Monthly Archives: April 2010

Now Accepting Dinner Invitations

Our remodel has officially begun, 6 days early! This morning Chris came by to meet with John from Central Builders (where we are getting our windows from) and do a final measure. Afterwards, Chris and I sat down and went over the 10 pages of notes I prepared for him, and copied on lilac paper so it would be easy for him to find.

This worked out really well and I encourage anyone taking on a large remodel to follow this tip and put it all in writing. Over 10 pages, I wrote out where I want every receptacle, specified that I do not want the range or fridge to stick out from the wall because of plug issues, drew pictures of all the faucet placements, mapped out all the overhead lighting and stressed the importance of plumbing the sinks discreetly to the back of the cabs so the space is most usable.

Chris definitely appreciated the specificity and planning I literally brought to the table. He then went under the house to go over the technical support stuff and I believe he touched base with our engineer to be totally certain about the drawings. We used Southard Engineering (Gainesville) and really liked working with Mr. Southard.

Here is a smattering of before pics. I am in the midst of packing up the space so the pics really emphasize the disfuntionality of the space.

Not so exciting, but at least I’m making my mother-in-law happy by posting them.

Oh…and regarding the title of my post. We are all broken up kitchen-wise over here so please! Anyone who has been meaning to have us over for dinner one night, now is a good time! We are hungry and will eat anything.

It's a start! Chris marked off where the new kitchen will end...

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Kitchen Fan

Refurbished Vintage Teal Blue Superlectric Electric Fan

I just bought myself a kitchen fan. It’s a tabletop fan. Because our kitchen will be a fairly narrow yet long galley, figuring out a ceiling fan was impossible. I would need 2. They could not be more than 36″ in width. And they had to be a hugger. And I was committed to not spending more than $200 a fan. This could have been possible had I been willing to go with something totally hideous with a boobie shade, but if there is one vow I keep in this lifetime, it is that I will never have a boobie shade lamp in my house. Never.

The dining room and breakfast nook (aka The Prasadam Hall) will have two fans. Very cheap yet surprisingly attractive. And no nipple on the bottom of the glass. So there will be a good amount of aerial air circulation. For the kitchen proper, I bought this oh so cute vintage desk fan from Fishbone Deco, my new Etsy BFF. This shopkeeper has sold other refurbished Superelectric fans in the past, so if you desire one, keep checking in.

During December, January and February (AKA the three months of Florida that are not mad hot), the fan will live in the buffet (wall cabinets mounted on the floor). The rest of the time, it will perch atop the buffet, directly aimed at me and my hopefully not so sweaty cooking self.

The purchases are winding down, the credit card bills are piling up and our house is being dismantled in preparation for Monday’s tear out. Right now, as the clock approaches midnite, I sit on the couch typing this. In my son’s room. With the coffee table, tv…the entire living room is here with us. And my boy is sleeping on the couch. In his room. Because he can.

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Shop-a-Lot

Today we began preparing the house for the tear out, which begins in one week. Most of the shopping is done. Today I ordered the Fivestar ranges, tile, RO filters, RO faucets and a water softener. All that is left to purchase are ceiling fans (will get them at Lowes), new windows, a door, table fan, white subway tile, breakfast nook chairs and paint (Shewin Williams Steamed Milk).

While originally I was anti RO because of the waste, Babu really wants clean tap water. However, the big sink already has 3 wall faucets on it and the white sink has one. Add two RO faucets and my kitchen is up to a ridiculous 6 faucets! A little alarming, even for me. I tried to get a skinny, barely there RO faucet and found one that I think fits the bill (mainly that it doesn’t have the black tip). The finish is chrome and gold so it matches nothing in my kitchen, but I think that is okay. Also, when buying the RO filter, I upgraded to a 14 gallon tank. Isn’t that a doozy? The upgrade was cheap and I have a fear of not being able to fill a 5 gallon pot for soup in one shot.

Here is the RO faucet. We are getting on filter that will be installed under the house. Two separate lines will run to a faucet mounted at each sink.

These chairs are brushed aluminum and a great buy. They are a rip off of Emeco Navy chairs. I will purchase them through a restaurant supply shop for about $60 a seat.

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Etch-a-Test

I decided, after seeing a post on the Garden Web Forum, to do my own etch test on the leftover carrara subway tiles I had from the PA house remodel, open to disabusing myself of any Pollyanna notions of marble's perfection. They are polished marble. I had already done a pretty serious stain test that involved leaving a turmeric poultice overnite on the unsealed marble. There was light staining that eventually came off with multiple soapy scrubbings. But tonite I decided to soak a paper towel in vinegar and apply it to half of two tiles.

The tile on the left shows the results after 2 hours. The tile is definitely etched and there is a "water spot" pattern left from the texture of the paper towel.

