Saturday, February 27, 2010

Our Kitchen!


elcome to our farmhouse kitchen! I'm so glad you could stop by!

If you'd like to see the before pictures you can go here.

I've got some nice warm gluten-free brownies for you (best recipe ever to be posted on my blog soon!), so come on in!

I think my beloved friend the antique farmhouse sink really steals the show... what do you think?

She is a 1920s sink that is 78" long, if you can believe that and those are her original legs too!
You can read more about how I "met" her on my first kitchen blog post here.

When we brought our sink home here and installed her I wondered if I would like washing dishes in such a shallow sink (6" deep!). It hasn't ended up being a problem at all. It is actually really handy for washing large pots. We do wash a lot of large pots here!

We do have two sinks in the kitchen which is really handy for a family our size (12 children). The farmhouse sink has ended up being the one where we wash the dishes. I think that is partially because the dishwashers (two!) are on either side of that sink.

Can't see them? They're hidden!

I am so happy with our cabinets! We found a local company (who sells nationwide) that sells at wholesale prices to local customers. British Traditions was fabulous to work with. I mean really fabulous! (Hi Kathy!) Kathy took the plans that we had drawn up and made them really sing. She translated them into a kitchen that has been and continues to be a total delight to work in. Not only that, but their prices totally beat anything else that I could find locally and I did considerable work getting competitive bids, etc. Kathy knew the budget that we were working with and came up with so many creative options to make it all work for us.

The only walls of cabinets that had to be custom made were the wall that the farmhouse sink is on and the wall that the cooktop is in. The center island and the peninsulas were actually all "islands" that British Traditions already makes, so they were much cheaper, comparatively, than custom.

I was able to choose from lots of color choices and lots and lots of distressing options. Actually an overwhelming amount of options. At first I was sure that I wanted all white cabinets. I am so happy with the color that I chose though. Really happy.

Here's a closeup of some of the distressing on one of the peninsulas. It's perfect for a large family like us... looks like we've already lived here for several years!

We also have two pull-out trash cans that are "hidden" behind cabinet doors. I really like those. Having two is so helpful... one in the cooking area and one in the clean-up area.

Did you notice my pot filler? This was an ebay purchase that I really, really like! This is a super way to fill large pots without having to carry them from the sink to the stove. I think I use it almost every day.

I actually found lots of things for our kitchen on ebay. The aforementioned pot filler, the double oven was a "scratch and dent" Fisher and Paykel oven that came with a manufacturers warranty. Even with shipping it was cheaper than anything I could find around here.

I also purchased the dishwashers (Asko) and the Fisher and Paykel cooktop too from ebay... same deal~ much cheaper than even the Sears outlet or sale prices here and they've done really well for us.

As I mentioned in my first post about our kitchen, we subcontracted some of the work out and we did some ourselves.

We subcontracted:
  • foundation digging
  • foundation pouring
  • framing in of the addition/installing windows
  • sheetrock/taping
  • roof
We did the following work:
  • collecting bids (this took a trememdous amount of time, but saved us so much money.
  • insulating the addition
  • painting
  • installing hardwood floors
  • installed granite tile countertops
  • installed subway tile
I am extra proud of the tile on the countertops and the subway tile behind the cooktop. Why? Because I did those jobs all by my little self! I can't tell you how intimidated I was by the saw that was necessary to cut the granite tile. Scary, scary saw, with a capital S!! Tom had to work the day that we needed to install the tile, so he got me started and I did it! Aren't you proud of me?

By the time we were ready to put countertops on, I was really needing to pinch pennies, so we opted for the granite tile. Do I like the granite tile? Ummmm, yes and no. For the cost ($1.37/sf) I really liked it. I like that we can set things hot from the oven directly on it. The only thing I don't like about it is that it isn't quite as easy to keep clean with the grout and all and it does tend to show smears, etc. pretty easily. But, I don't really have that much countertop that is tile, most is butcherblock (which I really like!), so all in all I'm happy with the countertops.

The butcherblock countertops actually "came with" the center island and the "penninsulas," so I decided to use them, not knowing how I would like them. Butcherblock is really, really nice! I have been very happy with how they have worked for us. I was a little concerned about the stainless steel sink (also an ebay purchase!) that was set into the butcherblock countertop. I worried about the inevetible water that would sit on the countertop there. I do wipe up the water any time I see splashes or drips there, but the wood has held up great and has not discolored at all. I did use mineral oil on the countertops initially, but they have not seemed to need any treatment at all since the time I did it initially.

Here's our "other sink." (yet another ebay purchase!) It is super-deep and I really love the stainless steel insert that is in the deeper part of the sink.

Hey there, Timmy! (my helper!)

A few other things I really like about our kitchen; these cool pull-out cabinets at the ends of each peninsula. These are a nice use of otherwise unused space.

Also this plate drawer that is to the left of the left dishwasher. It enables little guys to get their own plates and bowls and to help unload the dishwashers as well. This has been really useful.

At the far end of our new kitchen is my favorite spot to sit and relax in our home. This bay window/sitting area is so peaceful. My gardens are out back and we feed the birds just outside the bay windows in the winter.

I planned two doors exiting the kitchen~ one leads out onto our deck and back yard to the north and the other leads out toward my herb garden.

