully integrated appliances that are off kilter, I refused to show you guys the kitchen until we got it fixed. So now that it's been taken care of (THANKS THOM), here I am with photos and a complete rundown of the kitchen renovation that was basically the exact opposite of that renovation we did back in 2016. Which had a lot to do with the fact that 1) our new kitchen has really good bones and 2) it's in a building that was built in 2007, not 1929.
Anyway, when we first looked at this place, the kitchen was in pretty rough shape. The gorgeous Poggenpohl cabinets were beat to shit, there was a leak under the sink, and the range didn't work properly. Add to that the fact that the kitchen was designed in a way that didn't maximize the space (it had a 33" refrigerator, a 16" sink, and *one* storage cabinet) and we knew we were back in kitchen reno territory. And I was actually really excited about it.
Up until we moved into this place my favorite kitchen we've ever occupied was in an old loft in downtown Denver. It was small and narrow but it had everything we needed - and I drew a lot of inspiration, for the footprint of our new space, from that tiny kitchen (slash entryway) at the corner of 16th and Wazee.
Thanks to our previous kitchen renovation, I knew exactly what elements I wanted to bring into our new space so I basically just copied what we did in our last kitchen but made a few upgrades/changes as necessary. We stuck with a 24" refrigerator (but went with the model we originally wanted in our first reno) (it was out of stock at the time). The same 18" dishwasher. Basically the same range (but the electric version instead of gas because we don't have a gas hookup) (I might be one of the few people who prefers cooking on a ceramic cooktop). Same cabinets. Same style pulls (but a little more modern). Had the same dudes make our custom shelves (but we went with ash instead of douglas fir).
Unfortunately I didn't get any proper (DSLR) before photos (we were so busy!) but I did manage to snap some with my phone. Here's the space from when the previous owner still lived in it. Here it is a half hour after we took possession. And another. Here it is four hours after we took possession (we were not fucking around with this renovation). Here's Thom assembling the cabinets on the floor of what is now our main living area. And Thom installing the cabinets. And Thom tinkering with the built-in hood (Thom did, like, 90% of the work but I was in charge of packing up our old place and moving most of our stuff then unpacking it at our new place sooo I think it was a fair trade). This is what it looked like once the cabinets were installed. And this is what it looked like after the walls got sprayed with a few coats of Benjamin Moore's Super White. Here's the space pre countertops, backsplash, etc. And this is how we lived with it until I found a tile setter with immaculate attention to detail (if you zoom in on that shot you can see how wonky the dishwasher panel was).
And here are some takeaways, lessons, what have you.
Things we learned from our last kitchen renovation:
- I wanted at least a few upper cabinets. I love open shelving but I did not like having our mugs and glasses exposed on the shelves, mostly because they looked funny but also because of the wasted vertical space.
- We did not want butcher block countertops. They do a fantastic job of warming up a space (and could have done wonders in our very white kitchen) but they're not a practical surface for people who use the kitchen the way we do.
- We wanted an undermount sink. As someone who cleans the kitchen daily, being able to wipe crumbs and spills straight into the sink (instead of into my hand) is a really lovely thing.
- I did not want glossy backsplash tiles. Or white grout. Or square tiles. (THOM WAS RIGHT.) I was talked into doing semi-gloss tiles in our last kitchen since all the other finishes were matte, but I did not like the glossy finish one bit. We went with matte tiles in the new space and I love how they look (especially paired with black grout).
- Thom wanted to upgrade the legs on our cabinets. You have a few choices when it comes to the cabinet support legs that will be hidden behind the toe kick. For our last kitchen we went with the cheap plastic legs but the stainless steel legs are well worth the $6 (per set) upgrade.
- We can, indeed, live without a garbage disposal. We didn't put one in our first kitchen renovation (but had the option to add one later, if we wanted) and we didn't leave room to add one in our current kitchen. Side note: I 100% think garbage disposals are weird - just get a trap for your drain and compost that shit.
Things we realized after living in our new kitchen for a few months:
- Caesarstone countertops are shit. And Caesarstone warranty replacement is even more shit. If we had to go back and do it again, we'd spend the extra $850 and go with PentalQuartz. We don't plan on living here long term so it's not a big deal but I would definitely not put them in a forever home.
- A bar pull is ideal for the dishwasher. We had a tab pull (that matched the pulls on our base cabinets) for over a year but when Thom fixed the panel we decided to go with a bar pull (that matches the knobs on our hanging cabinets). I didn't realize what we were missing but having a bar pull makes opening the dishwasher so much easier.
In the end, we gained six storage cabinets (!), two linear feet of open shelving, and 2 1/2 square feet of counter space (that's not counting the counter space on the credenza) - which is awesome and just goes to show that small kitchens can pack a punch.. when they're designed properly.
To say I love this kitchen would be an understatement. It is literally my dream kitchen and although some of you may be scratching your heads because most dream kitchens are massive and have an island and two sinks and a Sub-Zero refrigerator, I'm a simple person when it comes to my kitchen space; compact and functional just does it for me. <3
Notes: We splurged on the things that mattered (appliances, countertops, custom shelving, etc.) and saved where it made sense (cabinets, backsplash, install, etc.). We've used IKEA cabinets in two renovations now and cannot recommend them enough (they're super easy to assemble/install, according to Thom). All in, this reno ended up costing us $15k - nearly half of which was spent on appliances. If you're looking for links to things on the shelves/counters (like the Yamazaki housewares people always ask about) or in the drawers (like my measuring cups and spoons), peep my products page. Produce Confetti print is by Heather Crosby and if you bug her enough she just might sell you one. ;)
Sektion cabinets* with veddinge fronts from IKEA
Stainless steel legs from IKEA (base cabinets)
Support legs from IKEA (credenza)
Mercer pulls from Wayfair (base cabinets)
Hopefull t-handle bar knobs (hanging cabinets)
Hopewell bar pull (dishwasher)
24" counter-depth refrigerator from Bosch
18" fully integrated dishwasher from Miele
Electric range from KitchenAid
Built-in extractor hood from IKEA
26" undermount sink from Wayfair
BLANCO Linus faucet from Lowe's
Field tiles from Daltile (set with black grout)
Custom ash shelves by Fin Art Co.
Double wall shelving brackets from MDT Mobilier
Floating bracket from Shelfology
Utility cart from IKEA
*We maximized the space in our cabinets by adding hidden drawers everywhere we could. We have five total (two in each cabinet on either side of the range and one in the credenza) and will probably add another at some point.
PS - We officially launched our company on the other side of the cannabis industry: SUPERGOOD (hemp). We dreamed it up late last year and worked on it basically every weekend until we launched a couple weeks ago. And - if you live in the US - you can have da goods delivered straight to your front door. (There's a golden milk cream pop recipe coming SOON.)