The tile on the right received the same treatment, however, I scrubbed the etched surface with a Scotch Brite sponge to even out the texture.

Earlier this week I read that you can give your polished counters a honed appearance at home by applying an acid treatment and then sanding with a 200 grit piece of sandpaper. This is what gave me the idea to scrub out the surface to even it out.

I'm really glad I did the test because I can go forward with the countertop purchase without any reservation. We will save money and not get the island honed. Instead, we will enjoy our marble as a natural patina develops over the year, sanding out any major boo-boos. I showed the husband tonite and he also is undisturbed by the etching. In fact, he has no problem with the spottier look.

To see Bluebonnet’s post about her etch test on Imperial Danby marble, visit her blog here!

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9 Different Styles of Hardware Ordered

Yesterday, before jumping on the trampoline with the kids, I put in an order for my cabinet hardware. From three different websites. I had been stalling on ordering the hardware, because I wanted to get it just right. There are so many choices to make with any kitchen remodel, and quite literally, the size of this remodel complicates things. At least in my mind.

So, here’s the quick run down. Three different finishes, seven different styles–divided up between knobs and pulls. Let’s review.

On the creamy white cabinets:

Clear crystal (I know it doesn't look this way in the pic) glass knob with chrome finish, available from D Lawless Hardware online. Four of these will go on the buffet (really just two 36" wall cabinets installed as base cabs). While maybe not as pretty as the more expensive crystal knobs I was originally dreaming about from RH, these are a more substantial size. I like heft.

White milkglass knobs, 1 and 1/2"! That's hefty. These will go on the upper cabinets. I know, I know. They will get lost against the white cabs. That is the point. That particular run of cabinets will be creamy white with satin nickel hardware on the lowers. White subway tile, white marble counters, white flushmounts above the sink and a white mirror over the sink to compensate for the lack of a window. Yesterday I had an ever so slight panic attack when I saw a sample of carrara up against the cabinets. The contrast was stark. The carrara looked bluish. The cabinets yellowish. And the white subway looked cheap. But I am flinging forward, getting religious over it and praying that it will look great once installed. I even woke up this morning with the Hare Krishna maha-mantra on repeat in my head. Obviously this remodel is taking its toll. ; )

From the small Connecticut based family owned manufacturer of authentic reproduction hardware comes BN-3 in SN (satin nickel). I ordered four of these from Horton Brasses, despite being a little bit over the bin pull. In theory. And yet, it endures. In my kitchen. Flanking the 60" monster sink will be a stack of 2 drawer, 18" drawers on either side. BN-3 SN is their jewelry.

Horton Brasses is also supplying me with 1 1/4" knobs in satin nickel for the five lower doors. Sure, I could buy cheap knobs from Target or Lowes, but these babies are American made, produced in a consciousness of trying to minimize industrial pollutants and to be honest, not at all expensive. That's why Horton Brasses rocks!

Four Aubrey Pulls from Restoration Hardware found their way into my online shopping cart. I like that these pulls are available in a variety of widths, especially since I only want one large pull on my drawers, regardless of drawer width. Unfortunately, they only come in a maximum width of 8". Two sets of 36" deep drawer bases will be the final destination for these pulls in satin nickel. I am confident that the finish will be more attractive in person.

Moving on to the island. The island is cherry, stained chestnut. Cherry is one of those woods that darkens as it ages, so what you see upon installation isn’t what you’ll get a year later. For someone like me who wants every detail known before installation, this color variable is a bit off-putting. However, I really didn’t want the blahness of maple. That is not a dis to anyone with maple cabs. They are hugely popular (and the white painted cabs will be made in maple). Let’s just say your zen is my blah. But I am ready to admit that my 9 hardwares could be your headache. Nevertheless, onward!

So, back to the cherry chestnut. I was all in a tizzy trying to decide upon Horton’s Antique or Dark Antique finish. Our old kitchen was walnut stained pine and I went with Antique. And loved it. It is a really gorgeous finish, special to HB (<——LOL did you like that…I wrote “HB” like one would do “RH”….because HB kicks RH’s sourced ass!!!!). However, chestnut is not walnut and I didn’t know if the two would look good together. On the walnut, the Antique hardware really disappeared. I knew the contrast would be low between the chestnut stain and the Antique finish, but I thought the undertones might class.

So I decided to consult the stars.

Well, sort of. I called up Orion Henderson (bitchin’ name, I know) and asked him what he thought. I sent him an email pic of the chestnut door. Orion and I, both being northeastern post-punks, agreed that Antique is the bomb that’s going to light my kitchen on fire! But wait, it gets better.

After me pulling a Jewish girl on him, being all like, “Orion, why don’t you guys make 10″ bin pulls like RH sells? Why not, Orion? Why?” He was all like, *Sigh.*  I’ll tell you what…..