My plan was for that "herb garden door" to be the one that would be used when the children are muddy or dirty as it also leads down to my new laundry room. We decided to have a full basement under the kitchen so I could move my laundry area out there. Perhaps I can show that in another post.

Here's the door leading down to the laundry room and our nice south-facing window. I plan to have many more plants there in the future. I'm thinking of overwintering lots of herbs next year there.

Does my idea work, for containing the mud.... um, no. It usually ends up being the other door that is used.

Oh well, it sounded like a good idea! But hardwood floors are easy to mop up, so it's ok!

Now, you may wonder, what happened to the old, original kitchen? Well, we turned it into this really cool walk-in pantry!

Do you like my screen door? I think it is so cute on the pantry! The chalkboard to the left of the pantry is my place to write weekly menus (when I'm good enough to plan them ahead, that is! LOL!) I think I need some sort of painted sign above the pantry... just haven't decided what to put there yet. I'm also planning to put some framed family pictures to the left of the chalkboard. It's always a work in progress.

As you can see, we still need to sand and refinish the hardwood floors in the old kitchen...

Here's the other wall of the old kitchen.

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed your tour as much as I enjoyed having you over!

There are plenty of brownies, so help yourself to another one before you leave, ok?

Come again soon!


If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section of my blog (if you are reading this in a reader or on Facebook, you'll have to come to my blog) and I'll try to answer them in another post, ok?

** I am linking up with Metamorphosis Monday here!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kitchen tour, part 1

As promised, here is part one of our kitchen addition! I was just going to show you pictures of our kitchen, the way it is now, but as I looked back through our pictures I thought you might like to see some of what went into getting where we are now! Reminiscing made me really happy, especially happy that I am not in the midst of the addition right now!

Here's our kitchen, pre-addition. It was not a terrible kitchen, but we were very crowded in it. At the time all twelve children were still living at home and, it seemed, spending most of their time hanging out in the kitchen with me! I liked having everyone with me in there, but I constantly felt like I needed to "part the waters" of children when I walked anywhere. We did figure out how to bring an extra oven into the room and basically made the kitchen work, but it was really, really a squeeze.

When we decided to add on to the back of our house I began to collect ideas in a "kitchen planning notebook." We had hoped to begin construction in the fall of 2007, but for various reasons that did not happen. In hindsight I am really glad that it didn't happen then. I think I would have rushed into decisions that I hadn't done adequate research on. We ended up breaking ground in April of 2008, so I had all winter to collect ideas, get bids on work and compare prices on items that we would need.

We broke ground on April 1 of that spring... so exciting!

Then it promptly began to rain! Each time it rained, we had a muddy river running through my basement and laundry area. Yuck! We did finally get the foundation poured though~ so exciting to see some progress happening.

Here's what the back of our house looked like before we began the addition. This was back in the "goood ol' days", when I was still sane! Doing a large-scale remodel or addition with lots of little ones around is an incredible challenge. The boys were absolutely glued to the windows to watch all of the work being done. And when they weren't glued to the windows, they were sneaking out the door to play with nail guns and totter around gaping holes in the ground that had rebar sticking up out of them, etc. So much fun! I began to learn about praying that spring.

Here we have walls going up.... During this time we continued to have some pretty impressive spring storms~ tornadoes etc. I vividly remember wondering what would happen to that poor south wall which was left standing all by itself (braced of course by some 2x4s~ but still!) if a bad storm came up that night. It did storm and I did pray!

and more walls going up!

In the meantime, I was busy planning and researching kitchens. My good friend Justine suggested that I check out an old farmhouse sink that she had seen at a plumbing supply store. To my great delight I found our sink!

The picture is terrible, but what we found was a 1920s 78"long farmhouse sink with double drainboards and both original legs! Wow! It was in desperate need of a new coat of porcelain.

After an embarrassing amount of begging and general groveling I talked a local porcelain business into sandblasting my "baby" and putting a new coat of porcelain on it! Yay!

Here's one more "before" pic of the sink (and cute boys!).....

Things continued to progress...

We still hadn't taken the wall out between the old and new kitchen.

Man was that a mess when we took that wall out! Our house is an old 1930s farmhouse with lots of original plaster and lathe in the walls. Even with plastic over the doorways of my old kitchen, we had plaster and dust everywhere on the main floor of our house.

One thing that was really cool about our kitchen addition was that I was able to keep my old kitchen functioning until my new kitchen was ready to move out into. I don't know how we would have done it if I had totally lost the oven, sink, etc in our old kitchen.

Wait, what is that I see? Could it be children horsing around in the rafters? Surely not!

It really was fun for me to see the room with sheetrock up. For some reason that made it seem more "real" to me. Perhaps the end was in sight after all!

Once the sheetrock was all in place and taped, etc. we had lots of painting to do.

I chose a Sherwin Williams yellow, (banana cream # 6673 ) and I was certain that I had made a terrible mistake once I was done. It looked so.... well, yellow! I remember calling my mom and asking her to console me.... now I love the color!

We installed the hardwood floor. It was a prefinished solid oak floor that we got on sale at Home Depot. I have been really happy with how it has held up. I think the finish that they put on the boards in factory is much more durable than polyurethane that is available for homeowners who refinish their own floors.

And finally we had cabinets delivered!

I can't believe how long I've let this post get! Probably more information than anyone wanted, but I sure had fun reminiscing! So there you have April 1 to August 29, 2008.

Next up... the official kitchen tour/open house for you!