Several months ago, I let you all know that I was remodeling my kitchen. You may have realized from the background pictures in recent recipes that things are up and running again. We’ve been able to cook in the new kitchen since about mid-March. Now things still aren’t 100% finished with the new addition, but finally the only thing left inside to do is finish the dog kennel – more on that later. So I figured it was time for the grand tour.
To give you a little perspective on how our old kitchen fit in this space, the old kitchen ended at the beginning of the range, everything beyond that is new space.
Here’s the before picture for comparison.
I cannot tell you how happy I am that there is some space between the fridge and the stove! The wall you see with pots hanging on them is gone now, and you can see right from the living room into the kitchen.
Before I continue the tour of the new kitchen, I thought it might be fun to show you what our temporary kitchen looked like for most of the building of the new kitchen from November 12th through mid-March. I say most, because for about a month we had to disassemble even this and move everything to the basement while they were working on the ceiling and then sheet rock – things were way too dusty upstairs.
We did most of our cooking at home in a borrowed microwave (our previous one was a built in micro-hood that couldn’t be used on its own) and toaster oven.
Quite the change moving to this! I’ve shared that I do a LOT of baking for hunting season (and other times of the year) so I really wanted a second oven – you can see that on the right side in this picture. Above the oven is a convection microwave. The pride and joy of my new kitchen is my Capital range with 6 burners and a 12 inch griddle. I knew I wanted a range like this and when designing the kitchen planned the space around it. In this picture you can also see the front of my island has built in bookshelves instead of a breakfast bar.
We really love how the new kitchen is completely open to our living room and doesn’t have the wall in the middle that restricts conversation. Nina (the dog) also likes that she can see everything from her bed.
We spent a lot of time planning the new kitchen from the size, overall layout, even down to every detail of all the cabinets. I had a pretty extensive Pinterest board that I built over the course of a few years when this started as just a dream. When I was planning things out – I did a lot of measuring so drawers were the right size. At one point I even lined up all my Tupperware on the counter and stacked it to figure out the size drawer I would need.
Working with Kevin at Kevin’s Custom Cabinetry was absolutely awesome. He listened to all my ideas, gave me a few suggestions along the way and built some things for me that he had never built before. I’d like to show you some of the awesome built-ins he made.
First is a drawer to store all my baking pans. The cool thing about this drawer is the dividers are adjustable. Kevin had never done this before – but incorporated a similar peg system he uses to move shelves up and down vertically to change the width of the dividers.
Next is my utensil drawer. I wanted to be able to keep the counters in the kitchen clear and minimalist which means that I needed a place to keep all those utensils I used to keep in a crock on the counter (and then some). Keeping them all standing up and sorted by type (spatula, spoon, tongs, whisks, etc.) works so much better than digging through a ‘junk’ drawer to find it all.
This is my ‘oil and vinegar’ drawer. I wanted to keep cooking oils next to the stove so they were easy to grab when cooking. Because vinegar is in bottles too, it became my oil and vinegar drawer. The cut out allows me to see labels without picking the bottles up and pulling them out.
Maybe my favorite custom drawer is my spice drawer – or actually drawers, the one below this is identical. In order to maximize space, I had seen something on Pinterest that allows you to put two drawers in one. Kevin had never built anything like this before, and couldn’t find anything on the market that would be the right size – and he was really committed to using our space efficiently. So he ended up designing and building these drawers to the exact size of my favorite spices – Penzey’s – even measuring my spice jars to make sure they fit.
Similar to my spice drawer is our silverware drawer. This one was a surprise to me as we didn’t ask for anything special here, but he found this from one of his suppliers and it fit our size perfectly. I was unsure at first but I love the 2 levels and it allows us to keep extra stuff we don’t use often in the bottom.
The cabinet across from my stove – actually one of the few bottom ‘cabinet’s that’s a true cabinet and not a drawer – is used for my pans. I love that I can pull them out and pick them off a hook instead of digging through nested pans.
I focused on drawers over doors throughout the lower cabinets because I wanted to be able to pull something out and not dig through deep cabinets removing everything to grab something in the back.
We knew that we didn’t want our garbage sitting out anymore. Partly for a clean look and partly because at one point in her life our dog had knocked the garbage over forcing us to get a locking garbage can. One of my old managers had his garbage and recycling in a drawer, and although I know now that this is popular, his house was the first time I saw it and I kept it in the back of my mind for when I could upgrade my kitchen. We asked Kevin to put a drawer inside to store extra bags, dishwasher detergent, etc.
So that dog kennel I mentioned. This is probably the most unique and unconventional feature in our kitchen. The cabinet door next to my sink leads to a 4×4 dog kennel that sits under the counter and extends under a counter in a pantry behind the kitchen too. In fact you can see through the doors on the other size the light in the pantry is on. There are double doors on the pantry side to more easily access the kennel for cleaning or maintaining the dog door. This is almost finished – there is still plastic down on the plexi-glass we lined it with and there is some siliconing left to do before it’s 100% done. But it’s useable to access the dog door and Nina is learning to come and go as she pleases. So far this equates to abandoning us outside when we’re working in the yard and coming inside the house to take a nap – I forgot to mention she’s 9.
I have a slight obsession with collecting cookbooks. I will literally sit and read them like novels so I knew that I needed a place for them. We decided to make a bookshelf right next to the fridge that would also serve to ‘frame’ the fridge in the kitchen. I love the end panels Kevin put on the edge of the bookshelf.
And finally, our pantry. We wanted a place to put an extra freezer inside the house (we need an extra spot for the wild game we hunt throughout the year) and I wanted a place to put small kitchen appliances and extra canned goods that was not the closets in our spare bedrooms. My favorite part here are the baskets on the wall on the right that we have canned goods in – this wall was too narrow for a shelf and this let us use otherwise unusable space. We used the Elfa system for this – my advice, wait for one of their periodic sales, we got lucky and hit a 30% off sale when we designed the pantry.
We couldn’t be happier with the way the kitchen turned out. The years spent planning and dreaming and designing certainly paid off. And it was so much fun to pick everything out from the color of the cabinets to the floors (which are cork – and softer than normal wood, more resistant to warping if they get wet, and warmer in the winter), the granite, to the little things like the cabinet hardware. And it’s such a relief not to be bumping into each other in the kitchen anymore.
One day we’ll put in a backsplash and cover the gray wall, but for now we’re taking a break and enjoying the kitchen.
I hope you enjoyed the tour – I’m certainly looking forward to cooking, trying new things, and creating new recipes to share with you.