Linzi’s hubs Yesh and their boys E and T share this kitchen with her, but we all know, that in truth, this is in fact Linzi’s kitchen. And we’re all super thankful for that! This is a woman that can COOK!!! She’s the friend that just happens to drop by with a mason jar of the most healthful and delicious soup every Tuesday. “Just a little lunch snack,” she says and then she’s off to her next task. She’s the friend that always has a little somethin’…or maybe 4 pots of goodness to meet all dietary preferences and restrictions on the stove every Friday night. Hers is a fridge you don’t have to dig deep to find fresh amazing leftovers at any hour of any day. AND…yes, she’ll whip up homemade and handmade traditional Indian food for Divali, for 100 guests, no problem! Not when your amazing mother-in-law flies in for 48 hours to, ummm…supervise? #teamwork #mildillove
While their kitchen was totally fine, honestly…met all needs, worked great, was full of love…there was this sinking floor situation in the dining area, that was part of a conversation about water that may have been in the basement. Water must be dealt with, always. Adulting rule of home ownership #1. A real, true, sinking floor thing, is also a thing. Gotta fix it. These are not so fun parts of home design, but they are the real truth of where it has to start.
Once you commit to fixing water issues and structurally reinforcing a floor, you may as well retile with something you like, because something needs to go back down on the structurally fixed floor. And then, well, why wouldn’t you just pull half the cabinets down, paint what’s left, replace the hardware, add back some open shelving and a few really amazing details along with a new counter and sink faucet? Obviously that’s what you’d do next, right? Wink, wink. Sometimes you just have to say yes, and go for it~
We snuck this renovation in. Honestly. We just got it done before anyone could blink, or say no. And looking back, it’s all smiles, no regrets!
Here’s where we started:
1/ Yesh’s major concern was that the door to the basement didn’t open ALL the way. It would catch on the counter top at approximately 90% open. So obviously, that was our top priority. Got it Yesh, make the door open ALL the way. We’ll give you that 1/4″. Anything else? Nope. That’s all.
2/ Linzi, bless her heart (see these things I learn from my midwesterners?) She’s one of the single most practical people I know. And I say that with the utmost respect and love. Everything is fine, fine is fine, and that’s that. But in that giant heart of her’s, heck yes she had dreams of kitchen love! And she realized them!
It is totally reasonable to say, we CAN NOT afford to renovate our kitchen. But…if you have some vision, a great, fair, honest contractor, and are willing to do the hard work of bargain shopping materials on your own…you can make it happen on a really tight budget, really well. So priority #2, was absolutely managing the budget.
3/ So much stuff. Accumulating so much stuff is just life, right? To her gigantic credit, L started with the toughest job first. Empty and clean out the cabinets, so that we can figure out what you actually have, need, and use. And then let’s purge everything that’s accumulated through 15 years of marriage and 10 of momming. She killed it, she got that purge done in 48 hours flat. And in those cabinets, we found that she had great dishware and glassware and spices, KEEP! She had pots and pans etc. that she actually uses all the time, and serving dishes she uses often, KEEP! And ALL sorts of random supplies and things that she nor anyone else was ever going to use, BYE, BYE. Once it was purged, it became obvious that those cabinets weren’t all necessary. And that open shelving would really help her organize her kitchen, stay organized, be more efficient, and would be so pretty to look at!
She honestly nailed it down to just the essentials, and made sense of where they should live. And the result is just Beautiful! And yes, Yesh’s door now opens all the way!
We removed two sets of upper cabinets and replaced them with open shelves. The reclaimed wood L hand chose herself from this local supplier: Manayunk Timber. The contractor back-mounted the shelves into studs and the cable is for additional support, but also looks great and helps pull together the mixed metals so that the existing appliances and stainless throughout blend with the brass hardware.
The quartz counter top is new. As are the tile floors. The remaining cabinets were painted. And the hardware was replaced. As was the stainless backsplash between the existing range and microwave. It’s just so, so pretty.
We also, had to all emotionally come to terms with the kids aging. It’s so hard, right? All those sweet toddler things you keep in the kitchen to keep them happy and playing and off screens while you simultaneously entertain, teach letters and numbers, geography, feelings and complex theories all whilst working, and cooking, and parenting, and running a house…all in the same shared space. But yes, the time had come…the kids ‘stuff’ needed a strong purge too, and she’s amazing…she did it! But she did have these requests:
3a/ I need somewhere to manage our family and work.
