The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: Projects Page 1 of 55

The Ranch House Kitchen Reveal

Dear friends, welcome to our new kitchen!

IMG_7753

The before and after

After years of planning, months of hard work, and many, many microwavable meals, our kitchen renovation finally came to an end!

IMG_7767

IMG_7728

IMG_7711

We are very satisfied with the new kitchen. I’d say that it functions very well with our small family and life style.

IMG_7675

We made a decision to save the kitchen renovation for the last after renovating the rest of the house. And years of waiting was worth it. Knowing very well how we wanted the kitchen to look like and to function made designing the kitchen a smooth process.

IMG_7682

Before we get into the details of the finished kitchen, here is a reminder of the old one:

The cabinet wall

upload2

The sink/window wall

The living room wall:

And here is the new kitchen today:

IMG_7716

IMG_7719

IMG_7753

The open design and the center island:

The biggest design decision we made in this kitchen renovation is to open it up to the living room. We removed the dividing wall between the two rooms, and made the floor a seamless transition. Here is the view of the open kitchen from the living room:

IMG_7665

Personally, I prefer closed kitchen design for its practicality. But when it comes to our 850 sqft main floor space, opening up the kitchen is the best decision for this house. It is the only way we could accommodate a center island for the kitchen, which completely changed the way we use the space.

IMG_7762

One reason we wanted an island is to have some eat-in space in the kitchen. This house does not have a formal dining room, so we have been struggling to find a good layout in the living room to accommodate a dining table. With the overhangs on two sides of the island, we have plenty of space for eating daily meals.

IMG_7759

We can even get away with a couple close friends’ visit with the island seating. For larger parties and holiday dinners, we purchased a drop-leaf dining table, which can be folded into a console table when not in use. This combination really benefited the furniture placement in the adjacent living room. We now have room here for a big sofa Slav always wanted, and a decent size coffee table.

IMG_7680

The center island also offers lots of storage. We chose to have three back-to-back cabinets as the base of the island, and used two as pantry storage. We removed the old pantry closet shown below to make room for the refrigerator, so baking supplies and my instant noodle collections now live in the island.

IMG_7760

IMG_7761

Relocating the refrigerator:

Speaking of the old pantry closet, it used to face the front door and was the first thing you see when walking into our house.

IMG_7016

Here is the same angle now. We relocated the refrigerator here to face the kitchen. An end panel that matches the cabinets was installed here to hide the side of the fridge. A custom Chinese calligraphy proportional to the panel makes the design more intentional:

IMG_7673

Losing the hall closet space is not a light decision to make for this small ranch house. But relocating the fridge is far more important. Our old fridge stood between the two windows and protruded out into the room. Being able to incorporate it into the cabinet wall really helped to achieve a clean look for the kitchen.

The old fridge location:

The new one:

IMG_7687

We can now have a microwave nearby, making heating up leftovers really easy.

IMG_7771

The new fridge features a French door opening and deep freezer drawers. It also has a filtered water dispenser, which is hard to find for a 30″ wide model.

IMG_7792

IMG_7795

IMG_7793

Relocating the fridge also opened the possibility for us to relocate the stove. The old stove was centered on the now cabinet wall. With the sink and old fridge, the already-small counter space was broken into three small pieces. After moving away the stove, we were able to place a 90-inch continuous countertop and upper cabinets on this wall.

IMG_7769

This countertop is big enough for prepping meals on a daily basis. It also houses all the small appliances we use often. Thinking ahead of time we installed outlets behind where the small appliances would be, so I can hide all the wires from the plain view.

IMG_7701

The cabinet wall

I have talked about the cabinet design and installation before, now we have filled all the cabinets and drawers, I cannot believe how perfectly they all worked out.

IMG_7693

The cabinets surrounding the dishwasher store crockery and cutlery.

IMG_7796

And the middle upper cabinet is used for storing glassware and tea.

IMG_7694

Under the countertop we installed a trash pull out.

IMG_7697

And the corner cabinet has a lazy Susan for pot storage.

IMG_7746

 

IMG_7732

Above the corner is the only art we have for the kitchen. This is a tile featuring a castle in Slav’s hometown in Poland.

IMG_7749

I drew the color inspiration of the current kitchen from this frame, can you tell?

IMG_7748

The stove/window wall

Around the corner there is the window wall. Without the bulky fridge we were able to keep the top portion of the room open.

IMG_7753

We decided not to install any upper cabinets or shelves here. A range hood in the most minimal design was chosen to keep this wall as airy and open as possible.

IMG_7714

The gas stove and the range hood were centered between the windows. The whole wall was tiled to the ceiling as a backdrop.

IMG_7722

IMG_7709

We are fortunate to have enough room for a pair of spice cabinets surrounding the stove.

IMG_7733

Having spice cabinets next to the stove was highly recommended by our friends who have them and now we understand why! Four pullout shelves and the two top drawers house all the spice we need for cooking Western, Asian, and Polish cuisines. Now we no longer need to walk across the kitchen a hundred times a day to retrieve spices from the pantry closet.

IMG_7734

IMG_7735

Under one of the windows is the new sink! We opted for a single bay sink so we can accommodate the corner cabinet. The new sink is much smaller than the old one, but much deeper. I like that you cannot see dirty dishes in the sink from the living room now.

IMG_7724

I like the simple look of the disk faucet. The pull-out sprayer is long though to reach the left burners of the stove, so this sink faucet can almost double as a pot-filler.

IMG_7726

The new countertop

One of the best choice we made in the kitchen is our countertop. The quartz countertop is super durable, and we love its look.

