I know, it took me long enough! But here I am at last with a little tour of my new kitchen, which truly is my dream kitchen, from the beautiful granite countertops to the dimmer switches on the sink lights to the appliance garage. Yep, I have an appliance garage. Who knew an appliance garage could make a person so deliriously happy? This loooong blog post is going to tell you every last detail of everything we did, including a Pinterest board with links to all our wonderful new kitchen stuff, but right here in this first paragraph I need to thank our incredibly talented, patient, creative kitchen designer who managed this entire project. If you live in the NYC metro area and you are thinking about a kitchen renovation, call Nancy Stern at Elements. She’s amazing, I owe her champagne and bacon, and the rest of this post wouldn’t be possible without her. So, please meet my new kitchen!
And a quick disclaimer/excuse before we start: I am not a good environmental photographer. I am much better at Boston Cream Pie cupcakes and babies and puppies. Just wanted to put that out there before I started. And so! We began by ripping out the old kitchen, right down to the studs, on July 24th.
We donated all our old cabinets and appliances to Green Demolition – they were all in nice shape for their age, and it warms my heart to know that they will have a second life in someone else’s kitchen. So here’s what moved in over the course of the next 3 1/2 weeks (yes, it only took 3 1/2 weeks. One of the reasons I adore Nancy, along with her fantastic contractor, Capital Improvements!). The cabinets are Teddwood Luxury Line cabinets.
They are a lovely soft white with a wood-tone melamine interior. Nancy designed the kitchen to be mainly big drawers – the upper cabinets are cabinets with shelves, but the vast majority – around the island and the lower cabinets are actually drawers.
Big drawers for pots and pans and baking supplies and small appliances, drawers with insets for silverware and spices and wooden spoons and all the Southern husband’s STUFF. Shallow drawers for potholders and place mats and foil and plastic wrap, medium drawers for bowls and dishtowels. No more fishing around in deep cabinets for stuff in the back…it’s all in gorgeous, airy drawers that slide out easily and (I love this) close themselves gently and firmly when you give them a little push. The drawer pulls and knobs are polished pewter, and believe it or not, those knobs and pulls were the longest debate the Southern husband and I had about anything in the kitchen. Many outside parties were consulted. It’s the little things!
One of my other favorite things about the cabinets are those glass cabinets up on top.
They are of course for things that are pretty and not used too often (I have an astonishing array of this sort of stuff) because they are so high. But they have lights inside that are on a dimmer, and they are just plain gorgeous at nighttime when they are on low…they give the kitchen a warm and welcoming look.
Oh, and my last fun fact about the drawers? Nancy drew me up a map for where everything should go, which saved me about 2 years worth of time as I started Putting Everything Back. Have I mentioned that I love her?
On to appliances. In the beginning, we decided we would keep our white fridge, double ovens and dishwasher, and get a new stovetop, microwave, vent and warming drawer. Then I realized that once you get a stainless steel stovetop, microwave, vent and warming drawer, you are going to agonize over your old white appliances until your Southern husband can’t take it anymore. Now we have good friends with who have our gently used white appliances, and we have all stainless steel everything. Stainless steel are us. Here’s the line-up:
A Wolf stovetop.
Five burners, all with a combination regular setting and simmer setting. Maybe I will actually be able to melt chocolate without crying now? I love this big, powerful stovetop more than words can say. LOVE. I’ve waited a loooong time for my Wolf, and so far it’s everything I hoped for.
On top of the stovetop is our vent.
I confess that i am not a vent lover. I like to smell what I am cooking, and I find that vents whisk all those good smells outside. The Southern husband, however, has an issue with the entire house smelling like applewood smoked bacon (I know, CRAZY!) so I cooperated on the whole vent thing. We picked the very glamorous Zephyr vent, which has three speeds and two light settings that shine a nice amount of light onto the stovetop. I’ve used the lights many times now, and the vent at LEAST twice. Maybe three times. I’ll get better.
The Southern husband picked out the microwave, which is a Bosch. For some reason I didn’t take a close-up picture of it when I was photographing EVERYTHING else in the kitchen, but if you look close there it is, to the right of the sink and the left of the fridge, built into the upper cabinets.
