Friday, April 1, 2016

Kitchen renovation before and after!

As we have all heard some swans start out as ugly ducklings.  A recent project I completed fits this fable very well! The house had it all; location, the right size, the right price (well almost), and loads of charm. It also was out-dated, worn and dirty, and kind of ugly.  This is where architects step in!
It always starts with a plan!? We decided right away to work within the tight existing kitchen footprint. This room is only about 8'-0" square but it is right in the heart of the city where space is at a premium.  The existing layout just didn't work though. The appliances were in the wrong locations and were over scaled for the space.  Why have an enormous suburban refrigerator with a mini, apartment sized stove in a house which can't sleep more than 1 or 2 people?
Before the awful fluorescent lighting only helped to show the kitchen at its worst. The oversized refrigerator barely fit within the dated cabinetry.
Realtors tried to 'spiff' up the kitchen with ugly tile, dirty looking stone countertops, and the cheapest non-performing appliances available but it may have only made the kitchen worse.
The kitchen was not up to code with a non-working fan instead of modern rangehood exhaust. The fan may have been ok years ago but with 11'-0" ceilings it was too far away to exhaust the stove while cooking.
We found a plan that worked. The appliances needed to blend into the very traditional Georgetown townhouse but offer the most modern of conveniences.
The existing space was completely gutted in order to move plumbing and gas lines as well as insulate the walls. A fresh start!
Look at the mess that the gut job left behind right down to the studs! Who said it took a lot of work to look beautiful? Well they were right!
The door was replaced with an insulated glass door which lets in more natural light but doesn't let in the cold breezes. The insulated walls too keep the space cool in summer and warm in winter.
 A gas range from Thermador was chosen after careful research and is flanked by cabinetry with furniture detailing.  An antique rug softens the room on top of Waterworks stone tile. Warm colored LED under-cabinet lighting helps to brighten the space along with an antique lantern found at my favorite source, Artisan lighting.
 As the space was small but unusually tall we took advantage of the available space by designing custom cabinetry in order to capture every square inch for storage! Had we chosen stock cabinetry the sizes would have been much smaller with lots of wasted filler strips.  My rule is always cabinets up to the ceiling! Who wants that dusty 'shelf' on top of cabinetry? ick
Handmade subway tile was selected for its' organic texture and walnut countertops give the new kitchen a butler's pantry feel.
The sink wall is very visible from the dining room so appliances were hidden behind paneling and the cabinets have glass fronts to display china and glassware.
The un-lacquered brass Waterworks fixtures match the hardware throughout the house and a pocket door enables the messy kitchen to be closed off from the dining room or keep cooking smells isolated. Bacon might taste good but it can really smoke out the house!

 Cabinet hardware is so important as it becomes the jewelry of the job.
I always find taking a great house and making it better through smart renovations can be so rewarding. I'm very proud of this job and hope you've enjoyed the tour through the renovation process!