Saturday, July 21, 2007


I was going to talk about renovating the kitchen, but I realized that there aren't actually any photos of the kitchen on the blog.

It's kind of a funny setup; the kitchen is actually split in two rooms. About 10 years ago, the previous owners put an addition on to the back of the house. It's a wonderful room, with a big bank of windows and gorgeous woodwork. On one side is a fireplace with a gas insert, some built-in bookshelves, and two square windows. On the other side is our stove and a wall oven. The idea was an "entertaining kitchen" - while your guests sip wine by the fireplace, you are gracefully preparing a gourmet meal in the kitchen area. It really is a great space, we're just trying to integrate it with the pre-addition kitchen, which the PO's aptly called The Scullery. I'll let the pictures of that speak for themselves, but I would use words like dank, scummy, illogical, and yucky to describe it. It's the room I hate the most.

So here's a little "Before" tour of the Living-Kitchen (which I'm calling the Den now) and the Scullery and our ideas about changing it to make it more functional. Please chime in with your ideas and comments, too - we need all the help we can get!

I'll start with the pretty pictures. This is the Den, from the perspective of the Dining Room. The white thing on the right is our Stove. The table (which is actually the original door to the Frick Park Gatehouse!) is a decent workspace, the only one we have right now. We're planning on keeping it there. The windows make the room very sunny and bright, which I love.

In this photo you can see a little more of the ceiling, which is stained beadboard.

This is the lounging side of the Den. This picture was taken with my back to the stove. Our furniture needs a little makeover... The two chairs are going to be replaced by a red loveseat (bucket seats have all got to go). And we'll probably get a new rug and coffee table. Otherwise, this side is pretty set.

Here's the kitchen half of the Den. The Chambers stove is too cute, but it's not entirely practical for the way that we cook. We don't really use the neat-o features, and the burners are so strong, it's a little scary. We're working on selling it, so we can replace it with something more functional with a smaller footprint. Once that happens, that whole corner enclosing the wall oven will be removed so that the new fridge can move in. To the left of the stove, we'll have a small sink where the chalkboard thing is and a countertop where the small square butcher block is. We're thinking of a stainless hood vent over the stove. The floors will be refinished, too.

I think this photo demonstrates what we're trying to do by moving the fridge out to the Den. Right now, there's a mondo beige fridge in the Scullery (see it peeking?). It makes the entrance to that space feel like a cattle chute and further divides the two working spaces.
And now, let's move into the Scullery...

I am working on stripping the wood trim and we'd like to find some stained glass to put in the transom. That ceiling fan and light fixture are so awkward in this room. We're keeping the ceiling and focusing on lightening it up. The floors were salvaged from an old gymnasium, which is why they have funny little swatches of paint in spots. I really wish that the POs had better maintained the floors because I think that's so cool. Unfortunately, right now they're in such shitty shape that they'll have to be refinished, which means losing the bits of color.

Ah, here we are. This weekend was particularly lovely, which is the only reason there is any natural light in here at all. To your right, useless and ugly door-less cabinets, kind of rotted-out wood under-sink cabinets, and falling-off cheap white tile. The look is completed by grimy wood countertops that will never be clean ever ever ever and an unattractive, but actually kind of nice, dishwasher. The tiny slit of a window with light eeking through it is not a "real" window, but glass blocks. That fridge is huge, noisy, fugly and gross. When we first moved in I cleaned out about a chihuahua's worth of dog hair from it. Nasty.

Oh, the sink! The sink is a fun color blue, and could be charming, but once again, it's just totally impractical. It's so shallow that doing dishes gets you soaked and it always looks like it's full of dirty dishes even when it's just a coffee cup or two.

So, counters where the fridge is, a new double stainless sink, some functional wall cabinets, etc. I'll write more about the details when we get them more hammered out.

This is the other pointless glass-block window in the Scullery. It's huge! It actually goes below the countertop, making a great little alcove where bugs love to go to die, but which is really hard to reach to clean. Awesome. Those are shelves in front of the window. (This picture is from our move-in in May, so it doesn't match the others.) The plan is to get rid of the glass block and put a real window in that opens and everything! The
Here you can see the fruits of my stripping labor (horrible sentence...). I think once we clear all the crap out, it'll really look nice. That's the butler pantry thing just through the doorway there.
And here (in an ollld picture from the inspection in Feb. - so that stuff is all the PO's stuff) is the completely pointless shallow mug shelf (?!!) between the two doorways. We're ripping that shit out. The stairs on the right are an alternative flight to the second floor; we call them the Cosby stairs.

So there you have it! We're planning on starting this fall, contingent on us finishing the Workshop, so that they're a plumbed sink in the Kitchen part of the Den, and selling the stove so we can get rid of the wall oven and move the fridge. It's ridiculous how the speed with which we can redo our kitchen is entirely based on the efficacy of advertising on Craigslist....

Next up: The bathroom!!


Dulcie said...

Just stumbled upon your blog... What a great house! And those pictures of your bunnies are gobsmackingly cute. I wouldn't protest if there were more pictures intermixed with your photos of house renovation progress.

The Litter Box House said...

Hey! I just found you too! Glad I did since I too have a foursquare. I'm looking forward to seeing more interior photos. Especially your stairs. I'm obsessed with them lately. I'm also curious about your layout...

I'm planning on flagstone paths for my gardens. You mention putting in seed...between the flagstones? What kind of seed? Some type of moss? Or am I hopelessly confused about your gardening posts?

Can't wait to see future posts!


Kristen said...

Hi Dulcie - Thanks for the complements! I think that your Bungalow is awesome!

Andrea - I owe you some stair pictures! Also, the seeds we put down were just grass seeds. In a corner of the back patio we planted some Irish Moss as an experiment, but it was too expensive to do the whole thing in moss. I'll have to take some pictures of the end results, which I really like.

Jamaila said...

No matter what your kitchen (kitchens plural?) looks like, I'm totally jealous of your wall of windows. Also, your bunnies are adorable.

Kristen said...

Hi Jamalia! I was just reading your blog yesterday! Your Crab Feast looks like it was a blast.

Fun Fact: The trim around that bank of windows was salvaged from vats from a local brewery, Iron City Brewery. Cool, huh?