The kitchen reno {a very long post}

Every morning I make my espresso, fire up my laptop, and start my daily trolling of and add numerous pictures and clips and ideas to my kitchen reno/dining idea book. There’s only a year until we start this, and I am determined to make sure the choices I make I can live with for at least the next 5-8 years.

I finally convinced The Husband to agree to a kitchen renovation when we get home next summer. And when I say ‘agree’ I think I really just sent him enough links to things, and talked about it constantly, until I finally wore him down. Lesson: Perseverance pays off ladies!

It is also the prefect time to renovate. We will be in temporary housing for at least 6 weeks while all of our things are shipped from London to Seattle, so the house will be empty of furniture and people and whoever we hire can crack on and get to it. We won’t have to breathe in all the dust, fumes, & etc that comes from new countertops, painting cabinets, re-staining and installing hardwoods, and repainting of the kitchen and downstairs bathroom {which I would like to point out the 3/4 bathroom was painted dark brown – walls & ceiling – by the previous owners. I have much better sense than to do such a thing in a small space. I would’ve loved to leave a list for our tenants of the things I did not do to the house – such as questionable paint and weird stick-on wall stickers. We were only there one year before we moved to London. Painting the dining room and living room was as far as I managed to get.}

So anyway, kitchen renovations. This is what the kitchen looks like:


It’s not horrible by any means, but I always knew from the very first time we looked at the house, that the kitchen was very far from my dream kitchen. The countertops are dark green granite (which I do not fancy in the slightest), so I’ve thrown in any white furniture or accent I possibly can. The biggest thing the kitchen has going for it is that the size is wonderful. I actually have more storage than I know what to do with in this kitchen. It’s not a bad problem to have. The cabinet color is not my favorite. I loved the dark scheme kitchen in our first Seattle house:


The quality of the picture is rough, but it shows the dark wood cabinets and the countertops in Cambria Quartz Canterbury.


The house was what they call a spec house, meaning it was already under construction when we bought it so we didn’t get to choose the model, lot, or any of the finishes in the house. The house had tons of light so the dark finishes in the kitchen worked really well (and because of issues with the floors after we moved in, they were replaced, and we were able to choose a darker finish than what is pictured.)

The current Seattle house does not get good light in the back where the kitchen and living rooms are. Which is disappointing, but our yard backs up to protected wetlands and tall trees and (unless it’s the dead of winter and the trees are leafless) you don’t see the houses set back behind the wetlands. That is lovely and a benefit of being on a cul-de-sac, which is why despite the house needing a bit of cosmetic work and the kitchen not being exactly right, we bought it anyway. And other than our house in Union, KY (which I loved even though it had wasted space), this house is my favorite, even though its a craftsman style which means it has weird angles, and is somewhat fussy for my taste in certain places. {I am a big fan of modern homes as seen in my boards here and here.}

The original idea was to build a modern home, but plots of land within our school district that are also close to a downtown commute simply do not exist, so we bought a house in the next neighborhood over from our first one. Literally .9 miles.

I think I was originally writing about renovating a kitchen and I’ve gotten totally off track.

My favorite style is probably ‘beach’. I don’t mean seashells in a lamp or anything, but more along the lines of the light muted colors, and soft furnishings. These are the two rooms connected to the kitchen, the dining room just through the passthrough and the living room which is all open to the kitchen.



All the pictures on the walls are of beach scenes or similar colors. We also added the wood planks above the fireplace covering up the tv connections. Since the beach is my absolute favorite place to be, and I can’t live closer than 26 miles to it, using it as the theme in my home is as close as I can get. {proof living by the sea is good for your health}

The main sticking point in renovating the kitchen has to do with the island. While it is very large, and we love the seating area, the seating area is actually the problem. When someone is siting at the counter, it’s hard to access the refrigerator, which I am sure I’ve talked about before. Coming up with ideas that The Husband and I agree on isn’t easy. I’d like to remove the island, and make a peninsula with seating area next to the sliding doors (where we currently have a wine fridge). The Husband isn’t a fan, mostly I think because of the cost implications of doing that. The floor would need replacing, moving electrical, etc. I can see his point, truly.

But it would look good!

A few ideas I’ve seen on are good compromises. I had originally not been a fan of the rounded island end cap (it felt very 80’s to me), but some examples I’ve seen have actually peaked my interest, and it would solve the fridge/seating problem.


Observatory Park Contemporary Kitchen

Hadley Wood | Luxury Bespoke Kitchen


They are definitely good options. I also have an idea to put shelving where the current seating area is, and then put a table in the dining area of the kitchen. It’s not huge, we had a small table there for a few months before we moved, and I used it everyday. The main issue is the dining room table, which The Husband and I built for our previous house:


It’s not the kind of thing you just replace when it took you weeks of time and garage space to complete. I’d love to make it work, but I think it’s too big for the space {if I remember correctly we measured it to fit in the center of the space and it was awkward, but since it’s in storage thousands of miles away, I can’t recall how big the dimensions are, nor do I know the dimensions of the kitchen I’m trying to fit it into.} One idea I had was to put a bench on one side that would be almost flush to the wood/carpet line into the living room. Something that would look like this:

Rainey Homes The Retreat Model Home

I adore this entire setup. Colors, furniture, lamps, all of it. As a bonus, it would achieve my goal of having a proper eat in kitchen. I have always hated a separate dining room. It feels very out-dated for the way we live. It would be a lot easier as well if one person is at the table and the other is at the stove, then we are actually in the same room to be able to talk to each other without shouting. {other ideas here}
I have previously lobbied for putting hardwood all through the living room which would add continuity, and we could snick some space from the living room to make the eat-in kitchen work. Since we are replacing the original carpet in the dining room with hardwood anyway (in the rest of the house we had new carpet installed before we moved in, minus the living room which the previous owners had just replaced so we felt like it would be wasteful to just tear it out), and refinishing the rest of the hardwoods, it seems logical to me. The Husband does not like this idea unfortunately, but persevere I will. {every house we’ve sold, I’m always told how many compliments there are on the style/decor, so I have to think I *do* know something about interior design!}
We do agree on countertops, leaning towards recycled glass options for the main counters and butcher block for the island (I want a countertop that is not ice cold to the touch if we are using the island as a sitting area as well). I’m in love with this particular counter:
Old Oak
I also love Floating Blue from Vertrazzo. It’s eco friendly which I am all about incorporating into this remodel if we can, and in line price wise with other choices we are considering. Being eco-friendly is also the reason that I’d rather paint the cabinets than replace them (not to mention the cost). The cabinets are only 8 years old and in perfect condition, they just aren’t a color tone I like. I am a big fan of two tone cabinetry like these examples:


Steveston Townhouse
My Houzz: 5th Ave Apartment
What will we end up with? I have plenty of ideas, and hopefully some of them will become reality.
Then it’ll be on to the backyard, which is also getting an 2-stage overhaul starting next summer, to finish the summer after. This is the some of the current space:
Goodbye weird half fence that divides the yard, and wonky half circle patio. Onwards to a raised veggie/fruit garden bed, koi pond, rose bushes, and a fresh extended patio.
2017 is going to be a busy year. What do you have planned?

One thought on “The kitchen reno {a very long post}

  1. I love all the ideas and I know that whatever you work out will be lovely. I have plans of moving in 2017. I want out of the apartment and into a house. We’ll see where that adventure takes me


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