Tuesday, July 15, 2008

House Voyeur: Leah S.' Incredible Remodeled Kitchen

I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor after seeing photos of the newly remodeled kitchen in More Ways to Waste Time reader Leah S.' 1920s-era Colonial Revival home in Philadelphia. (Leah also has a great blog of her own called House Obsession.)

Leah's new kitchen is exactly how I'd like our own kitchen to look when we eventually re-do it: Perfectly balanced between a charming vintage look that honors and blends with the architecture of her older home, but with a fresh, modern outlook that gives it tons of energy and attitude. (Honestly, if I had a kitchen like this, I might actually cook something once in awhile.)

Here, Leah describes the process of taking her kitchen from atrocious to awesome:

"When I bought my house in March, the kitchen was a complete mess. One of the big reasons for buying this house was that there were so many design projects I could do myself -- I specifically did NOT want a house that had already been renovated by someone else. So I was excited to design my new kitchen from the ground up, and started work on it right after I moved in.

My original intent was to keep the old cabinets and paint them. But after lots of consideration, I decided they weren't going to be functional for me -- and therefore weren't worth keeping. (The top cabinets were only about 10 inches deep, and the drawers were small and shallow. Plus, they were absolutely DISGUSTING! I never even bothered unpacking any dishes or food because the cabinets were so gross.)

Over the years, I'd collected images of kitchens I liked, and after looking through them I realized there were a few commonalities: 1) White cabinetry 2) A mix of vintage and modern style 3) A feeling of openness and 4) Open shelving.

I hired a contractor to handle the major construction, but did all the painting and detail work myself. This photo was taken after our first day of demolition.

The hardest part of the process was gathering all the pieces of the puzzle and having them arrive in time. I bought my sink for $75 on craigslist, from a guy who had it sitting in his backyard. When the installers were putting the sink in, they didn't realize the drainboards were deeper in the center than on the sides. So they had to take the sink back off and grind down the marble to make it sit flush with the countertop. The other funny thing is that at least three different workers asked where my 'new' sink was. I had to keep explaining that this was my new sink! The Fado pendant lights are from IKEA.

It took almost two months to have a fully functioning kitchen again. In the interim, I set up my fridge in the living room and my microwave and coffeemaker in the dining room. I also ate a lot of takeout! Probably the hardest thing was not having a proper sink or dishwasher -- I had dirty dishes sitting in random places all around the house.

The thing I stressed over the most was the layout and details of the cabinetry. I definitely wanted white, but I didn't like the look of Thermofoil (which is the cheapest option and seems to be the predominant thing out there for people who like white kitchens). So after some digging, I learned that almost every cabinet style could be ordered in a white-painted version for a slight upcharge. I chose Lowe's Diamond cabinets in Wittenburg Maple, and finished them with Lansa drawer pulls and Exakt knobs from IKEA.

I also knew that I didn't want much top cabinetry, because I wanted to keep the kitchen really open. So I thought hard about the functionality of each component that I put in. The slide-in gas range and the SpeedClean dishwasher are both from Fridgidaire, the Luftig hood is from IKEA, and the refrigerator is Fisher & Paykel's EZKleen stainless model. I opted for classic white subway tile set in a running bond pattern, and white carrera marble countertops.

In the end, I did have to compromise a bit on how much open shelving I was able to install, because I realized I just didn't have the space. (I had originally dreamed of doing a whole wall of open shelves like this.) The stainless steel shelves and other storage components I used are from IKEA's Grundtal series.

But I LOVE the finished product, which is almost exactly how I'd pictured it. I didn't want my house to feel like it came from a specific time period, and I incorporated as much vintage as possible in the kitchen while still trying to keep it modern. I painted the walls with Lowe's Valspar Silver Leaf and the trim with Valspar Du Jour. The 'recipe wall' was done with Rust-oleum's chalkboard paint. I refinished the original pine floors with Medium sheen Waterlox tung oil.

Overall, I'm thrilled with my new kitchen and extremely glad to have my fridge out of the living room!"

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing space with us, Leah! This is totally going in my own inspiration file. (By the way, these gorgeous "after" kitchen photos are by Leah's boyfriend, photographer Nick Steever.)

P.S. Want to see more? Click here for a peek inside other readers' homes.

P.P.S. Stay tuned over the next several days, since I have two more
mindblowing House Voyeur tours in the works. I can't wait to share them with you!

26 comments:

Dylan said...

I especially like how all the shades of white interact--the intersection between the subway tile and the marble, the sink and the range hood, etc... Beautiful space! Thanks to both Leahs for sharing!

