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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Old Orchard Cottage Kitchen Reveal

Ikea farmhouse sink

The kitchen in Old Orchard Cottage had been last remodeled sometime in the mid to late '80s, judging by the style of the cabinetry and the canister track lighting. I lived in a New York City apartment in the '90s that had these exact cabinets.

Here are some before photos.

1980s kitchen

And it wasn't just the outdated look that bothered me. The cabinet boxes were not standing up to the damp sea-salt weather. They needed to be replaced, and I wanted a style that felt like it belonged to the era of our 1925 cottage.

1980s kitchen

Custom cabinetry was not in the budget for this modest summer-only home, so we went with Ikea Fagerland (natural wood) and painted the wood doors with Benjamin Moore Aura Antique White (its built-in primer saved us some steps.)

First, I met with Dan and walked him through my plan and gave him the design that I built using the Ikea Kitchen Planner. I've heard complaints about the tool in the GardenWeb forums, but I found it easy to use on a Mac. There is a trick to getting your cabinets placed correctly. (Hint: change the view to one-dimensional.) I do use a lot of similar apps in my day job, though.

Floorplan for a tiny cottage kitchen

As you can see, we weren't making a major change to the footprint. It's such a small kitchen that an L-shape is pretty much all you can do in terms of floor plan.

All those windows pretty much rule out wall cabinets. The most  important change I made was to relocate the sink from the corner, to make room for the Ikea farmhouse sink. I love that sink - it adds a lot of cottage charm, don't you think?

We wanted to squeeze a washer/dryer and a dishwasher into this layout, which the old kitchen did not have. That's going to be a real life-changer.

I was able to make room for them by sourcing a 24" beneath-the-counter combo washer/dryer and 18" dishwasher. I put the latter on the short end of the L. I made room for the washer dryer by switching out the 30" range for a drop-in cooktop - that gave us drawers. We rarely cook using an oven in summer, as we tend to grill outside - but I was able to fit a small convection oven above the refrigerator for the odd baking or broiling. It is located in a recess just outside the frame of the photo below, to the right of the small island. You can see it in the kitchen plan above.

Despite what we'd heard about wear and tear, we decided to go with butcher block countertops. We did not varnish them but treated them with many coats of mineral oil. By using wall cabinets, which are shallower, we were able to create a small island for prepping food.

Mary and I assembled the cabinets (our contractor let us know from the get-go that he didn't want any part of assembly). Mary and I are both very familiar with Ikea hieroglyphics at this point, having furnished our college apartment in it, so putting them together was a snap. It's a small kitchen with very few cabinets, so it only took about three hours, and that includes the interiors like the lazy susan in the blind corner - which I have to say was rather tricky at first.

While we were away during the week, Dan did the demo and moved lines and had the electrician and plumber in to do their parts. He installed the cabinets we had built, but left the doors and drawers off for us to assemble.

ikea wall shelves small island

I really liked the Aura paint for this project because it has a very matte finish. The color is a rosy cream as opposed to a yellow cream, which compliments the natural wood trim on the windows. After the first coat of paint dried, we scuffed them up in prep for a second coat and to our surprise we loved the distressed look. We liked it so much that we finished them up with a scuff in the final round before installation.

Finishing touches: I switched out the '80s canisters in the lighting track with small pendant lights. The new lights simply plugged right into the existing track, easy peasy. It's an inexpensive update that gives the kitchen a soft, romantic glow. 

farmhouse table with bench
Farmhouse Table from White Flower Farmhouse, Peconic

We had a long farmhouse table and bench custom built for us at White Flower Farmhouse in Peconic - Lori Guyer is the proprietor and her prices are amazing for bespoke tables. They were handcrafted using reclaimed paneling from the Custer Observatory in Long Island. For other seating we were lucky enough to be handed down several Emeco chairs. I love the way the modern aluminum chairs look with the old wood table. To top it all off, we had Dan replace the old door and vinyl screen door with a view through door and wood-framed screen, bringing in even more light and greenery.

Being in this room is like living in a treehouse, with green surrounding us everywhere we look. And the birds. It is a real pleasure to cook in this cottage kitchen - and to eat in!


Cabinets & Doors - Ikea Fagerland (updated link to new Sektion line)
Sink - Ikea DOMSJÖ
Washer/Dryer - LG Combo Washer/Dyer (updated link to latest model)
Cooktop - Verona 24" White Cooktop - Convertible to Propane (updated link to latest model - white no longer available, sadly)
Oven - GE Profile Over-the-Range Oven with Avantium Technology installed over the fridge (updated link to latest model)
Dishwasher - GE Profile 18" Built-in Dishwasher (updated link to latest model)
Farmhouse Table and Bench - Custom, White Flower Farmhouse
Chairs - Emeco 1006 Navy Side Chair, DWR (inherited)