Painting. More painting. Baseboards. Dryer vent. New breakers. The one-chance, don’t-mess-it-up, IKEA-is-three-hours-away drilling of cabinet faces for handles. (Not pictured: Major garage clean out. Debris sort and load. DIY installation of custom countertop supports. Scrubbing. I don’t even know what else.)
We can’t mount our range hood or open shelving until we’ve chosen and installed our backsplash tile. Assuming we’re doing tile. We’re doing tile. Aren’t we? Are we?
Should we just put up a stainless backsplash behind the stove, caulk the back edge of the countertop, and call it good?
Are we saying that because we’re tired?
That’s about how the breakfast conversation went today.
We’ve rounded up a few options from our friends at Home Depot. We’re going for white, because
we’re an indecisive Libra/Gemini couple that’s afraid of color commitment it’s timeless and adaptable, and matches our cabinet faces. I’d like to bring in some curves and shapes, since everything else in the room has straight, modern lines. The spouse has always imagined subway tile. Penny tile seems to be the middle ground, and comes in 12×12″ mesh sheets for easy install. (If we DIY. Which is a serious debate at the mo’.)
Or, for real–should we just go for the stainless panel behind the stove and move on?
Votes? Speak to me, good people.
1. Merola cobble subway tile (1×2″ inch mini)
2. Lantern tile in matte white
3. Merola Cosmo penny tile
4. Basic Merola Palace tile
5. Basic white subway tile (3×6″)
I’m starting to bite my nails. (Well, I always bite my nails, but I’m biting with more … assertion, these days.) We are three weeks out, people! The spouse is a true hero — several late nights this week, just him and the IKEA manuals, power tools and a whole lot of Rage Against the Machine.
The contractors cleared out today — gigantic pile of tools and equipment, and a whole ton of dust and debris, GONE. They did a great job, but we’re ready to claim our space and all of the remaining projects that come with it. Before they drove away, I made them carry our orphaned toilet out of the kid’s future bedroom and scrub off a crazy, thick layer of splattered wall texture goo. We need to reuse that toilet, fellas. It’s the little things.
I thought I might hold back these progress photos, but you guys. I’m starting to get excited. Look at these before-and-afters. Oh, heck yes:
The angle on these above shots isn’t identical (I was able to stand inside the new refrigerator nook to take the second one — more on that below). But, you can see that we gained a ton of space by pushing the peninsula out into the dining area. Also — notice how the sink used to be bizarrely off-center from the window? No way. That could not stand, man. It made my weird spatial-alignment sensitivities go haywire. Fixed.
I haven’t yet mentioned the pantry. It was much worse than this before photo leads you to believe — cracked and broken accordion doors, screwy shelving. It did offer a lot of storage, but it also offered a great place to relocate the fridge. This means significantly increased counter, cabinet, and butt space. We think the upgraded cabinet solutions will make up for the loss of shelving, and we did retain a smaller pantry (on the left, bottom photo — it still needs shelves):
And then. AND THEN! There’s this:
Can I get an amen?
In the spirit of celebration and back-patting, I will not list all of the things we still have to do before move-in day. Instead, here’s the (almost certainly incomplete and in no way representative of actual effort) checklist of everything accomplished to reach this stage of the kitchen reno:
- Ripped out cabinetry, appliances, and soffits
- Ripped out carpet and Pergo
- Tore out and reconfigured pantry space to relocate fridge (we lost some bedroom closet space, but restored it by framing out an extra several inches into the bedroom)
- Traced circuits, relocated various outlets and switches, installed can lights, added electrical to the fridge space, added a 240-volt circuit for the oven
- Rerouted plumbing in order to center the sink under the window; plumbed the fridge space
- Extensively repaired drywall, taped, mudded, patched, and textured
- Skim coated the ceiling to cover up the popcorn (especially necessary since the kitchen didn’t have a popcorn texture, and without the soffits and upper cabinets the division in the ceiling line was gone)
- Chose paint. Chose a different paint. Polled the family and chose yet a third color. Painted.
- Chose the wood flooring. Chose again. And again. Entered a long period of doubt and indecision. Bought wood flooring. Installed wood flooring. Mourned our choice. Started to grow fond of it.
- Designed an IKEA kitchen, sent the spouse by plane to Portland, where he rented a truck and did the heroic IKEA thing to bring back a pile of flatpack.
- Built lower cabinet boxes, including a custom corner unit.
How’s that for a progress report? [knucks]
Bend, Oregon has a thing for cardamom.
And, the Ocean Roll from The Sparrow Bakery. Crunchy nubs of cardamom are swaddled inside the buttery pastry spiral, the whole thing studded with vanilla bean sugar. Good morning to me.
I have no clever metaphor to connect delicious, local baked goods with today’s decisive moment. But it was helpful to have something spicy-sweet in my maw while I gave the final nod on our kitchen swatches.
That’s the glossy white IKEA cabinet surface, Sherwin Williams Pure White paint (it’s warmer than it looks here), and laminate countertop in a creamy tan with vintage-y hatchmark pattern. (I was pining for quartz countertops, have grieved properly over the inaccessible expense, and am moving on. But don’t talk to me about undermount sinks right now.)
Yeah, yeah. I have a Pinterest board or two on this kitchen situation. Over there, you can get a better view of the big vision — open shelves, white, wood, and stainless. What is, apparently, an “organic-modern” look. I’m feeling pretty good about it. Bright and warm. Clean and earthy. Spare and comfortable.
Our IKEA Abstrakt cabinets will be loaded onto a truck in approximately 48 hours. Allen wrenches, assemble.