Finally getting somewhere!

Finally, we are nearing the close of the kitchen remodel!  We are now just waiting for a few things to be finished- a hood fan and light needs to be installed over the cooktop, the backsplash for the Hoosier cabinet needs to be installed, and we need smaller screws for the pull knobs on the maple cabinets.  The past few weeks have seen a flurry of activity in the kitchen, so let’s catch you up to where we are now!

As of the last post, we only had the bare bones cabinets in.  A lot has happened since then- and you can really begin to see a variety of different materials and finishes.  We were pretty bold (for us, anyway) in choosing different woods, countertops and finishes to create three different looks: the light maple cabinetry with dark soapstone counters, the Hoosier piece, and a marble-topped worktable.  We really wanted to stay away from a more modern kitchen aesthetic, where everything tends to match.  It was a challenge to keep everything cohesive, yet different enough to stand on it’s own.

I’ll start with the light cabinets.  As I have said, we were really not sure how we felt about these, even after they were installed.  As the accoutrements gradually made their way into the kitchen, however, we couldn’t be happier with them:

East wall.  Still needs cabinet hardware and over-fridge trim piece.

East wall. Still needs cabinet hardware and over-fridge trim piece.

southwall

They also happen to hold two of my favorite things in the entire kitchen:

ovenenclosure

Those are my KitchenAid series ovens.  They are both convection-capable, and have an absolutely stunning blue ceramic interior.

You know how people often include gratuitous shots of their children in their house blog?  Well, I have gratuitous shots of my ovens:

oven1

Side view #1.

Front view.

Front view.

Side view #2.  Look how pretty!

Side view #2. Look how pretty!

Close up of interior.

Close up of interior.

Okay, I’ll draw my thoughts away from the ovens now and focus on the other things that really pulled this side of the room together.

As the countertops were the biggest endeavor, I’ll start there.  For the East and South walls, we chose a dark soapstone countertop.  We were initially going to do a Corian countertop that resembled soapstone, until our designer told us that soapstone, a period correct material for countertops, was actually less expensive than the Corian mock-up.  Here are some close-ups:
soapstone1

soapstone2

Now, there was a bit of drama at the countertop point of the remodel.  When we got home from work on the day of the countertop install, we were absolutely horrified by what we found.  This was a really big day for us, as it had been at least a month since any major work had been done in the kitchen. We were so excited to see the changes that had been made.  That was, until we saw them.

First, the soapstone had a major crack in it at one of the weak points, where it was cut to fit the sink.  It looked to our untrained eyes as though the countertop had been broken/cracked in transit and installed despite the crack.  Not happy.

The marble topped work table, which I haven’t talked about too much yet, had quartz installed on it! QUARTZ.  Sparkly white quartz.  The string of expletives out of my husband’s mouth were not fit to be repeated here, but suffice it to say that I agreed completely with his assessment of the situation.  Quartz has no business in our kitchen.

Did I mention that we are also remodeling both our bathrooms at the same time as the kitchen?  Well, we are, because we are either a. stupid (to be without a kitchen entirely, and have only partial use of our bathrooms- ie, a functioning shower upstairs but no sink or toilet, functioning toilet downstairs but no shower) or b. wise (to be adding the equity or our house in one fell swoop).  To get back to the horror story, on the same day referenced above, our bathroom downstairs (which we believe was once a butler’s pantry that was re-done at some point into a half-bath) had the incorrect floor laid. We wanted white hexagon tiles with black mosaic inlays for the floor- we got all white hexagon with no black tiles.

After my husband’s cool head prevailed and he was able to leave professional yet ornery voicemails on our project manager and designer’s phones, and send them a slightly snarkier e-mail, all was resolved, post-haste.

First, the countertop was not cracked.  Soapstone, we learned, has fissures that naturally occur on the surface, which get filled in at the processing plants with white epoxy.  Let me say that again- they fill them in with white epoxy.  So if you have a dark gray countertop, as we do, white epoxy isn’t hiding the fissure as much as exposing it for all to see.  Needless to say, the next working day we had someone come out and custom blend an epoxy to match the countertop- free of charge.  Now the fissure looks like any of the other veins on the counter.

The Quartz situation was not as easy to remedy.  Turns out that the countertop was actually not quartz at all, but a kind of marble known as Thassos marble.  Our designer ordered Thassos marble rather than Carrera marble, because she thought they were the same thing.  Here is a comparison of the two:

carrera

Carrera marble. It's what I think of, when I think of marble.

Thassos marble.  Unprocessed- but the best way to see how sparkly it was.

Thassos marble. Unprocessed- but the best way to see how sparkly it was.

I am not saying that the Thassos marble wasn’t a pretty piece of stone.  It was just not what we wanted and did not look right in our kitchen at all- it was way too modern.  So the Thassos staying in our kitchen until the next working day, when it was ripped out.  I hope it finds a nice home in someone else’s kitchen.  This little mishap did push our finish date back- as we all of a sudden had to cut a new Carrera countertop!

The tile floor in the bathroom was an easy fix.  Our project manager gave us a few options- we could leave it all white hex tiles and not pay for the materials or the labor, or we could pay the materials and labor (for one floor install, not the removal and re-install).  We decided we liked the white floor just fine- especially since it was completely free.

I do have to add that, for our trouble, the design firm did purchase all of our cabinet hardware (excepting what was on the Hoosier, because that was already installed).  This was great, because we had our hearts set on these beautiful crackle-finish porcelain and pewter knobs and pulls, but couldn’t justify spending close to $400 on them.  Thanks, design team!

crackle pulls

crackle pull closeup

Beautiful!

The reason we loved the crackle so much for the knobs is because it mimics the crackle finish of our sink.  When we started the project, we were really drawn to a farm sink or a copper sink.  We were dissuaded from the farm sink by practicality- we really wanted to be able to just sweep debris from the counters into the sink to go down the disposal.  We were dissuaded from the copper sink because we would most likely trash the ‘living finish’.  We ended up going with an undermount Kohler model with an extra wide and deep basin, in the ‘Sea salt’ finish- a gorgeous white and grey crackle (which, unfortunately, is hard to capture on film):

sink1

Sink closeup #1

Sink closeup #2

Sink closeup #2

Which brings me to the faucet.  We spend weeks trying to find the right faucet.  We knew we wanted a bridge faucet, most likely in a oil-rubbed bronze finish (the two finishes in the kitchen being bronze and pewter). We went to stores and showrooms and just didn’t like their options.  Everything was either too modern or too Tuscan in appearance.  So we turned to the internet, where we found this little charmer:

faucetprofile

Faucet closeup.

Faucet closeup.

I especially love the white porcelain H and C knobs, and how it looks like a scuplted piece of antique plumbing.  The only downside is that this model did not come with a sprayer.  We decided to suffer without the sprayer, at least we’d do it with style.

Next time: updates on the marble table and the Hoosier cabinet!

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2 Responses to “Finally getting somewhere!”

  1. Jay Are Dub Says:

    Wow! That kitchen is badass! I loved the history of ice-cream you included. I never knew that ice-cream resembling vegetables were so popular back then.

  2. Cheryl Says:

    Oh, Mike and John, This is beautiful!! And I agree with you, Mike, the oven interior is my favorite, too! Can’t wait to see you guys and the house at Christmas. Bravo!

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