3b/ I am not giving up the kids artwork and play stations. We need those.
4/ I would love a table, but the space is tight. City home challenges.
5/ Lighting. City homes are tough. There’s always a tunnel of darkness that you need to overcome in the middle. But that’s nothing that a few high hats and one great fixture can’t fix!
EAT, WORK, PLAY + ART:
We lined the left wall with her existing Ikea bin shelves, and added one extra set so that they’d go the entire length of the wall, and double serve as the home office and place for all life, school, work, and social stuff to live, in an organized way. The table is custom and such a happy place that fits their whole family + loads of friends on a Friday night. The stools are so simple, but also pick up the piece de resistance…the amazing light fixture. And the opposite wall is a now wall to wall stainless. Dry Erase Markers can be wiped from it, and the revolving important artwork is hung with magnets. There are also a few fun magnet games on there: a marble run, and some magnetic poetry!
More Light, More Open Shelving:
Removing just enough upper cabinetry on both sides of the kitchen let additional light come through the side window as well. Every little bit of natural light helps in a city house! We also replaced the fluorescent in the middle section with high hats, so now the work areas are really well lit at all times of day, sunshine or rain!
This was such an amazingly fun, sneaky, and rewarding project! Here’s to saying yes even when everything just feels like a no. Love you Linzi. And you three too Yesh, E and T! xoxo A
Here’s much of what we worked with:
1/ Mag Panel Available in both standard and custom sizes. Magnetic, and works with dry erase markers!
2/ Magnetic Poetry! Such a fun way for the whole family to play with words!
3/ Spherical Mulitcolor Magnets Little pops of fun color magnets to display artwork!
4/ Magnetic Puzzle! Move the puzzle up to the wall! So fun!
5/ Magnetic Marble Run! More fun for the whole fam on the wall!
6/ Mag Man Character Magnets More fun people for the board!
7/ Possini Euro Planet Chrome and Black Pendant Chandelier The totally, beyond amazing, light fixture!!!
8/ Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue The beautiful blue color the cabinets were painted.
11/ Delta Trinsic Single Pull Faucet A new faucet was an easy update to an existing sink.
12/ CHILEWICH Skinny Stripe Shag Doormat A little Chilewich is a fun and practical way to add a pop of color!
13/ Air Activated Garbage Disposal Switch We prefer these to wall or under cabinet switches.
14/ Hamilton Bowes – 1″ – Round Cabinet Knob Beautiful cabinet pulls for a fantastic price!
15/ Black Tolix Style Stools Team favorite, beautiful in black!
16/ Urban Wood Goods Custom Table Great company to work with for custom orders at a great price!
17/ Manayunk Timber was the local yard from which we sourced the reclaimed wood for the shelves.
1/ IKEA – 365 Jar With Lid, 2QT Did you know you can order Ikea through Amazon? City girl dream come true!
2/ Ona Large Pitcher Such a great shape!
3/ Stainless Steel Rice Bowl Set Also great for lunches packing and leftover storage!
4/ Organic Shaped Low Bowls (Set of 4) – White Fun Basic Bowl to mix well with other dishware!
5/ DOWAN 27 Ounce Porcelain Square Cereal Bowls – Set of 6, White Just a little more interesting than round!
6/ Lidded Bowl with Clear Lid Set of 12 Great for prep, storage and display!
7/ IKEA 8 packs Plate, white Easy Long plates for eating and serving!
8/ Stainless Steel Round Plates Dish Set Intended for some traditional food, but work well for everything, and a great alternative to toddler plastic plates too!
9/ Cirque Mugs, Set of 8 A tiny pop of color in stripes is fun but not overwhelming!
10/ Riedel O Wine Tumbler We all drink everything out of short glasses. We’d blame it on the kids, but well…
11/ Rings Glasses Nice subtle detail!
12/ karla cement hand towel hand towels, kitchen towel, napkins, look great sitting rolled in a basket!
13/ ROUND WOVEN BASKET – PROJECT 62™ Not exact, but similar!
If we missed anything you are curious about, just ask and we’ll share! xoxo A