The Kitchen Renovation/Design
Do you love to cook?
I LOVE to cook. I LOVE to bake fancy cakes. I LOVE to eat (which really explains it).
I have a LOT of kitchen stuff. Pots and pans, machines of all sorts, rolling pins and buckets of fondant, cookie cutters, crockpots, you name it. And I want more. It’s my sanctuary, second only to my master bathroom (which doesn’t even exist more than a stud outline at the moment.)
Working in my last kitchen, the tiny 10 x 11 micro-space, was brutal. LOOK AT THE PHOTOS! It was ugly, zero work space, and I used an 11” Ikea buffet as an island. A remnant from my single days. I couldn’t even roll out a pizza on that thing, let alone chop onions. **This is the photo from the listing when we purchased the home. These are NOT my roosters…
When we got the plans for the house done, we expanded the kitchen to double its size. More so because we took down some walls to enable a huge island. And there began my long fall into despair. A journey into a black hole filled with cookie cutter kitchens. A veritable plethora of choices and decisions I simply could not make. I just love too much.
At first, I wanted a white kitchen. More modern than the typical shaker style you see nowadays. Something more high gloss. And I had this fantasy of turning my backsplash into a long narrow window à la Giada De Laurentiis.
BUT, Darla’s office, bedroom and living room windows all faced that wall. And Darla was a very nosy neighbour. So that window I had dreamed of…you know…
Then I thought I wanted the cookie cutter kitchen. White shaker cabinets. Wood island. Blah blah blah. But that was it. It just seemed blah blah blah to me. I have done dozens of those kitchens. And I imagined walking into my house, and up the stairs from the foyer into my kitchen, and seeing zero character. And I, as you know, have a lot of character.
To top things off, I am a designer. It has to be PERFECT!!!
So I went back to pages I had torn out of magazines over the years. Before Houzz, and Pinterest etc. And they all looked the same. A story began to unfold.
My style, as eclectic as it may be, is very warm. I like cozy. I like utility in my work spaces. My favorite colours are black, and navy and linen. I am not gray. I am a lot white, but not stark white. My Moroccan mother’s roots make me feel a sense of belonging. My father’s love of wood, rubbed off on me. My husband loves camping in the woods. I love French food and bistro’s in Quebec City. And I super love the beach.
It had to represent all of that. And look awesome right from the front door.
Now what? Months of sleepless nights, that’s what. I went from French grays, back to white, to black, to mixing them all or just two, to wanting it all rustic wood to falling back to the modern white. I drove my husband crazy. Even with my pages of photos, my now updated Houzz and Pinterest accounts, and my more than 15 years of experience, I could not decide. When you are a designer, and you love everything, how do you pick just one?
So I started to do some serious research. Who was I? What did I like?
I called my sister. She told me she could not imagine me in a white kitchen. I called my best friend. She said the same thing. I called my other best friend. She laughed at me. I called a designer friend, she offered to help me with the design.
“You just aren’t a white kitchen person.” My sister said.
“You are more bistro. More French inspired. I don’t know. Just more, not, white.”
My husband feared the white. “We have twins. They are so little still. Your white kitchen will be gross in a week.”
I started paying more attention when we ate out. How does this place make me feel?
And then I remembered my days waitressing. In a rusting, brick-walled restaurant on King Street. I think I fell in love with cooking there. I mean really fell in love with it. I loved the chalkboards. The barstools. The personalities. The slow hours when the chef would teach me how to make brussel sprouts that don’t taste gross. The place where I learned to eat Pad Thai from the Queen Mother, and delicious pizza from our wood oven. And although I had always loved cooking, this place took me to a new level. And the vibe was exactly what I wanted to recreate. That, and a little, je ne sais quois!
The Final Design
I finally did it. I chose. And I chose black. YES BLACK! The opposite of white! Black cabinets around 40 feet of kitchen space. And a giant, 10 foot rustic wood island.
See below for my island in the making, at my carpenter’s place. He literally MADE every single door out of wood and moldings. He beat it up, sent me five stain samples, and did exactly what I wanted. It’s perfect. I almost cried when Gordon sent me this photo.
And the tiles. I wanted these hand-made Mexican tiles so badly that I literally spent days shopping appliances so I could get a deal and spend the extra budget on them. They were brutally expensive. (I’ll show you pics soon)
Half the boxes arrived smashed. But I managed to build the exact sized runner I needed out of the ones that survived. Good thing for minimum orders…
The handles? Six months. Six months, and just when I was about to give up, Amerock came out with a new line of champagne coloured hardware. Perfect with my champagne coloured faucets. Perfect with my bronze and antique gold sconces. Perfect.
The backsplash I had been eyeing for a year. The barstools are custom made by us, and it all fell into place. In a month or so, I will post the completed design. But meanwhile, here are all the bits!
I guess when I am with a client, the design process is so much easier because I get to interview them. They just tell me all about themselves and the design just appears. It’s really hard to interview yourself. Really super hard.
1. Black Kitchen Inspiration – Ikea 2. Custom kitchen island – Gordon Holmes 3. Historical Tile Backplash – Erthcoverings 4. Cabinet Hardware – Amerock 5. Countertop for Perimiter -Caesarstone 6. Countertop for Island – Fantasy Brown 7. Handscraped Oak Floors 8. Delta in Champagne Bronze 9. OC-17 Benjamin Moore 10. Ceiling Fixture – Wayfair 11. All 3 fabrics – Maxwell Fabrics 12. Barstool – Monaco Interiors
Thanks for reading part 5! The takeaway from today? Find yourself, or let your designer find you! #theresnoplacelikehome
Have a terrific day,
Next week…Den’s aren’t just for Lions.