Thursday, August 8, 2013

A New Kitchen- Fresh out of the Oven

Part 2 of our Kitchen Renovation is upon us... or upon you... you're the one reading this, after all.

Here are our previous renovation posts:

And now for a couple of scrumptious finishing touches to our lovely kitchen.  Now, remember, both Andy and I are renovating a kitchen for the first time.  We've never done any of this before.  We scratched our heads over what pendant light to choose, cabinet hardware, flooring, and [ahem] the stuff in this post because we had no idea what the design "best practices" were.  I liked to use to scroll through hundreds of pictures of purple kitchens. That helped a lot.  I say all of this to remind you that you too could renovate something yourself. Don't be afraid!

Ok, now, where we left off:

Our one big splurge was to replace those nasty, discolored, beigy, falling-apart countertops. Can you tell I hated them?  Initially we went to Home Depot to get a quote. We could not believe how much granite counters cost.  But then, we decided to try a local company, and their quote, for the exact same product, including installation, was about half of what Home Depot quoted us.  Can you believe that?  Moral of the story:  Support a local business, and DO NOT BUY COUNTERS AT HOME DEPOT.

Our local company was a total pleasure to work with.  They sent us out to New Jersey to pick out our stone, and we had an adventure at this huge warehouse full of gorgeous granites you didn't even know existed. We didn't want to "overbuild" the apartment, so we went with your basic, sparkly Black Galaxy color. They added a bullnose edge in for free (many dollars per foot at Home Depot).  The same day, they sent a guy to create a template.  He even came on a weekend. I offered him a Coke while he worked. Mom always did that when someone like a plumber or electrician would come over to the house- she'd offer him a Coke. 

We decided to extend the counter peninsula over the half wall a few inches to break up the "we tore down a wall" look.   

Then a week later, also on a weekend, they came over and installed the new granite!  
Oh, and we got a new under-mount sink (which was also included in the countertop price) and a new faucet. Don't you love my little attempt at home-staging here? A little plate of tomato slices, a white mixer, a random potato on the cook top...?

The final, finishing touch was a tile backsplash. Again, we were first-timers. What kind of tile would go well with both a dark countertop and light cabinets? Had we locked ourselves out of any good options? Since there was glitter in the counters we didn't want glittery tile in the backsplash too... oh, decisions, decisions.  There were too many options at the local tile shop, so we ended up going...duh da duh... back to Home Depot.

We ended up with a smoky blue glass subway tile and a travertine mosaic border.  I actually turned out to be pretty good at tiling!
Here's our tile up close with the spacers.  You can see that the travertine channels the light cabinets and the purple tiles hint at the wall color. Perfect!

 We had quite a time cutting down the glass tiles for the corners and around the outlets.  We tried everything we could until we resigned ourselves to renting a wet saw.
Just kidding. We borrowed one from Home Depot.  My parents were in town so Dad helped out with the tile trimming.

At long last, we were able to grout and seal the tiles, and our kitchen was complete.  But before the big reveal, let's remember the raw material we had to work with. The previous owner's take on "kitchen":

And now for the big reveal!

There are a couple of items on the counters now- my iron skillet, mixer, coffee maker, knife block, etc. This is the place where I cook things now- lovely, right?  It feels so much cleaner and ergonomic than before.  I've been known to hug the countertop and stroke the tiles.  That's okay, right?


Jordan Anderson said...

This kitchen looks AMAZING! Great work!

Kady said...

Pennie, you and Andy have created a showplace for a kitchen! I cannot believe how professional the final result is, especially when you consider your lack of experience before starting on this apartment project. I can only imagine the wonderful cuisine that will be produced in this delightful kitchen....just think of the huge profit you're going to make when you decide to move!