Monday, August 30, 2010

A Kitchen, at Last

We have a working kitchen! It only took 26 days, but it felt much longer, because of the heat wave and our broken A/C (still not fixed, after two weeks; bleagh). As a reminder, here's what we had on August 2 when the workers began:

White tile counters with permanently filthy grout, ca. 1985. Whitewashed oak cabinets, slowly yellowing with age, from the same era. An electric stove:

...a next-to-useless prep sink, and a main sink too shallow to wash a pasta pot in:

Oooh, how I hated that sink! In one day, the entire island was demolished: be resurrected as a series of unattached, partially-painted boxes:

...which came together slowly as the granite replaced the old tile counters:

On Friday night, the last worker left us at 8:00. We were literally saying blessings and lighting candles as he put the finishing touches on things.

He left us with this--a new, but empty-slate-of-a-kitchen:

Everything was covered in a fine layer of construction dust. I cleaned every surface for half a day, then put the contents of the entire kitchen back in place. It was so satisfying! In three weeks we went from this:

to this:
(What are those orange stickers? Little booboos the guys have to come back and fix. Every renovation has them; just part of the process.)

Anyway, we went from this:

To this:

And from this:

to this:

Thank you, Mu Shu, for modeling the new dog-bed alcove. We went from this:

to this:
The overall feel of the kitchen? I sum it up as "1910-meets-2010."

The subway tiles, cabinets, hardware, and stone counters remind me of my Grandma Bliss's kitchen, built in the first decade or so of the 1900s:

Now I have room to put all my recipe books in the kitchen, instead of stuffing most of them in the guest bedroom. It's nice to display the ones that belonged to my mother. I love having her vintage cookbooks nearby:

There are enamelware metal touches all over the kitchen, including these vintage French canisters from Portrait of a Bookstore:

...and these canisters, which hold dog food. The one on the left is from Harry Barker; on the right is another vintage enamelware find from Portrait of a Bookstore:

You may recall that this kitchen (House Beautiful, May 2010) was my inspiration:

This was a very grand and lavish kitchen, but some of its details I used on a smaller, more humble scale.

The subway tiles behind their gorgeous range...

...appeared on the backsplashes above our counters:

Their sky-high wall of white cabinets...

...was the inspiration for our teapot cabinet:

...and their dark countertops above white cabinetry and stainless appliances...

...turned into our "Grey Pearl" granite countertops, white cabinetry, and stainless appliances:

I was so thrilled with how things turned out, I even polished our copper tea kettle:

So, out with the old:

and in with the new:Plus, the guys came back today to take care of all the little "fixies" we marked with orange sticky notes.

So everybody is happy!


  1. I love it! Absolutely totally freaking love it. It's not at all too white. It's beautiful.

  2. Gorgeous, lovely, perfect, NICE!! Aren't you happy now?! xoxo

  3. Wow, Juli! Thanks for reminding me about your blog. I thought I was getting updates on your blog, but i guess I wasn't.

    I thought the prep sink was a great idea, till I started doing more cooking in our kitchen!

    Really gorgeous and functional kitchen. It shows that you put a lot of hard work into the planning.

    Love your teapot collection. I guess I have one also. Mine are also in a built in cabinet like yours, with lighting.

    It would be fun to cook together sometime! Love your photography, especially the muffins. Wish I could reach thru the screen and sample one! Nice of you to bake for your neighbors.

    Enjoy your kitchen. Come by and visit my blog sometime--

    I don't put my pix on Facebook either, because it seems like they own them if you do.

    Take care,


  4. PS--I agree about the electri oven. I would LOVE a gas one. But this kitchen has so much to offer, and it's huge.

    I love blogs, you can see what your friends have been doing and keep up.



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