IMG_7790

The simple edging profile and the rounded corners are also very cute. And the manufacture company even made matching window stools for us using trimmings from our slab.

IMG_7791

IMG_7720

IMG_7717

The biggest piece of countertop is on the center island, which quickly became the workhorse in the kitchen. It adds so much prep space, works as a wonderful baking surface, and doubles as our dining table.

IMG_7757

IMG_7745

IMG_7740

Under one side of the overhang there is Roxie’s food and water:

IMG_7756

And the cabinet facing the stove stores cooking utensils and pans:

IMG_7763

IMG_7764

IMG_7766

We have lived in this kitchen for over a month and honestly, I would not change a thing in this kitchen. Everything we have chosen for the new kitchen worked as well as we hoped. We spend most of our evenings here cooking, chatting, and nibbling around the island, while looking over to the big living space which will soon be furnished. I think Roxie’s smile speaks for us all!

IMG_7776

Summer Blooms + Nine Year Anniversary

IMG_7519

Time flies by fast. Suddenly we are at the end of July. Slav and I celebrated our nine-year wedding anniversary this week. And we have the bouquet from our summer garden for the special occasion.

The 2022 summer garden

IMG_7532

IMG_7495

IMG_7537

IMG_7497

IMG_7536

IMG_7530

IMG_7543

IMG_7498

IMG_7520

IMG_7506

IMG_7533

IMG_7534

IMG_7500

IMG_7504

IMG_7524

IMG_7511

IMG_7508

IMG_7510

IMG_7513

IMG_7644

IMG_7538

Happy summer!

 

Happy Five Year Anniversary, My Little Ranch

It just occurred to us that this weeks marks the five year anniversary since we moved into our little ranch! This is our first house and absolutely holds a soft spot in our hearts. It also holds our blood, sweat, and tears too – we have been renovating it room by room since the day we moved in.

Main floor – before

Ranch House - 5

Main floor – now

IMG_7483

IMG_7482

IMG_7488

Curb appeal – before

Ranch house - 1

IMG_7859

Curb appeal – now

IMG_7471

IMG_7469

Backyard – before

IMG_6261

IMG_6251

Backyard – now

IMG_2084

IMG_7472

We learned so much from renovating on this little ranch. Built in 1964 and with great bones, this house has been neglected for decades and maintained with duct tape. We did not just do a quick flip – we took our time to renovate room by room, spending money on high quality materials that are meant to last a long time. And we tried our best to increase the energy efficiency of the house during the renovation, such as replacing the roof, adding insulation, putting in new windows and better doors, and upgrading to new appliances and plumbing fixers. During the past 6 months, we finally got to renovate the last room inside of the house – the kitchen! In fact, Slav just installed the range hood which capped the kitchen renovation, just in time for our five year anniversary in the house. 🙂

IMG_7484

IMG_7478

IMG_7480

To celebrate the end of major renovations inside the house, we purchased our first leisure item – a hot tub! We have been testing it and so far, I love it! We are looking forward to relaxing more and spending more time outdoors this summer, instead of working on renovation projects all the time – starting from weekday hot tub nights!

But what will we be posting on the blog from now on? Do not worry, I will not be showing you fancy drinks and vacation photos. There are still so much we want to do inside and outside of the house. Just to finish the kitchen, we have door trims and baseboards to add, backdoors to refinish, and electrical to finish for the island. Slav still have to complete the air return ducting inside the island as well.

IMG_7474

Besides tightening loose ends in the kitchen, we will also work on furnishing the living room. We sold the sofa during kitchen renovation which was a placeholder to begin with, so now the entire living room is just a console table and a bookshelf – quite like when we first moved in, actually! Slav is on the mission of hunting down a comfortable sofa for his standard. It is a high bar to meet I promise you. And I am in search of a storage coffee table, some kind of book storage, and a comfortable chair for reading and sipping morning tea in. We are excited to decorate the main floor living space completely open to the new kitchen space. So stay tuned!

I did not have time to show you the garden this Spring, but I promise you that it was not ignored – I spent every weekend in April for garden cleanup, weeding, and mulching so the garden beds were all kept in great shape despite the chaos inside the house. I am happy to report that all the perennials we have planted in 2018 and 2019 leaped this year. They got so big and started blooming profusely. We harvested so many hellebore, irises, and peony blooms so far. And more blooms of summer perennials are underway.

IMG_7431

We certainly made lots of upgrade to the curb appeal of the house. But there are still things we can do to add comfort to our outdoor life. We gathered all material we need to pave the shed patio it will be flagstone and I am excited! And I would like to DIY some garden seating. We also would like to add a hot tub + deck in the backyard, where we can unwind with better privacy and in style.

28

We have talked about replacing the back fence, which has been failing slowly, post after post. We intentionally left it out when we replaced all the chain link fence in 2018 to save $$ and time. And now all the more critical renovations are done, upgrading the back fence starts to float higher and higher on our to-do list.

IMG_7421

Thinking long term, we want to add more Evergreen trees to the property, which means to reconfigure the garden space. Recently, we even contemplated the idea of converting entire front yard lawn to a Xeriscape garden, namely to eliminate all the remaining lawn grass in the front yard. Still thinking about it though! But all these can wait. this summer is about resting, playing, and enjoying the fruit of the labor in the nest we created. Cooking our own garden harvest in the new kitchen filled with our own cut flowers sounds like a dream but we have made it come true… Happy five year anniversary, my lovely little ranch!

Page 1 of 55

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén