Saturday, October 12, 2013

Kitchen Complete

Well, it's been 3 months.  The kitchen renovation is officially complete.  This is not to say that there isn't still more that we would like to do (window coverings, range hood cover, hanging some artwork, running a gas line to the house and getting a gas stove for example), but we have completed what we had originally scoped, way back in June.

Without further ado, here are the before (~March) and afters (this morning).

Looking toward living room, kitchen to the right

Looking toward kitchen, door to porch on right

View of kitchen from the dining room, door to porch on right
From hall, looking through kitchen into dining

From end of kitchen (we took out the hall),  looking through to dining

Old fridge, on wall between kitchen and dining, now peninsula

Dining room from the kitchen, living room to the right (please ignore the trash in the corner).  Peninsula on left is where the old fridge used to be
Kitchen sink and window
Kitchen sink (same window) and new slider door to the porch on right, more peninsula

Old stove on wall between kitchen and powder room

Stove rotated to exterior wall, interior wall to hall removed

Wall between kitchen and living

Wall between the kitchen and living today

We've learned a lot through this renovation.  I think just about every contractor had to come back at some point to fix something or because we changed our minds about what we wanted.  I think that mostly comes with us wanting things done right, but this being our first kitchen, we weren't quite sure what right was.  When we are ready for phase 2 (the upstairs bathroom), we'll have all of the design decisions made (and purchased and delivered) before we start tearing things out.  A lot of our time was hurry up to wait time, for cabinets, for tile, for light fixtures.  I know there will still be surprises cause there always will be, but I'd like to have fewer non-workdays in the process.  

The other thing I would do is have the GC manage all of the subs.  We ended up hiring painters for the trim and the living room and hallway after we did the painting upstairs and learned that we just weren't very good at it.  But having us managing painters and countertops guy while the GC managed electricians and plumbers just led to headaches, and I don't think saved us any money in the end.  One maestro is what is needed.  

Finally, if we had the kitchen to design again, I think I'd choose more cabinets with pull out drawers.  We opted for drawers in general, because everything we read talked about how they're easier to use, since you can pull them out and actually see what's inside and because cabinet doors can knock into interior drawers when they're open.  But you lose a lot of volume for the framing for the drawers (i.e., the height of an object that can fit in a drawer is about an inch shorter than the actual face of the drawer).  We actually don't have a ton of under counter storage with stove, dishwasher, and trash all taking up a bunch, losing volume, particularly where we chose 4 drawer stacks has made it harder to find space for big pots.

Those lessons aside, I'm so in love with our kitchen and our little Walter (the house).  It's a pretty drastic transformation and the house really feels like ours.   

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