The New Kitchen

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When we started looking (or casually browsing) for a house we knew we wanted something that had not been renovated. I saw way too many kitchens that were either cheaply flipped or completely not my taste- I'm looking at you white pickled cabinets and also you bad wood veneer.

We fell in love with our little cottage because it hadn't been updated since the 1950s, with the exception of the roof, the electrical and all those important things. While a fifties kitchen can be charming, this kitchen in its current state is just not functional ( I mean there is no dishwasher!).

Main entrance and kitchen opening to the right

Kitchen/Dining room pass-through on the left

Yes, the fridge floats in the middle of the kitchen and there is a huge empty space beside it

Dining room with pass-through opening to kitchen on right
The kitchen is really, really small and the 'newer' appliances don't fit in with the pint sized cabinets. The kitchen is just a bit over 8 feet wide and because it's such a small enclosed room it feels really cramped. When Chad and I were touring the kitchen we both said under our breath 'kitchen gut'.

We had the chance to meet the woman who's owned the house for 40 years and she mentioned right away that we'd probably be wanting to take out the wall between the kitchen and dining room "like all the young people are doing now." Apparently the house on the other side has already taken the wall down and we're curious to see how theirs looks. 

The kitchen will be be the only space we're really renovating (at least for now). Eager to get started as soon as we move in, Chad started researching and I started pinning (see my kitchen pinterest board here if you're interested). Here were a few of my top inspirations:

Tommy Smythe's home via

via apartment therapy-Leela Cyd Ross

via Design Crisis

via Style at Home

via Sarah Richardson-Vintage Condo

via Lonny


via Erin Gates,

Graeme & Megan's house tour-Apartment Therapy

So I think it's pretty obvious I like the two-toned cabinet trend. I also like a sleek cabinet but with retro touches- Graeme & Megan's Apartment Therapy house tour really blends a mid-century modern home with a sleek modern kitchen. We knew we didn't have that much money to spend, so custom solid wood cabinets were immediately out. We are no strangers to the land of the Ikea showroom and we both liked the look of an Ikea kitchen. I wasn't sold on the quality until we found a few articles:

If it's good enough for a Style at Home featured interior designer then it's good enough for me. We then entered a phase I like to call 'Chad's going to murder me if I make him change another thing in the already temperamental Ikea kitchen planning program'. Ikea has this amazing little tool that lets you plan out your kitchen online, in the comfort of your own home. Since this is a computer program, it falls under the category of 'Chad's job'. It's not like someone in IT is going to let some "hack" use this alone. I think near the end Chad may have named a few saved design versions under the title of my name + swear words. 

Here is a little floor plan of the ground floor I did up so you can see the overall dimensions (although this is not in anyway to scale- this is from my memory. It should be fun later to contrast what I think the room measurements are with the actual ones).

We initially thought the space would be too narrow to have a galley kitchen and so we designed an L-shaped one. It was pretty difficult to fit all the appliances and cabinetry we wanted in. A few things we knew we wanted were a built in oven and microwave. I also realized that the dining room would be too small for my huge dining table and immediately thought to install a banquette as it's something I've always wanted. Once the wall was down between the kitchen and dining room we could use ikea upper cabinets to create a bench that would blend the two rooms together. I would then be able to have a cute little dining nook and use my vintage Saarein kitchen table and give my large industrial table to my parents. 

Here was the first incarnation of the kitchen:

You can see that cabinets 9, 10, 13 and 12 make up what would be a really long banquette. 

We would obviously take away the door behind the cabinet but had left that in there for reference. In this plan we would also leave the original door opening from the hallway and leave the two half walls in the dining room (in case you're wondering what those stand alone square blobs are). Removing them would require matching the original hard wood floors and that can get pricey. 

This incarnation had input from my whole family (sorry family) but we still weren't completely happy with the layout, especially with the end cabinet feeling so bulky. Then while browsing the actual Ikea showroom for the millionth time we saw a narrow but well designed kitchen that looked great. We measured it and was just over 8 feet wide. We also kindly asked the home owner if we could come and measure the kitchen before closing and found out it was actually 8 foot 3 inches. This made all the difference and we redid our plan to this version:

Closing off the hallway entrance to the kitchen as well as the exterior door allowed us to create a galley kitchen that not only fit everything we wanted but also felt like a more functional design. Despite what it looks like here, this room will be open to the dining room/living room and I'm planning to add either shelving or a wooden screen to the upper part of the half walls to turn it into a mid-century modern divider like this:

We went with the two-toned cabinets and thanks to the Ikea kitchen sale saved enough to be able to get the Quartz countertops that I wanted. We will tile the entire back wall, around the vent hood, in white subway tile and still have to pick out a floor tile. While I love a patterned tile I think budget restrictions will mean we go with a simple grey tile. Here is the side by side before and after floor plan:

Before                                                 After

Now that the kitchen is bought we just have to wait until we move to start the demo-my favourite part! Up next I'll show you my plans for the dining room and living room. I'm especially excited to find a place for my giant BINGO sign.

3 Response to The New Kitchen

July 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Great blog Sarah. Really helpful since Kim and I just purchased our first cottage on Lake Huron and will need a Reno our space is pretty limited and we have a budget but I like nice gadgets and things in the kitchen, so could get tricky, your blogs will come in handy! Miss you legends!

July 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
July 28, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Thanks Anthony,
So excited for you guys-plus there is nothing I love to hear more than that people I know own a cottage. I also love giving out decorating advice so let me know if I can help at all. P.S (I only provide advice while sitting on your dock and drinking)

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