Friday

The power of a crowbar, and a dilemma

This blog chronicles my entire kitchen renovation from start to finish. Greentea Design has provided me with their solid wood kitchen cabinets, and I'm taking care of the rest.

If you'd like to be brought up to date, check out the archive in the sidebar for previous posts. I posted recently about the major purchases I've made for the kitchen, and now it's time for the fun stuff - DEMOLITION. I also have a flooring dilemma to figure out.


Demolition began recently in my kitchen, and it was a BLAST. I have no fear of tools (especially power tools), and love to get my hands dirty. I didn't do it all myself mind you, my boyfriend was as eager as I was to help with this demolition. We started with the wall between the living room and the kitchen. That had to go because the cabinets are ending about a foot into the living room and frankly, regardless of how the kitchen ended up being designed, I wanted that wall gone to open up the main floor. Here are a couple before photos to show you the wall (which I had an architect friend come by to check out and ensure it was not load bearing).



And here are a couple "during" photos. (During the demo of this wall we discovered mouse poop in the cupboard above the closet. Seems mice chewed/clawed a hole through the wall to get into the closet at a bag I had stashed in there of makings for granola. I have a couple pics in my kitchen remodel set on Flickr of this little surprise if you care to see the HORROR).



This is what the main floor looks like sans big useless wall. Actually, it wasn't all that useless. It was one of the few walls available to put furniture against and to hang art on. (The credenza found a new home in my bedroom, and looks really cute up there). This wall also housed the only closet on the main floor, so once the kitchen is finished, I need to start on getting a closet built in my office for coats/shoes/bags.





We have done more demolition since this wall came down, which I will show you in a future post, and the rest of it has to get done this weekend because my contractor is starting Monday. So I will have to create a makeshift kitchen in the living room to get me through the next month or so.

In the title of this post I mention that I have a dilemma. It's regarding the flooring. I had my heart set on painting the floors in the kitchen and living room white. But then I saw these photos on Design*Sponge of the home of Abigail Ahern, and I began to doubt my decision.


Perhaps a light grey could work in the space - it would show less dirt than white would that's for sure. I'm not quite sold on the idea so I thought I would ask you all your opinion. And I'd love it if you have ideas for specific colours and paint brands.

Here are some other spaces with painted floors I found for some more inspiration.

James Leland DayBo Bedre
Shoot FactoryInspace Locations
Judy KingBo Bedre
Boligtorvet

Also, I had a problem with the painted white floors in my office. I noticed a little while after I had done them that under all the furniture and rugs, the floor had turned yellowy. Anyone ever had that happen? I did 2 coats (BM's Oxford White) and waited 24 hours between each, but maybe it needed time to cure and I shouldn't have put the furniture down so soon after it dried. I don't want to run into this problem when I do the rest of the main floor.

Tuesday

Remaining kitchen purchases

This blog chronicles my entire kitchen renovation from start to finish. Greentea Design has provided me with their solid wood kitchen cabinets, and I'm taking care of the rest.

If you'd like to be brought up to date, check out the archive in the sidebar for previous posts. I posted recently about some of the major purchases I've made for the kitchen such as lighting and appliances, and now it's time for the countertop, sink, faucet and backsplash. One of these I have no clue about and would love some suggestions.


From the get-go I had an idea in mind for the countertop, and I kept going back to it. White. White. White. One of my main goals for this kitchen is to keep it bright and light since the space is small. I thought white countertops would help in this regard. I want to paint the walls white (or really light grey like the rest of the main floor), and thought if this continued on the countertops the space would flow nicely. I am not very knowledgeable on countertop materials, so I started at a kitchen/bath design store and went through samples of granite, marble and man-made stones like Corian, Silestone and Caesarstone. They had a kitchen in their showroom that had the most gorgeous white countertop I had ever seen, and it turned out to be Zodiaq quartz by Dupont. I asked for a quote, and a couple days later the salesperson called and asked if I was sitting down - never a good sign. $4200. WHOA. I then asked for a quote for Corian (turns out it's about as pricey since it's made of mostly petroleum) and honed granite, and they were both a little steep (the Corian was about the same as the quartz, and the granite a bit cheaper). I quickly learned going to a kitchen and bath store is not ideal for selecting a countertop. I went across the street to a granite shop and got a quote about $2000 lower, so going directly to the supplier is obviously a wise choice. But no one makes a white granite, or at least one that is mostly white. I went to Planet Granite a few days ago desperate to finally find something, and I found EXACTLY what I wanted:



It's quartz, Specchio white by Hanstone. I was helped at the shop by Sue, who was an absolute pleasure, and she even went to the back and got the cutter to scrounge up a chunk for me to take home and photograph. Best part is the price. $2400. Not only is the price great but for that price they're doing a double edge of 3/4" slabs, so it will be 1.5" thick (that includes installation and cutting holes for the sink and faucet). I love a thick countertop. And she's charging me for the price of the 3/4". :) I also asked for a really squared edge, not the typical pencil edge they do. I am so stoked to see what it looks like finished. It seems to be a pretty durable material, as I will have cats jumping on and off of it so it was important that it withstand claws. Greentea had sent me a sample piece from a cabinet in the stain I chose so I brought it with me and I think it's going to look awesome.