Katie said...

Wow wow wow! That kitchen is amazing. Anything like that is a long way off for me (don't even have a house of my own yet), but this is going on file under "awesome" and "inspiration".

I love those subway tiles more every time I see them.

Melody said...

I love that kitchen. Wow, what a transformation. Looks like a great space in which to be inspired to cook fabulous meals. I don't cook much but I would if I had that kitchen

Alexis said...

This is exactly what I would want my kitchen to look like if I didn't rent! I love the way that all of the new and vintage elements blend together.

corine said...

Those planks! Those canisters! That black board! My jaw's still on the floor.

mette / ungt blod said...

im so in love with these floors!! i want them! now!

Pigtown-Design said...

I love the recipe board! Very good job and seems like a quick rehab, too.

Sheva said...

Wow this is amazing. I love the recipe board. Actually i love the whole kitchen...
So i have 2 questions.
1. Where is that awesome kitchen table from?
2. How many cans of chalk board paint did that take, and it really works? I bought the magnetic spray paint and it really didn't work.

Being Brazen said...

I absolutely love this kitchen. This is my perfect kitchen...gorgeous!

Leah said...

Sheva: To answer your questions... I got the table off ebay back in 2000. At the time it was like none I'd ever seen before. Since that time though I've run across a couple of them here and there at flea markets and thrift shops. Keep looking...they're out there.

And regarding the chalkboard paint...yes it really works. I highly recommend Rust-oleum brand from Home Depot though because it has a nice blue undertone like an old slate chalkboard. It also writes well. The similar version from Lowes has an awful green undertone and doesn't write quite as nicely. You're probably going to want to do at least 2-3 coats of it to get it really nice looking. And it took me slightly more than one can for that whole wall.

And to everyone else, thanks so much!! I'm so glad everyone likes the kitchen!!!

Sugar Plum said...

Wow, that is so inspirational... there really is hope for any ugly kitchen! Amazing!!

Doodle Whore said...

Love, love, love it! You did an awesome job. It's so inspiring and makes me realize it's time to get off my ass and dive into some reno projects myself.

Uncle Beefy said...

Oh, Leah S....I am SO glad that you're finally done with the kitchen!!! My week is pretty open so whenever you wanna come over and start on mine...I can be flexible. ;)

Woman! When you get up the next morning after reading this comment, I want you to go to a full length mirror. Applaud yourself. Then take a bow. Uh-MAZING! Absolutely stellar outcome and cannot believe how you made so many IKEA pieces not read IKEA...y'know? Oh yeah, phenomenal!

Leah...thanks SO much for sharing! :)

Leah said...

Wow, thanks everyone!

Sarah said...

Wow, that is just beautiful! Isn't it amazing how the color white can just totally transform a room? And I love your vintage canisters! I think my mom had those long long ago. Would love to get my hands on some of those again.

Angela M. said...

Hi Leah -- Angela M. from Shelterrific here. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm wondering about the gorgeous wide-blank floor. Where is that from.. it looks like you only have it in the kitchen? I love how it looks old -- but in a really good way. Inspiring!

kayduh said...

I am about to start renovating my kitchen and I LOVE your cabinets! I can't find them on Lowes.com, do you have any more information on them?

Leah said...

Kayhuh, you'll have to go in store. They're not online...special order only.

Matt Jaworski said...

It took almost two months to have a fully functioning kitchen again. In the interim, I set up my fridge in the living room and my microwave and coffeemaker in the dining room. I also ate a lot of takeout! Probably the hardest thing was not having a proper sink or dishwasher -- I had dirty dishes sitting in random places all around the house.

noodle said...

What a beautiful kitchen… I love love love subway tiles!

jessica said...

what type of flooring did you use? I LOVE the color/texture! Great kitchen! :)

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Love it....it is SO fresh. I know you are happy to be in...3 months without a kitchen is not a happy place.:)

erin@designcrisis said...

I am totally drooling over your kitchen, and about to embark on my own renovation adventures. I have a question about your wood flooring: did you already have contiguous wood floors that you needed to match? We want to rip out our tile and put in wood to match our adjacent dining room, but a contractor told us it would be a money pit... so, just curious :)

an angel at my table said...

Absolutely beautiful kitchen. I love the retro feel!!!

Greetings from Sweden

adee kaye said...

it looks great

G Windholz said...

I noticed people keep asking about the flooring! I would love to know about them as well!! PLEASE!! Are they DIY? Or ordered? If ordered from where?? Would very much appreciate the info! And AWESOME kitchen!

 

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