Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Real-Life Kitchen: Before & After











I'm conflicted. Should I do my taxes or blog?  As a compromise, I've decided to post some before and after photos of a kitchen in one of our favorite homes. Since I know it and once loved it, I can share today's ideas quickly. Then, I can make Bob, our accountant, happy.  The house, a raised Queen Anne, was built in 1892. It survived the notorious 1900 storm that crashed into Galveston, taking some 6,000 lives. According to a family bible, this house -- once our house -- served as a refuge for 100 people during that horrific stormy night. The next day, the lady of the house baked 300 biscuits to serve her unexpected house guests. That 19th century kitchen was actually a separate entity from the actual house. So this space wasn't where the petite German lady did her baking that September morning.

Into the first part of the 21st century: The real estate ad advertised a gourmet kitchen. Hmmm  . . .  I don't think so. (The yellow and red colors were kinda fun, but it was a lost space, as you can see in the before shot.) The space, overall, was a nice size, though. We loved the house; it felt right. Good karma.  Soon after buying it--  and with masking tape in hand -- my husband and I began mapping out on the floor, wall and paper what we wanted. We knew we wanted an island and about 3 feet of space all around to ensure easy movement. Once we taped out our island, we placed the slide-in stove/oven (figuratively speaking, of course) where we wanted it, which was across from the sink. When opening the oven door, did it hit the cabinets (which we replaced with new)? Nope. With the island taped out on the floor, we could also see if the fridge door might hit it. All was good. We really thought about our kitchen and the island, itself. What details would make it highly usable? We wanted an eating bar, a spice rack, a space for the microwave, electrical plugs, and both shallow and deep pull-out drawers. I drew the island, making all these notations.  I wanted storage but didn't care to have a wall of cabinets. That's where the baker's table and dish rack come in.  Our carpenter did it all. We really thought about style, materials and the overall personality, history and style of the house. A real glitzy kitchen just wouldn't fit the personality of this home. 

Underneath the old, worn-out Linoleum we found 1930s hardwoods. Yeah. We kept the original overhead glass-front cabinets that flank the sink. These cabinets are the only things we kept. Everything in the before shots went. We designed a window seat with deep storage to eliminate an empty corner. As you will notice, I also asked our contractor to frame out the fridge space and to make it the same height as the doorway next to it. It looks more visually correct to me this way.

I was at the library one day when I noticed they were selling old 19th century roof shingles. I bought two for about $10 and took them to our contractor (who was actually renovating the whole house) and asked if he could place these on our backsplash. After a moment of thought, he said, "sure." I love bringing something unexpected into a space -- like the tiles, and the old teak ship flooring we hung above the window seat. (Luckily, the new owners bought that piece; it was bolted into the wall.)

We didn't spend a fortune on this kitchen. Under $25k. (yeah again!) My photo quality is lacking, but I think this kitchen does convey style. I think the new owners love it as much as we did!

9 Responses to “Real-Life Kitchen: Before & After”

Tootsie said...

this looks fantastic! It has personality! You did a great job...just wonderful....I may have to come and "borrow" a few ideas!
thanks for the visit to the garden posts....DRIFTS....well it is just a term to say planting in groups...instead of straight lines or single plants. Three marigolds...five marigolds...etc...in a group is called a drift...
did that make any sense?

Susan, Great kitchen. I love the old tiles and the fact that the whole re-do was in keeping with the style of the house. Thanks for a great post!

Stacey said...

Thank you so much for dropping by my blog a few weeks ago! My computer has been cranky about allowing me to comment on blogs, so sorry it took me so long to get back to you...

Ah, I am jealous about your LG fridge, I lusted after them, but alas, my historic house had just a wee narrow spot, which completely dictated my choices (plus a 30" antique front door). I will know better next time.

Colorado & Galveston -- two of my favorite places (I grew up in Galveston county). I don't think I want to go back "home" after what Ike did... hope your place survived okay. Many wonderful childhood memories of going through all of the old homes on the GHS spring tour - every Mother's Day!

You have a wonderful blog. I could just comment on each post! So many wonderful design pictures! WOW. I would love to post more design oriented material, but I have such limited time. I love houses & decorating & antiques - I'm a natural born house junkie. I'm making you a regular blog-stop. Thank for the inspiration!

Great redo-Why do people think Bright red and yellow won't look like McDonald's? your color changes were perfect!

Hudson Goods said...

simple, this is home.

Oh how I love this transformation. Wonderful design! Great job!

Kym said...

Beautiful transformation. Wow. What a gift.

niartist said...

Oh Susan, this is gorgeous - beautiful, and fresh, and oh so Galveston. That life of living on the water is so evident - I knew it was a beach side kitchen before I ever even read your prose. You know what I loved the most in the photo though (and really, leave it to me) was the interesting wooden grate (wall hanging) on the wall in the nook. Can you tell me more about that? I think I'm in love!

Dallas said...

Sweet ideas! Thanks for posting. When I was looking for new kitchen cabinets I went with these guys. Great prices and selection.

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