Now for the sink. I also had an idea from the start about what type of sink I wanted. It had to have squared edges for a more modern look. Turns out those sinks are quite a bit more expensive. I wanted it undermount, and I figured since I'll have no dishwasher that I should get a double bowl. I ended up with a single bowl, but a REALLY large one. And as far as sinks go, it's awfully pretty.



It's by Barazza, is 70cm x 40cm and 20cm deep, and ended up costing about $930. I love that it's deep and wide so I can pile it with dirty dishes. :)

The last thing I purchased was the faucet, and at this point I was more than mildly concerned about my finances. I had always wanted a restaurant style faucet, but it seems they are just nice to look at instead of functional. I ended up at Boone Plumbing thanks to a tip from my boss, and yet another great salesperson (Sebastien) helped me out. I didn't have much criteria for a faucet, except I like the one-handle models, preferred brushed stainless to chrome, and thought a pull-down spout would be handy. I decided on this one:



It's by Moen, and was priced at $375. When Sebastien was putting the order in, I asked him if it would be on Moen's website so I can get a photo of it (I'm still waiting for it to arrive), since I had to post it on the blog. When he heard my story about the kitchen blog he said he would give me a discount, and only charged me $310. Gotta love that.

Last thing is the backsplash. And this is where I have NO CLUE. It would be a small area, below the uppers on the new fridge wall. Actually, I have no idea if I should even do a backsplash. I think it would be a good idea since that area is visible as soon as you walk in the front door. I just haven't had much time to give it any thought. I figured I would ask you guys for suggestions since I really have no idea on style, colour...anything. With the hectic state of things here, any help would be very much appreciated.

Appliances

This blog chronicles my entire kitchen renovation from start to finish. Greentea Design has provided me with their solid wood kitchen cabinets, and I'm taking care of the rest.

If you'd like to be brought up to date, check out the archive in the sidebar for previous posts. I started talking about some of the fun purchases that goes along with a kitchen renovation in my last post....now it's time for appliances.


My selection of appliances follows a common look and feel with my lighting choices. It’s all about a sleek and industrial look, in stainless steel. And frankly, anything would be better than the appliances that came with the house. The current fridge is a full fridge, with no freezer. ???? The freezer is a large chest freezer located in the basement. I used to have a small and very cheap hood fan (that someone had spray painted white), but it was rusty and dirty and installed too low so I threw it out a couple months after moving in.

When I started thinking about appliances, I knew I had to go with stainless steel. Now, sometimes I think stainless appliances are over-rated, with fingerprints and dents showing up so much more than on black or white ones, but these days they come in brushed stainless, which tends to masks prints. So I’ve slowly grown to love them. Had I redone my kitchen with white cabinets like I had initially planned before this partnership with Greentea began, I may have been tempted to go with white appliances. I like the look of them blended in with the cabinets. But since my cabinets are sort of a teak coloured wood, and I want to keep the space as bright as possible, I decided to go with stainless. Black would have been way too dark, and white I think would have stood out too much against the cabinets. Plus, I really like how the stainless looks in the Chalet Chic kitchen on Greentea’s site.


I really love the pairing of the Asian style and colour of the cabinets (almost rustic looking) with the sleek look of stainless appliances. I think it’s a nice juxtaposition. (The fridge above is a Liebherr that I saw in a showroom...and sadly it was pricey).

My requirements for appliances were not too complicated. For a stove I wanted a one-piece range with oven. Jo and I had conversations about this – how in Australia most people go with a cooktop and separate oven. Here for some reason you don’t see that too often. I like the look of them separate but I figured it was easier to plan for a range/oven all-in-one. I thought about trying out a gas range. My house heats with gas, so I at least had the basics. Since I have some semi-serious work being done with a window being switched out and a door being sealed up, I figured hooking up a gas range shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. I also really didn’t want a stove with buttons located on the back panel – I much prefer the look of a slide-in range where the buttons are at the front and there is no back panel.

