So, Mr. M and I have decided on our first project for the house – the kitchen! Now, for the record, let me first state: I love our house. It was built in 1920, has a wonderfully wide front porch, sits on a corner lot with an old elm tree that provides plenty of shade in the summer, has the original clawfoot tub, transoms over all the bedroom doors, and lots of windows. It’s a dream to come home to everyday. Having said that, however, I also must state that the house is in serious need of updating. There’s plumbing issues, asbestos issues, heating and cooling issues, along with more aesthetic concerns, like wood paneling and curling linoleum. Oh, and did I mention that someone actually painted over the glass transoms? Luckily, we’re only the fourth owners since 1920 (the last family arrived in 1963), and so there is not that much to undo. It really is more restoration, but with some needed updating.
As you can see, our kitchen is in particular need of help. And we decided to start here, not only because we entertain a lot, but also because we don’t really have a good place for breakfast or simple meals. Though a challenging space, we think we can turn it around for a modest amount. One way we plan to manage costs is by keeping the current footprint. The only real movement will be extending an existing gas line to the stove. (I don’t do electric ranges.) Other changes include replacing some upper and lower cabinets with salvaged open shelves and a table (to the right of the fridge), and with a buffet and hutch that I picked up at auction and plan to refinish (along the wall with the stove). To help maintain a decent amount of work space, we plan on getting a 24″ four-burner stove and a counter height table (currently sitting in my father-in-law’s barn in Texas).
The remaining cabinets — those around the sink and over the fridge — will be refinished and painted. (They’re from a Baltimore company and were made in the 50’s; I simply must keep some of them even if not original to the house.) I’m really jonesing for Farrow and Ball’s “Cabbage White,” but I still I have to try out the samples, so we’ll see.
The Formica “wood” counter will also be replaced with real (hopefully salvaged) wood counter tops. We will also address the floor, but that will take a bit more investigation. Sadly, we believe the original pine floor is sitting underneath a layer of linoleum, with asbestos tile sandwiched in between the two. We would love to expose the original floors, but it’s too soon to tell if that’s an option. But we’ll definitely be removing the faux wood beams from the ceiling, improving the lighting, painting, updating the appliances, and handling a thousand other things that will come up. In the end, though, I’ll have a proper place to drink my coffee and show my vintage dishes!
Right now, we’re deciding on our implementation plan and deciding how much we want to do ourselves. This particular renovation project is on the small side, but we are planning on larger projects down the road, and would like to have a good team in place from the beginning. Of course, I’ll keep you posted on our progress. Wish us luck!