Dear friends, welcome to our new kitchen!
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!
We are very satisfied with the new kitchen. I’d say that it functions very well with our small family and life style.
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.
Before we get into the details of the finished kitchen, here is a reminder of the old one:
The cabinet wall
The sink/window wall
The living room wall:
And here is the new kitchen today:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
We can now have a microwave nearby, making heating up leftovers really easy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The cabinets surrounding the dishwasher store crockery and cutlery.
And the middle upper cabinet is used for storing glassware and tea.
Under the countertop we installed a trash pull out.
And the corner cabinet has a lazy Susan for pot storage.
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.
I drew the color inspiration of the current kitchen from this frame, can you tell?
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.
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.
The gas stove and the range hood were centered between the windows. The whole wall was tiled to the ceiling as a backdrop.
We are fortunate to have enough room for a pair of spice cabinets surrounding the stove.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Under one side of the overhang there is Roxie’s food and water:
And the cabinet facing the stove stores cooking utensils and pans:
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!