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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Brooklyn Garden Apartment: Kitchen Reveal

Photo, David Castillo, Blue Barn Pictures

The kitchen is finished!

It's the first time that I designed a kitchen myself, and I'm so happy with the finished product. I feel it's an elegant and timeless kitchen, with the glossy white European cabinets and black slate countertops and baksplash. I think when we look back 10 years from now, this kitchen will still be stunning and look current. I like that it's a masculine kitchen, don't you think so? We commonly hear that the kitchen sells women on a house, but I feel that's changing and these days men cook as much as women do. I like this is a kitchen men will love too.

Come, have a look.

The new layout takes full advantage of the vertical space. The tall frameless cabinets from the Kraftmaid Venicia line in Blanco Gloss have the high-end look of Siematic - at a third the cost. I love the simple chrome strip pulls. The glossy white of the cabinets recedes right into the stark walls and it is dramatically offset by use of the black honed slate for both backsplash and counter. That was an expensive splurge, but worth every penny.

The whole key to making this work in this narrow space is the layout. Locating the sink in the corner was key. It allowed me to put the tallest appliance, the refrigerator, in the one place that wouldn't block the line of sight.

The tall, skinny Liebherr, genuinely cabinet depth, takes up a true 24x24 footprint. And it is so well made - the doors close firmly, quietly, smoothly, like the boot on a Mercedes.

I will post all of the appliance details at the end. Can we take a moment to reflect upon the kitchen before?

Sorry about the graininess of this photo. Seems I was so eager to start the demolition that I neglected to take "before" photos before getting out the sledge hammer. This photo I was able to scan from the appraisal documents that the bank issued, but the quality is not the best.

So, the previous owner was an architect, and while I have to commend the heavy lifting that she did on the structure of this home - new floors, new walls, cutting down the back windows and installing french doors to the yard - there was really no kitchen to speak of. Just this ancient stove, a circa 1970s fridge, a dishwasher that did not drain properly, and one single plate rack to hold her dishes. (All I can think is, this lady must eat out a lot.)

My contractor Henry got down to the demo quickly.

As the appliance orders began to trickle in, Henry would hook each one up, so that I could live in some comfort while we waited for the cabinets and he gutted the bathroom. I kind of liked my quaint little set up.

It soon was time for the framing. And so began a very rough few weeks of my live-in reno, when the appliances went away and I had to set up a table in the bathroom with a coffee station and a washing up bowl. (There is a reason that experts advise not to live-in if you can help it - heed that advice if you are at all able to.)

Very soon the drywall went up and electrical and plumbing were roughed in, then things started to get exciting. As cabinets started going up, my dream began to materialize.

The "blue" is a protective film - the cabinets are white

Then we hit a snag. (There's always a snag - expect it.) Henry discovered that Home Depot had sent us the wrong size cabinet for the washer/dryer -  it was 3" too wide. And this meant the cabinet over it would fall short and look weird. 

Luckily, we had not been measured for the slate countertop and backsplash yet, so this was all solvable. I called Home Depot and reported the error. Even with a rush order, though, it was still a custom order and took several weeks to come in - the downside of using custom cabinets. (Getting Home Depot to pick up the wrong size cabinet and credit me took even longer - but that's another story for another time.)

It all turned out in the end.

Here's a photo of the finished kitchen right after the renovation - before I customized the interior of the drawer for cutlery (hence the counter top cutlery box) and before I went furniture shopping for a new table.

I found this Saarinan table on Craigslist for a steal. The tulip chairs are knock-offs.

Things I would Do Differently

I had never used a cooktop and base cabinet before. If I'd known how "shallow" the underpinnings of the gas cooktop would be, I'd have ordered a base with two small drawers and one deep drawer. I realize now that with a bit of clever sawing to accommodate the gas line, the top drawer would still be usable. It would have been great to have some shallow drawers for cutlery. Also, the vertical chrome pulls would have aligned with those on the sink base and that would have looked sharp, indeed.

In the end, I was able to build a cutlery drawer inside the deep top drawer, so all is well.


Cabinets: Kraftmaid Venizia, Blanco Gloss, door style Alta - Home Depot
Countertop and Backsplash: Honed Black Slate - Mondial
Liebherr 24" CS 1350 - Krups
LG Combo Washer/Dryer WM3431HS - Krups
Gaggenau 24" cooktop KG26023XCR- Krups
Miele Incognito 18" Dishwasher G818SCVI with stainless steel panel GFVI455/77- Krups
GE Profile Convection/Microwave JUM1790SK- Krups
Sink - Elkay Undermount Single Bowl, 10" deep - Home Depot
Faucet - American Standard Culinaire 4147.300.099 Single Handle Kitchen Faucet - Home Depot
Task Lighting - Home Depot
Pendant - Ikea
Sarinaan tulip table - Craigslist
Knockoff tulip chairs - Cite'
Runner - Chilewich 

Contractor: Henry Almeida, Henry Renovations, Kew Gardens
Floor Refinishing: Richard, USA Floors