He picked it out when we were still thinking our old white appliances would play nicely with our new stainless steel, so he chose the white version. I know, you are thinking this is going to end badly, but with his usual luck, the white of the microwave is not the bright white of our old appliances, but a lovely soft white. The exact same soft white as the cabinets. It looks…PERFECT. As for the microwave itself, it’s a nice microwave that does what all other microwaves do. It does say “Enjoy Your Meal” when it is done cooking, which gives me warm fuzzy feelings.
Next, the warming drawer. (Please note blurry paws in this picture and remember my disclaimer above regarding my environmental photography skills!)
Oh, the warming drawer! This was my single most anticipated new gadget for the kitchen, and it lives amid the other drawers in the island. It is a KitchenAid, and I have used it every single day since we moved back into the kitchen.
It of course does a great job of keeping food warm, and it has a bread proofing setting that I haven’t tried yet, but I love it best for warming plates. I can’t tell you how much warmed plates contribute to a pasta supper, or a scrambled egg breakfast. We have had warmed plates every single night. Yup, in 90 degree August, we had Warmed Plates.
Now on to the appliances that were unexpected…the new stainless steel guys.
The fridge is the stainless steel version of the white one we had before, a Kitchen-Aid Architect Series model . It’s counter-depth, french doors, freezer on the bottom, water and ice in the door, and I love this one as much as I loved the old one. Its one fault (hey, nobody’s perfect) is that the ice-maker has a mind of its own. Sometimes the ice comes out gently and obediently when you press the button, and sometime it launches cubes across the kitchen like one of those tennis ball machines. It keeps us on our toes, for sure. Aside from that, this is a nice-looking, reliable, roomy fridge. And in my house, one of the fridge drawers is reserved exclusively for bacon. I know, shocking.
The double wall oven is also a Kitchen-Aid Architect series, also the model we had before but since our ovens were about 4 years old some nice updating has gone on. The windows on the doors are much bigger, there’s a bread-proofing setting (I think someone is trying to tell me I need to proof bread, stat!) and of course, there’s that pretty stainless steel. I’ll report more on this once I take it for a test spin – it was the last piece to fall into place and I still need to put it through its paces…after one batch of cookies I will say that the fan is a little noisier than its predecessor, which I hear is common. I can live with that!
Next, the granite.
I did a whole post on the granite installation which you can read by clicking here, but now that it is in, I can honestly say that it still shocks me with its gorgeousness every time I walk into the room. It was the one thing that we went WAY over budget with, but since it looks like we have an Impressionist painting on our counters I don’t regret one single penny. It is called Costa Esmeralda, and it is a glorious blue green streaked with light blue and goldish veins here and there. So far I have spilled red wine, olive oil, bacon grease and a whole variety of other stuff on it, and it cleans up without a trace…it seems impervious to anything I have done to it. Adding to my love and devotion to it, of course. We designed this new island with an overhang so that folks could sit at it, and I have been doing a lot of sitting at it.
Just sitting and being happy.
A few other details for you valiant souls who have hung in with me through all this. Plumbing details! We installed an undermount Franke stainless steel sink, with a two level grate insert.
The insert lets us stack all our dirty dishes on the grate so they don’t scrape along the pretty stainless. The sink itself is an lovely, different shape, and so far so good with this beauty. We got a Briza faucet that has a retractable spray attachment…we got various advice on whether these retractable sprayers were Good or Bad, but the Good votes outnumbered the Bad, so we went for it, and so far so good.
What else can I tell you? The white oak floors were stripped and stained and sealed, and they look as good as new. We hung three frosted round pendant lights over the island, also on dimmers (I am very into dimming the lights!) and they pulled the whole look of the kitchen together.
We tiled the back splash in between the cabinets with white subway tile, and the bump-up (which is the part in between the stove top and the vent) is a rough California rock in various shades of gray and green and brown.
It’s gotten mercilessly splattered with oil and grease and other stuff and so far not a trace of any of that on the tile. We painted the walls a lovely blue green color with soft white trim.
And with that, I will leave you with a picture of my appliance garage.
It is part of the cabinets, and has a front that opens up and in like a garage door. It has outlets built inside it, and it’s where my Cuisinart, my stand mixer and my blender are now living happily ever after. Just like me.
If you want more info on anything I’ve been describing, here’s a handy Pinterest board with links galore for all the things I’ve been describing.. Thank you for keeping me company on The Kitchen Project – so many of you sent me encouraging comments and emails, and I read and loved every one of them. Onward to some fun cooking!