Finally and all of a sudden, we are diving into our first home improvement project: updating the small but mighty kitchen in our new home here in SF. Finally because, when we first looked at the home, we had mixed feelings towards the kitchen, I (thought I) loved it as it was, Paul liked some elements but knew it needed work. I came around a few minutes after moving in, upon realizing that the countertops were irreversibly sticky and the submarine-sized hood was a certifiable concussion hazard, let alone waste of precious space. And after careful consideration we happily discovered that with a few updates, we would dramatically improve the kitchen without changing the overall flow and feel of the Pre-War house, the first floor of which is our comfy condo.
After landing on the right contractor and a few weeks of hammering out what exactly would be changed, selecting materials, appliances and delivery dates, our start date was set. At the beginning of the choices marathon (cabinet pulls – countertops) the date seemed pretty far down the road, and once decisions were made and we started to settle into other projects and exploration in our new city, October 1st felt permanently in the future. But by the very design of becoming busier in our new lives, the beginning of the project crept up and I found myself emptying the cabinets in preparation for some small demo work the very morning of the project’s first day. Do you agree that many projects present a ‘finally and suddenly’ duality? And that even if they can be a little stressful (because other to-dos must be reprioritized) it is always exciting to get started? I think I am most excited in this case because even just having begun the project today helps make our house feel more like our home.
Backing up for a moment, we have been having a great time in the current kitchen so far, and have had people over a number of times with no poisoned guests from the countertops (which are in fact reception-desk surfaces from an 80’s (at best) office building) and remarkably minimal drops and spills given the relatively small counter space. There is lovely natural light and the kitchen looks into a tiny but private courtyard. Adjacent to the kitchen proper is a small room housing a large pantry and enough space for a round table and four chairs. We call it the butler’s pantry because breakfast room isn’t quite right – I spend 90% of my time at home here due to the pretty light, proximity to the kitchen, and comfy cozy vibe. (That and, the room reminds me of a room in my parent’s house called the butler’s pantry, which I remember as a neat feature.) The set up is pictured below, before any of our furniture had arrived – the chairs were left behind! I am curious for ideas and inspiration – what room do in your house do you love the most?
For our intents and purposes here, I am calling this project The View from the Athlete’s Kitchen. I’ll mostly share Before and Afters, plus include a few fundamentals of kitchen projects and occasional design elements. I will be glad to hear any ideas or suggestions along the way!
Finally, with all of the above being said, I don’t think I can embark upon The View project without stopping to say how incredibly blessed we are to have a great space to start with, let alone even consider the project at all. I am glad we’re going forward with it, because like in so many homes the kitchen is our hub and I know it will bring us a lot of enjoyment and, I’ll admit it, comfort while I still feel like a stranger in a strange land. Plus it feels like an investment we’ll be glad we made when it comes time to move on. But for now we are just lucky. Really lucky.
Today being Day One of the project, the Views below are simple Before and Ongoing comparisons. I’ll show the progression as the kitchen continues to break down – just a little bit more – and then builds back up and takes its new shape. For now, I hope the following overview is a fun starting place.
What Was Accomplished: Removal of old appliances, hood and ventilation duct, plus removal of some cabinetry where open shelving will be installed.
What Was Learned: 1.) During installation of the new (smaller) hood, it may be possible to hide the 90 degree angle that will be necessary to connect the hood’s duct to the building’s main ventilation chimney in the ceiling. We will determine that upon additional demo and exploratory work tomorrow. If we cannot hide the 90 degree angle, it will be built at the top of the hood wall and hidden by a soffit or sort of dropped ceiling.
2.) There is an unidentified duct over the pre-existing ovens, but not related to the ovens. A more streamlined fridge will be put in the ovens’ place, so we will need to explore the duct and remove a portion of it so that the fridge will fit!
See you after Day Two!