And that’s when Orion became my kitchen’s new BFF. Orion told me that I could purchase whatever from RH (as long it was solid brass, and it is) in a brass finish, unlaquered preferred (and it isn’t), drop ship it to his operation (to be honest, I don’t know what exactly “drop ship” means, but I didn’t want to blow it by asking too many questions) and when they fill my order they will finish the RH hardware in Antique. And Orion himself will personally make sure the finishes match.
Doesn’t that make me important? Impeccable customer service is another reason you should shop Horton Brasses. I couldn’t love a small business more!
So here are the island picks:
Seven large knobs in Antique (third from left) for my base island cabs.

Two 8" Aubrey Pulls, ordered in Antique Brass, to be refinished by HB in their lovely Antique. Oddly enough, brass is making a comeback as a finish. On either side of the 30" Porcher London apron front sink is a 30" 3 drawer stack. The Aubrey will go on the top skinny drawer. I don't think it looks half bad, especially when satin, like this one. It looks lovely with white cabs, but I know I couldn't pull it off. It's not as easy to make look good...like wearing a big gold nose ring

Seven Duluth pulls in brass from RH are on their way to Connecticut for the Antique treatment. Because four will go on the cabinets next to the sink, below the Aubrey, I ordered these in 8" as well. They also come in 10" and 12" widths, which I find very attractive. However, they are going on 30" drawers, so 8" should look okay. I admit, 12" would look more than okay. The other spots where these are going are on the other side of the island so I could have justified 12" bin pulls. And now I am kind of wondering why I didn't. But to be honest, a little consistency throughout the kitchen won't kill me. And I saved a whole $15 going with the petite 8 inchers.

The pull on the bottom. That's the one. I wouldn't have had a kitchen without it. These were all over the place in my old kitchen. I even have one on a drawer in my 1962 kitchen. Come to think of it, these would look excellent on creamy white cabinets. But what's done is done. Next to the range, on either side (I like symmetry), are a narrow stack of drawers. Maybe 15". Maybe 18". It's all a blur right now. Four drawers each. Eight pulls ordered.

Thus ends the hardware tour of my kitchen. I’m sure I will fill the blog in when my hardware arrives–especially the special finish pieces.

For those of you wondering why I am yammering on about hardware…to such an extent…let me tell you. I know to an outsider it may seem inane. But if you dare to enter the lair of the kitchen remodel, you may begin to appreciate the world I now belong to.  This is my life now. I have crossed over to another realm.

Seriously, it’s good for me to keep a record of stuff and it also, hopefully, will be a resource for other people going through a similar process. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just google “kitchen remodel” and see what comes up?

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Classic Kitchens, Cottage Kitchens, Quirky Kitchens

Cottage Kitchen: love the clothe chandelier.

Green ceiling, turquoise walls.

Modern rustic cottage.

Pantone 2010 Color of the Year kitchen.

By the sea.

Apron sink, kitchen skirt.

Nothing to get hung up about.

Blue-washed cottage kitchen. Sublime.

Exposed plumbing. Not everyone can pull this off.

Budget cottage.

White, bright and small.

Salvaged sink with drainboards. I have to admit though, I am way over schoolhouse lights.

Mystery floor.

Talavera tiles, turquoise accents. This one's for you, Jayadeva!

True to my xenophilia, British kitchens don't have to do much for me to find them attractive. Just keep talking with that accent, baby!

Cottage industry.

Industrial evolution.

Kitchen clutter.

Shiny farm sink.

Endearing. Makes me want to chew organic Fruit Striped Gum.

Unfitted.

Weather beaten.

The Beast.

Circular saw.

Cottage candy.

Le citron.

Apple accents.

Mis-fit

The Underground.

For Satyavati 😉

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Advice Needed: Tile Colors

Okay. So Ivy is discontinued. Ficus looks too dark in artificial light (sometimes night does bring clarity). So I am left with Meadow. I like Meadow. And my son, when asked, picked Meadow. So how bad could Meadow be?

Meadow has a lot of yellow in it which is nice. I like yellow. Actually, I have been lusting (not an exaggeration) over a cream and yellow window panel from a shop whose name I won’t reveal since the panels are way out of my price range (I would need 9!), yet I am determined to get them. Determined because I simply cannot find window panels quite as enchanting as these. And yet I know my children will wipe their smudgey hands on them and lick them with chocolate spittled tongues. Because they have been raised by wolves. Can you hear me howl?

Okay. So the Meadow goes great with these window panels. But blue is nice, too, no? And there are so many pretty blues. Would it be criminal to have one wall of Meadow and one wall of something blueier, like Mint Ice, pictured on the lower right hand corner of your screen?

Maybe tomorrow I will post a good pic of all the blues and greens. Will you give me your honest opinion?


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