Drum roll please….
The last update I gave on the kitchen was shortly after the backplash was put in. At that point, the kitchen looked like this:
Our appliances were in, but they didn’t all work yet and we had no faucet or plumbing. The lights were installed the day after the tile. The window sill is still missing in the back.
As of three weeks ago, we were moved back in and functioning, but still getting construction dust. As of last Thursday, the city inspector came for the final inspection…and he will be back after we had to sign a form promising that our water fixtures are low flow. Ah, California.
We started planning the process in mid-November. We ordered cabinets 4 days before Christmas. Our kitchen was torn apart January 22. We moved our stuff back in March 20. We started cooking later that week. After that, a few odds and ends have had to be cleaned up (like the missing vent cover in the photo below or a non-functioning electrical outlet). And our final inspection was April 3. 4 months total, but two months out of commission.
So here we are, the before:
You can’t tell below, but we got a new door too. The opening was a door door, which is against local code.
And the after!
And with lights:
The kitchen is lighter, brighter and more airy! It is also much more functional. The contractor that we hired, Mark aka JMB Builders, did a really wonderful job. Here are our top favorite features.
1. We can hear each other when in the living room vs. the kitchen.
2. We bought an induction stove (but didn’t pay MSRP). And it is awesome. It now takes literally 2 minutes to boil a pot of water. It is like Formula 1 compared to Toyota Camry. This watched pot DOES boil and like crazy! It also stir fries, scrambles eggs and everything else in record time. Cooking a full dinner can be done in 20 minutes now.
3. Not cleaning teeny-tiny food items or spilled out of grouted tile is excellent.
4. Fitting everything into logically-laid-out cabinets is a far cry over shoveling our modern-day appliances into 1950s cupboards that don’t seem to make any sense.
5.Tilley has not figured out how to open the trash and it has been 3 weeks! As we now actually have a kitchen trash IN the kitchen (as opposed to the porch or the garage, where it was safe before), this alone has been worth the pain spent in the remodel phase. :D :D
6. Our oven fits stuff! Now we need to try thanksgiving again and this time, the bird will actually fit!
7. Having a non-corroded, pull-out faucet with a huge, deep sink is also convenient for doing dishes. The under-mount sink is a great invention!
8. We love having lights! The overhead lighting makes the whole area feel like a living space rather than a sleeping space or MAYBE a knitting or watching TV space. We can actually enjoy being awake at night here. The kitchen no longer feels like a school hallway either since the color of the LED lights is more natural.
9. We have a pull out pantry of sorts – that’s the tall cabinet next to the window. It just makes more sense to us to have one place that the food should be in (although the oil is above the stove).
10. The glass cabinet doors are great – no one has to ask where the glasses are anymore and you can see our dishes (thanks, Aunt Cherie!)
11. The new dishwasher is peaceful and effective. I’m wondering how long it will take our extremely hard water to form a bunch of rockage in it, but as of now, I’ve never seen such clean dishes.
12. Our cabinets have pull out drawers so we can can easily access appliances. This is much better than having everything sit out taking up precious countertop space.
13. Those tiles really look cool!
And, since I can’t do anything without second guessing, here are the couple very minor points that maybe I would do differently:
1. Opening a door handle can be done with 1 finger. A knob requires two fingers. This is annoying if you are in the middle of cooking and your hands are messy, but is not a show stopper.
2. The counter is shallower by 2 inches or so than the old tiled counter. Tilley can reach her little dog nose two inches deeper, which is a minor nuisance resolvable by pushing dishes back to the back of the counter space. I wish we had seen this coming and had them made just a liiiiittle bit deeper.
Not too bad for a major project though! And the middle of the road issues:
1. I’m still not passionate one way or the other about refrigerators, although the water dispenser and the storage space on this one is better than the old side-by-side one. We definitely weren’t using all of the freezer space and pre-made casseroles didn’t fit well in that version either.
2. I like that the microwave doesn’t take up counter space. We do use the microwave for re-heating things, but not really seriously enough that it warranted kicking the thing around all the time. I do confess that the microwave hood fan is a little less powerful than I expected – despite having been told this by multiple sources. This is probably because the induction stove is also more powerful than any other stove I’ve had. Even if we had know this, however, we still would’ve opted for the microwave hood. The kitchen space in our house is tight, no doubt about it, so maximizing and double-purposing spaces is very important.
I still haven’t posted on all of the specifics, especially appliance choices, the floors or the lighting, so those are yet to come. One more time, old vs. New, FTW: