Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Kitchen Reno...

Cro, over at Magnon's Meanderings,
is just beginning a kitchen reno.

Rudy and I have gone through this a few times
with Brilliant Husband doing most of the work himself.
He loves the demolition part...swinging that sledge hammer can release all kinds of tension.

Our last reno was the most adventurous, and I think the most creative.  We began with this:

Can we see potential or what!  These photos were taken when we purchased the house...(and no, I had nothing to do with that mural!)
The cabinets were dark green, the countertop was black marble and the appliances were black.  This kitchen had to go!

Here is where we finished:

This is the right-hand wall as you enter the kitchen.  The cabinetry is Rational
from Germany.  Cream, lacquer finish.  The interiors are pure-engineering magic.  
The large door to the left of the oven and microwave is the integrated fridge with bottom freezer drawer.

and this is opposite...
30 ft, long, three-sided, bar height + regular height countertop.   One piece of stainless steel with an integrated sink and gas stove top.
It took six, BIG guys to carry it into the house.

It is so beautiful.  It took me about three weeks before I could bring myself to actually take something directly from the oven or stove top and plop it down on the countertop. But you can, truly, honestly...YOU CAN!

We chose colour-backed glass over tile, something I have repeated in other houses since.
An australian friend introduced us to it (they have been doing it there and in Europe for years).
You can choose any colour your little heart desires, and the best grout.

The lower cabinets for this side of the room are blonde maple, and there is a  three-sectioned feature cabinet with lift-up glass doors.

This kitchen was a very narrow (but tall) room; positioning the oven in the lacquer wall
was critical; to allow the required space so as to be able to stand behind and open the door. We are talking eighths of inches here people, which is why your kitchen designer is so important.  Rudy worked side-by-side with these people, checking and re-checking every measurement.  We only had one cabinet door (for the integrated diswasher) that was measured incorrectly, and this meant waiting another six weeks for the piece to be re-ordered and shipped from Germany.

The venting hood for the stove-top was the biggest challenge.  With ten-foot ceilings, it was difficult to find something that would descend low enough to effect the proper extraction strength.  BH had to design an attachment in the ceiling with a metal-worker so that the whole unit could hang low enough.  He and our son-in-law spent the better part of a day standing on a scaffold welding the hood to the ceiling attachment.  This baby isn't coming down any time soon.

This job involved not only completely gutting the kitchen,
but also taking down the dividing wall that separated the kitchen from the living area,
moving a bathroom (that was originally off of the kitchen - yuck!!)
and creating a new hall closet in a nook by the entrance way.  And just because he could, BH integrated the sound system into the ceiling, alongside the multitude of dim-able potlights...I insist on a bright kitchen.

The entire job took 8 weeks, start to finish.

We packed up most of the kitchen into boxes and stored them in the basement, cooked on an electric two-ring burner and washed dishes in a plastic laundry tub set up in the centre of the construction area.  The old fridge took pride of place in the middle of the living room, until it was time for it to go, and then we resorted to a cooler bag.

One night, during construction, our daughter and her husband came for dinner and Jess and I were hand-washing the dishes in the laundry tub.  She had put her antique wedding ring on the side of the sink and of course, I knocked it down the drain.  And speaking of drain, have you ever seen the colour in someone's face drain-out in about a half-a-second?  That was Jessica.

Long story, but I promised her we would get it back.  The sink, unfortunately, did NOT have the u-bend underneath that is designed to catch jewelry that stupid mothers knock down it, so this retrieval required one (thank goodness) very skinny (as it happened Russian) Rotorooter man, wriggling on his back into the space between the basement ceiling and the kitchen floor to find the secondary trap which he then opened onto his belly (because he had to lie flat to get in there) and sorting through the detritus of dinner with his fingers until he found her ring.  Oh yes, and did I mention the $750 bill??? (I did promise her.)

Once complete, of course, we put the house on the market and sold it.

I weep for the loss of this kitchen somedays.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.


  1. A great transformation, and an award for valour for you for ridding the world of that awful black and green kitchen.

  2. Sadly our new kitchen will never match yours. We have a v small 350 year old stone-built cottage, with very limited space. So we've gone for simplicity, with a touch of timeless. The basic colour-scheme will be cream with stainless steel. I think the finished product will be something of a surprise.

    Was your previous owner a depressive?

  3. It was the mural that did my head in Mise. It went all around the kitchen and culminated in a flaming peacock in the bathroom...never seen anything quite like it.

    This was not a large space Cro...amazing what good planning can achieve. Cream and stainless stell...I'm loving it already!

  4. I love these types of stories. What some of us go through to make our environment joyous! None of us would change the process...
    AFTER it's complete, that is! lol

  5. One word...WOW ...thats a great kitchen,then you sold it! lol after being in the one home for a long time like Cro has I wonder how you manage not to attach too much.. I think I am not adventurous enough lol

  6. Z...if it's not too perverse, we actually enjoy the process!
    ABL...I have never felt attached to anything...places and people grab my heart. I could live in any old house and make it mine.

  7. I remember that 'before' kitchen J., many happy hours spent there over cups of tea with you. I also remember Bob the Builder and his Columbian
    assistant LOL!

  8. p.s.I meant to add - what a fabulous job you and hubby looks wonder the house sold so quickly! Lucky new owners.

  9. sigh
    my kitchen is covered with cat paw prints, dog snot and smells of pee

  10. I'm so thankful we weren't living at 24C during the construction of the kitchen...or the whole house for that matter. It can be challenging to say the least. I'm sorry you lost your beloved's amazing how attached we become to them, especially when they have had the title of 'dream' attached to them.
    Best of luck to will all be worth it in the end!!
    xo J~

    btw- So relieved the mural wasn't of your doing, would've been completely taken aback! ;)


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