Nothing beats a good old before and after. Seeing homely Rachel Leigh Cook turn into hot Rachel Leigh Cook without a transition is just somehow way more gratifying then getting bogged down in the details of glasses removing and red dress wearing. Unfortunately this isn’t She’s All That. It’s more like She’s Coming Along. The kitchen that is. It’s less dramatic to be sure but lets not forget the importance of a montage sequence. I expect you all to be just as thrilled as Freddy Prinze was at the bottom of those stairs with our kitchen progress thus far.
In case you forgot when we were last in the kitchen it’s floors had been refinished and it was being prepped for painting. At this point it was a room that would theoretically hold a kitchen but was currently kitchenless.When we started the demo process Danny begun by tearing down the old wallpaper above the chair rail. This left us with two toned walls in a lovely combination of dirty pink and dirty beige. A color palette that left quite a bit to be desired. Despite the issues with the palette, we both liked the look and decided to keep the chair rail and to enhance it with color blocking. After getting rid of so many pre-war details in the kitchen, it was nice to hold on to this one.
We knew we wanted the apartment colors to be classic, versatile, and calming. So we went grayscale throughout the space, ranging from black to white and 3 shades of grey in between. We tried a variety of grays in the kitchen but ultimately chose the combination of Balboa Mist and Simply White (both Benjamin Moore) for the kitchen. The difference between these walls and these walls is pretty huge. Finally this room started to feel like something you could actually spend time in without fear of touching, well everything. Balboa Mist has a pinkish underbelly which provides warmth and shifts with the colors throughout the day. Simply White has a full fat milky tone, rather than the skim milk look of more modern cooler white. I love them both, and yes, no one can notice these subtleties except for me. That’s my super power.
With painting completed we scheduled our cabinet installation with a contractor that is well known to our building and could install all the cabinets as well as the appliances. His price was slightly higher than Traemand’s quote but using him meant that we just needed to work with one person to do the majority of the work in the kitchen. At this point we were beginning to experience bidding fatigue (noun: indifference and exhaustion towards engaging with multiple service people regarding obtaining quotes for services rendered due to an escalation in frequency and/or number of such appeals) and just wanted it done. Luckily our contractor (Kurt) ended up being awesome and totally hasn’t taken advantage of our “ILL JUST THROW MONEY AT THE PROBLEM I DONT CARE I JUST WANT A KITCHEN IM SO TIRED OF EATING THAI FOOD” attitude as we got more exhausted by the renovation process. Thanks a bunch Kurt!We got our IKEA delivery and I did my best to cross reference our purchase list with what we received. Shorthand? I failed and we needed to go to IKEA a couple more times to buy random parts that either weren’t delivered or we got the wrong version of. Apparently cross referencing 70 odd boxes of IKEA cabinets with 9 digit reference codes and a purchase list is not my strong suit. It’s okay, we all have flaws. Good news is with late night IKEA trips comes late night IKEA suppers. All this food for 32 dollars.
After a few tweaks regarding the installation process we had cabinets. All together it took Kurt about 2-3 days to do the installation of the cabinets. Kurt made sure the cabinets were level and used shims to compensate for our uneven walls and floors. The kitchen was starting to look like a kitchen.The materials felt solid and decidedly un-IKEA. The soft close function made us feel like rich people who could never again end a kitchen argument (my fav kind) by slamming the cabinet doors. I guess we’ll just have to figure out other ways to navigate our conflicts like, talking to each other and breaking wine glasses.While I was really happy with the materials and layout of the space I was concerned with the darkness. Without the countertops each cabinet looked kind of like a little black hole and I worried that this was too much black for such a small space. Have I mentioned that I tend to second guess myself? Luckily I had enough people around me saying TIINA IT LOOKS FINE YOU’RE A MONSTER to just let it be and see the project to completion. What was I really going to do? Attack the whole thing with paint at night? That’s crazy. Crazy crazy.
Don’t worry. I didn’t do it.
We waited for 4 weeks with the kitchen in this shape for the countertops to be fabricated. I googled “black cabinets with nobel grey caesarstone” more times than I’d like to admit in an attempt to self soothe. I distracted myself as best as possible and I kept eating thai food. Finally the counters were ready and we scheduled a day for installation.
There are pros and cons to being super detail oriented and obsessive. The cons are that your whole life basically feels like one stressful life threatening decision after another and that your brain is always entertaining some impending disaster. The pro is that you tend to know what you like. So when I saw the countertops installed there was no question- this kitchen was the sexy London bakery shop owner of my dreams.My concerns that the Nobel Grey would be too dark and drab? Unfounded. It went lighter than I had imagined (especially in photos) with our black cabinets, but still had enough weight and texture to hold it’s own. It had veining that felt natural and delicate but more forceful London Grey- without causing visual chaos in such a small space. Who would have guessed that countertops is such an improvement over no countertops? Frida promptly began rubbing herself all over the counters to mark her ownership. I was pretty jealous that I didn’t get to do the same. So the kitchen is almost a kitchen. It still needs running water and gas but it’s pretty easy to imagine it turning into a functioning space at this point. Now I just have to contend with THE DETAILS, namely hardware (you can see me testing out some bass above, but that’s just taped on), installing the vent hood, the backsplash, and the open shelving and rails, and last but not least switching out that damned light fixture. One decision at a time. We are getting there and it will happen. I can’t wait for the full reveal.