For the fridge, it needed to be no wider than 34”. The narrower the fridge, the less space it would take up in the entrance to my office. I REALLY wanted a bottom freezer. I am in the fridge WAY more than the freezer so I prefer it below the fridge. I also thought it might be a good idea to try a French door style, since my kitchen is so small. That way when I open the fridge doors, they don’t swing out so wide. I also didn’t want a fridge that was very deep, since the fridge would be at the end of the cabinets. The deeper the fridge, the more it would stick out into the space and make the office entrance less open.

I love big range hoods, so I decided to make it a focal point on the stove wall - another reason for my lack of upper cabinets on that wall. I didn’t really have any requirements, besides it being stainless, 30” wide and it had to look cool.

So I began my hunt for appliances at some large appliance stores – Sears Home Store and Corbeil Appliances. My younger sister bought all her appliances at Sears and said they had the best prices, but I wasn’t impressed with their selection. I was buying my sink one day and someone mentioned Universal Appliances, on Bank Street. I ended up purchasing everything I needed there. The salesguy (Tyler – figured I should plug him since he was awesome) was so easy to talk to, very helpful and totally not pushy. They carry some higher end brands such as Wolf, Viking, Miele, Bertazzoni, Liebherr...all of which had incredible but very expensive appliances on display.

The fridge I selected caught my eye because of it’s sleek look – the model I chose has a totally flat front. It’s by Fisher & Paykel, a New Zealand-based company.


Buying this fridge was a total no-brainer. It has so many things going for it. It’s counter-deep (27") - the only brand that offered a counter-deep fridge in the width I required (the french door version was too wide). I chose one with a water dispenser in the door because I don’t drink nearly enough water. And the dispenser is great – it’s almost completely flush with the fa├žade of the door, AND it takes up no space on the inside of the door for the mechanics. I noticed many fridges had a lot of wasted space in the doors due to the dispenser. Another feature that had me sold was the fact that the sides of the fridge were in a silvery-grey finish, not black like a lot of the others. Since the entire left side of the fridge will be exposed, the grey will look so much better. It’s about 31” wide, and 17.6 cu. ft. That seemed a bit small to me but Tyler showed me that the shelves inside the fridge are thin glass instead of bulky plastic (see above). So you actually get more space than a typical 17.6 cu. ft. fridge. It is also apparently energy saving - 535 kWh/yr. (Is that good?) The fridge price = $1700.

Next, the stove. I saw some I really liked, by Kitchenaid and GE Profile, but then I saw a DCS professional gas range by Fisher & Paykel and nearly lost my mind.


I LOVE the industrial look of it, and how simple it is (the buttons on mine will be all black). Tyler went over it’s features, and why it beats the other ranges I was looking at by a mile in how it cooks. (It's fully gas, oven included). But as good as that all sounded, I was really hung up on how cool it looked. But it was $3000. Then I realized it was only about $500 more than the others I liked. I decided to go for it – at least I could take it too with me when I sell the house. And let me tell you, my mother is SO jealous. The store setup had it with a stainless backsplash with a bar that had 2 handy shelves attached – turned out it was $542 so I think I’m going to try and get one made. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll buy the one at the store. I had wanted a piece of stainless as the stove backsplash anyhow – this one would be the same depth as the little lip on the back of the stove, which looked great when it joined with the range hood. Here is the setup at the store:


Speaking of range hoods, I pretty much just selected one of the cheapest and simplest ones they carried. It’s the Valencia, by AirKing, was $686, and will need to be vented outside.


I also desperately needed a new microwave since I’ve had mine since college and it has turned from white to yellow over the years. I wanted the smallest stainless one I could find, and chose a Panasonic for $150. I’ll probably put it on the counter in the corner next to the fridge or wherever it may be the least noticeable.

So that's the deal with the appliances. Next up will be the sink, faucet, countertop and backsplash. Some of which I at this point have no clue about. Some assistance may be required. :)

Thursday

Lighting

This blog chronicles my entire kitchen renovation from start to finish. Greentea Design has provided me with their solid wood kitchen cabinets, and I'm taking care of the rest.

If you'd like to be brought up to date, check out the archive in the sidebar for previous posts. I’ve described my cabinets in detail, so now I thought I’d start in on all the fun purchases that goes along with a kitchen renovation. These next few posts I will cover things like the appliances, sink, faucet, countertop, backsplash and lighting.


I thought I’d start with lighting, one of my favourite items to dress up a space. I have always been drawn to lamps and pendant lights, so when I was planning the lighting for the kitchen, I wanted to make it a focal point. But once I decided on making lighting a feature, I started to panic a bit. There aren’t many decent lighting stores in this city, but I did check out a few. I started looking online as well but got a bit concerned about some of the shipping prices. One online store was quoting 20% of the purchase for shipping and other related costs. This renovation is going to have me in debt as it is, and my house needs a TON of other work, so I have a really hard time spending my hard earned money on high shipping costs. So I really wanted to try and find items locally.

Since my kitchen will be long and narrow, I will need a long and narrow dining table to be placed down the center of it (I have no dining room). I made a pretty simple decision to hang pendants over it. My first thought was a Nelson bubble lamp. I’ve always wanted one. But I really like the look of the saucer lamp, and I think that one would work better over a round table. I started looking locally and found something at a large lighting store called Multi Luminaire:


I liked the industrial look of it and it was similar to ones I had considered ordering online. They had 2 sizes, one for $80 and one for $120, and I figured I would get maybe 3 to hang in a row over the table. But then one day a couple of weeks ago I went to get my hair done on Wellington Street and on my walk home I came by a store I had been in once or twice before. It’s called Crawford Alexander, and it’s run by “designs by 2”, the interior design firm of Luc Crawford and Jamie LeBlanc. They currently have a small showroom (but are expanding – YAY!!) that has some really gorgeous pillows, lamps and accessories on display. I had seen some really funky pendant lights last time I was in there and WHATDOYAKNOW!, they were on sale! They were initially priced at $326, then marked down to $240. Then everything in the store was 50% off the lowest price, and included tax, as they were trying to clear their inventory for new stock. So I ended up buying 3 of these pendants for a total of $360!!



When I sell the house, I can take them with me and put up something cheap, and these are so versatile I can use them in any room in my next home. The only thing is they are not hard-wired, so I’ll have to get my electrician to work some magic on them before they’re installed. I love their industrial look and think they will contrast nicely with the style and colour of the cabinets. I could have chosen Asian-inspired lighting, but I prefer to mix styles and not be so matchy-matchy. I think I’ll bring in Asian elements in accessories instead.

Next is possibly going to be my favourite thing in the new kitchen besides the cabinets. When I settled on the design of the kitchen, I had an idea about lighting that stuck in my head and would not go away. When I decided to forgo upper cabinets on the stove wall, I knew exactly what I wanted to do on either side of the stove. I LOVE the look of a swing-arm wall mounted light in a kitchen, and I have come across a few that we’ve posted or seen on other blogs:

RemodelistaButtrick Wong
Elle DecoIsabelle
Inspace LocationsBarbara Weiss

There is a swing-arm light I’ve always admired, up there with Nelson pendants, and that’s Artemide’s Tolomeo. I thought since it will be a focal point of the kitchen, it would be worth the splurge. And they too are very versatile, so they are for sure coming with me to my next house. I went looking online for suppliers, and found a Canadian online store that carries them, and they do not charge for shipping. But I found a local store, Marchand Electric, who carries Artemide products. I figured it might be better to order lights through them than online, that way I would have someone to curse at if something went wrong. When I went to order them at the store (I chose the smallest one, the “Micro”), the salesperson told me they’d be $550 each. I had a small panic attack, then told her that I had found them online for $368 each. She said they’d sell them to me at that price. So I ordered them and picked them up on Monday...and I cannot wait to see them installed! I’ll have to make sure when I chose where to have them installed that they won’t hit anyone in the head when standing at the counter. (Except when I removed one from the box I noticed it has a cord with a plug on the end, as shown in the photo - these are supposed to be wall mountable. Maybe I'm missing something here...)


There will be some other lighting around the kitchen as well. The hood fan has a light of course that will illuminate the stove, and I want under-cabinet lights for the section of uppers by the fridge. That is really important because I think that section of cabinets is where I’ll be doing the majority of the prep work when I’m cooking. I also want potlights installed along the cabinet areas. Although I am not really sure how well they will light up areas so I don’t know how many I will need and where they should go. I will check with the electrician, but if you guys have any suggestions, about the potlights or any other lighting, I would love to hear it.

It seems I should be mentionning the eco-friendliness of my kitchen. In terms of the lighting, I always use those low energy compact fluorescent bulbs. And I hope to get the pendants on one switch with a dimmer, the potlights on another also with a dimmer, and the Tolomeos on another switch. This way I can have pretty decent control over the strength of the lights and only use the ones I need.

That’s about it for lighting. Next I think I’ll divulge the biggest expense so far in this renovation – the appliances. And wow, they don’t come cheap.