Last night I went to bed super stoked about sharing some in-progress updates on the kitchen, but then this morning I woke up to smart/depressingly true commentary on the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision as well as the news of another sexual harassment lawsuit out of the Silicon Valley which actually made me feel sick to my stomach due to its severity.
I am very lucky in that I have always been able to receive and afford birth control whenever I needed it, and never worked for a company that (overtly at least) tried to control my body. I’m also lucky that my own experiences with sexual harassment while working in tech companies in the Valley are reasonably tame. I will gladly take a VC not making eye contact, shaking my hand, or listening to a single word I say if it means no one is calling me a slut in front of my co-workers. But just because I have not experienced the worst of these things doesn’t mean I haven’t seen it, or known people who experienced it. I have friends who have walked through picket lines to get a pap smear at Planned Parenthood. I’ve had friends who put up with all sorts of gross, disgusting advances because they were too scared to quit their jobs.
Still. STILL. I expect better from the world in 2014. I’m not sure why. It’s not like the world, in situations like these, is trying all that hard to be better. Geez Louise, people, please pay attention and PLEASE VOTE. Sigh.
But let’s get on with the kitchen remodel, shall we? As I type, things are almost back to normal. We have a short list of things that need to be cleaned up, but I’m able to cook and clean and eat in the new space. I’m not gonna lie. It’s pretty glorious. Until late last week we were still living in limbo. Officially beaten down, we ate out for every meal but breakfast. And on the weekends, we ate out then as well. It wasn’t so much the cooking as the prepping and cleaning up. No matter how wide the bathroom vanity, it takes a toll on your soul to do the majority of your meal prep there.
A little over two weeks ago, the cabinets went in. We experienced this step with some trepidation. We had gotten used to the space being completely open – you know, with nothing in it – and had somehow convinced ourselves that the giant space was magically going to remain giant. Simply adding cabinets back immediately made the space feel claustrophobic. Was the island too big? Should we have left the old breakfast nook without cabinets?
Then they put in the butcher block countertops. That made the space feel a lot more real. I am especially fond of this window seat, which has mostly been co-opted by Mr. Toberson the cat. It was at this point that we realized the blues we were considering for the paint were all wrong, and instead we started poking around the green family. The color swatch here is a minty sage, which is an awesome contrast for the dark blue tiles. It was also at this time that we learned the built-in bookshelf, sort of seen here mid-left, was less than ideal. First, none of the shelves were tall enough for 50% of my cookbooks, and second, the faux-wood-like-product they used to build sagged beneath the weight of even 50% of my collection. The sagging has since been fixed with braces, but we’re stuck with the shelf height. (Note to would-be renovators, give better directions to your designer/contractor than “put a bookshelf there.”)
Once the countertops went in, other things started happening at a fairly quick pace. The tile backsplash/final electrical work/plumbing happened in roughly the same two-day period, though those two days were separated by some non-work days, as it typical in this sort of thing. The tile looks darker in this picture than it is, but it’s so sharp with that white grout. And I love the glass light fixture with cloth-covered wiring. It worked out exactly as I had hoped it would.
How could I forget to point out that we painted the windows white? So very, very many 12-paned windows. The redish stain (see above pic) took three coats plus touch-up to cover. It took me an entire day to do two coats on three windows, and my hand took a week to stop cramping from holding the brush. [insert comments about being old here] The white looks so good, though! It completely changed the space.
It was torture the day the range and double oven went in, because for several days they sat there taunting me with no gas or electricity. Both of these appliances are from IKEA, about which I have mixed feelings. Of course, in my wildest dreams, I would have all pro series Viking appliances. Each time we went into a store that carried the top-of-the-line products, I lovingly ran my hands along their surfaces. But let’s face it. We’re not made of money. And when you compare the Whirlpool-manufactured IKEA appliances to others in the same price range, there’s not a whole lot of difference. One day, maybe, I’ll be able to upgrade. These are great options for now.
Also. Double oven! I have wanted one of these for my entire adult life, and now I have it. I can hardly believe it’s mine! I will make pies and turkeys every single weekend to justify the space it takes up with Joel.
Claire’s favorite part of the remodel is the bar off the center island. She is lobbying hard for us to eat every single meal there.
From the hallway, you can get a much better sense of how everything is coming together. White cabinets, butcher block countertops, sage paint, blue-grey tiles, stainless appliances. The fabulous new Samsung refrigerator is still out of sight in the dining room, the dishwasher is still in the garage and the dining room wallpaper (WALLPAPER!) was still on order. But at this point it started to feel like a livable space again!