My Old House Kitchen Reno – Before

The kitchen as it is now

The kitchen as it is now

The countdown continues. As many of you know there is a kitchen addition and renovation in our future. We are chomping at the bit – just waiting for the remaining three feet of snow to melt and the ground to warm up so that a bobcat can come into the yard and drill piles for our deck and addition.

I hate to think of the condition of the yard once that is done.After the piles are drilled and poured we will be digging down a foot and a half (by hand) and laying 4×8 foot sheets of foam insulation directly on the ground. This is apparently an age old technique for protecting foundations from frost heaving / damage – something that is very important in our part of the world.The contractor will then begin the demolition of the porch you can’t see and the little kitchen nook you see at the back on the photo at the left. This was a pantry at one time and the people who owned this home for 80 years created a space to do cooking and baking. (We added the other counters five years ago because there was nothing else in the kitchen) Unfortunately it was never insulated so during really cold months we have to remove everything liquid from the cupboards because the bottles and their contents will explode to bits.Kitchen nook

The only counter that existed in this entire kitchen is what you see on the second picture – it has a a tin counter top with a back splash that is higher than the window casing. The counters on the side where we have appliances are a mere 16 inches wide. There are sliding doors above and below and boy- are they noisy – not to mention they always fall out of their tracks. We still have the original flour and sugar bins that we use for plastic bags and dog food. We had to put our dog food in a plastic container rather than in the metal insert after we found bugs crawling through our dog’s food! The nice thing however is that we get to see exactly the hardware that was used so it makes it a breeze to choose new hardware (these have been battered about and there aren’t enough to do the new kitchen). It’s really quite amazing to have an authentic, complete 1912 kitchen – but it’s time we moved into the 21st century.We are in the process of choosing cupboards etc. I’d love to go with a glazed finish but our electrical quote came in at almost 2 and 1/2 times what we expected. It’s always about money. The door style will be plain, painted solid maple (seems a shame to hide beautiful maple with paint but it apparently has the best surface texture for painting). The counter top will be a solid surface product (Corian) that is as close to soapstone as can be. We have no dealers of authentic soapstone in this part of the country. Everything has to be shipped from Quebec – a long ways. Besides I wasn’t that crazy about the sample I saw of the real thing. And quite honestly I don’t want to have to treat my counter top like fine furniture. Any advice for me?

4 responses to “My Old House Kitchen Reno – Before

  1. That kitchen nook is just made for a set of benches and a tressle table but it’s just a bit too narrow. You are so lucky to have your old cabinets to use for inspiration.

    • Toni: Funny you should say that. No actually there’s just barely enough room for one person to stand there but our new kitchen will have benches and a table in a nook. I have always loved that look. We will have windows on two sides so that it doesn’t feel closed in – plus we can look out onto our yard as we sit there having our cup of java. There were some very good examples of nooks in the winter 2011 issue of “Arts and Crafts Homes” magazine. Yum!

  2. You’re probably pretty far along with kitchen plans but I would suggest you check out http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/kitchbath/
    Those people are amazing and can give you advice and ideas you might not think of by yourself. Not the $$$ every time, and you already know what you want for cabinets and counter but it’s still a very useful tool to get it right! I don’t suppose you plan to do this again any time soon. You can read everything but you must join to post. There is also http://finishedkitchens.blogspot.com/ If you don’t find some ideas there, you aren’t looking!

    I’m with you on the fine furniture counter tops. I chose Formica – again. But my kitchen makes me smile ear to ear every time I’m in it.

    Don’t underestimate how much light you would want. I went overboard but in hindsight, last December I felt like it was high noon all the time I was in there. Winter is so depressing and dark but all that light made a huge difference. I don’t know if you are putting in under cabinet lights but do check them out. I have plenty and I love all that light!

    • Toni – thanks for the info. I totally understand what you mean about having good light. My husband is determined to have a lot of light. We will have potlights (at least they are unobstrusive) around the perimeter of the room. We will have undercounter lighting, plus a suspended light above the counter that has a halophane shade. Halophane shades are shades that became popular over 100 years ago because they amplified the light due to the cutting of the glass. This is a recycled light from when I owned my antique store. We will also have another antique light over the nook / table. Several are on dimmers and they are organized so that we only have to turn on what we want – this will save energy and $$$.

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