Floating shelves

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Open storage in the kitchen is sort of having an it-moment right now. Those gorgeously styled shelves of matched, or beautifully un-matched, dishware and quirky accessories look amazing, for sure. But for me, they seem a bit unrealistic – if you have company over, you’ll need to take those dishes down to set your table, and then the shelves won’t look beautifully styled any more (unless those dishes are just for show, but then you’ll need another cabinet with doors on it to store the dishes you actually use). This is why I mirrored our glass front cabinets. I love the look of…

Subway tile with dark grout

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When we first started this kitchen project, it was just supposed to be a quick clean up with some small (ha) projects to increase functionality. Scope creep is real, friends. So when we decided to replace the counters because we were adding the dishwasher, we had to take out the formica backsplash, which was not part of the initial plan. Now that we had to tile, I really wanted to do a marble subway tile, but this was supposed to be the cheap clean up project. It wasn’t smart to invest in something like marble tile if it was going to…

New cabinets to match the old

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From the minute I saw our kitchen during the first walk through (okay, from the real estate pictures if I’m being honest), I began thinking about how to add more cabinets. The original kitchen layout only had 1 corner base cabinet, a set of drawers and the under sink cabinet. There were a modestly, decent amount of of uppers: a single, a double and an over-the-stove double. But if we were going to add more lowers, some shelves at the very least wouldn’t hurt. In my initial plans for the kitchen, I was hoping to add 12″ deep cabinets on…

Hi, wood floors. Hi.

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The kitchen suffered from some truly awful pink-beige-ish vinyl tile. The surface was a good 1/2 inch higher than the wood floors elsewhere, so we suspected there was … maybe old broken tile? under the vinyl. I was not eager to find out. My MO with this project was to just clean up what was there and make it work until we could afford to do a bigger renovation. I was planning on painting the floors to sort of maybe look like nice cement tile… hopefully? But then a funny thing happened. We had to take off the baseboard molding…

Finishing the counters

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Once we got the counters in place and the sink installed, we took some time to consider finishing options before jumping into the process. We knew we wanted the counters to be finished darker than their natural color to coordinate with the wood floors elsewhere in the house. The processes that would give us the best finish and color were not going to be food safe to use the counters as a cutting service. Ultimately, that was more important to us, so we just finished them as we would any other kind of furniture: stain and polyurethane. Bryan used a left…

Getting the kitchen functional (ish)

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This is definitely not a post with pretty pictures. Initially, I was going to just fashion some sort of extension to the existing counters and then cover them all in a concrete veneer, as so many bloggers are wont to do. This idea got vetoed quickly as it was a dumb one. So then I needed to find a cheap affordable counter replacement. I used IKEA’s butcher block in my parents basement kitchen before, and we got an 8′ length to make a shared desk for our Jersey City condo, so it seemed like the obvious choice. When we made…

DIY Shaker cabinets

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As I mentioned earlier, the cabinets in the kitchen are very old – but they are solid wood and, aside from a really bad paint job, were in pretty great condition. So my plan was to take the doors off and drawers out, sand the fronts down smooth, then follow Jenny’s tutorial for adding molding to faux the look of Shaker fronts, and finally paint with Benjamin Moore ADVANCE paint. The pictures I have documenting this work are not pretty – certainly not something you’d want to Pin. Because I loved my job and was helping to test our Android app,…

Kitchen design plans

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There was little doubt in my mind what direction in which I was going to take our kitchen: it would be heavily inspired by this Tommy Smythe design: I can almost remember the exact moment when I first saw a photo of this kitchen. It still arrests me. Utter perfection. Of course, now, years later, the two-tone cabinet look is almost mainstream, but I still think no one has done it as well as Mr. Smythe. For my budget-friendly interpretation,  I let go of any dreams of a marble backsplash and all new stainless appliances but brought in a bit more brass and…

Starting with the kitchen

Kitchen layout

Our house was built in 1919. It is clear from the layout of our house that the kitchen was designed to never be seen by polite company. Whereas the foyer, living and dining rooms all open to each other with wide cased openings for clear sight lines and easy flow between the spaces, the doorways into the kitchen space are narrow and obviously, at one time, had doors blocking the view into that space. The kitchen, as it was when we bought the house, was likely a 1940 or 50s renovation.  I wonder if they added the downstairs powder room at that time…

We bought a house!

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Okay let me back up. In May 2014, we bought a house! We actually put an offer in on the house in October 2013, but it was sold as a short sale and the process was as bad as realtors on HGTV say it is, if not worse. But the house was a steal, in an unbelievable neighborhood within a great town, super short commute to NY Penn Station, you know, pretty much perfect. Except it was in rough shape. These were the original real estate listing photos. They didn’t scare us. Sure, there were some really really questionable paint colors…