The sunlight shimmers through the Lemon Verbena Lady's gorgeous herbal jellies. An unexpected gift we received this week.
BEFORE-Not our style, though the tile is great. The old plastic cupboards were falling apart. I don't want to see microwaves, etc. out in the open. I love open shelves, not closed shelving.
AFTER-Open shelving, an overhead vent (instead of through the floor), antique lighting, old sink, and our beloved stove, Abigail, named for my plump Grandmother Lovejoy.
BEFORE-A small sink complete with a garbage disposal, which we NEVER use. We believe that kitchen garbage is worth its weight in gold. It all goes into a bucket under our sink and is dumped into the worm bin daily. We donated all the cupboards to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, all the tiles were set into the stonework of our new outdoor dining room. No waste!
Nope, no garbage disposal.
The worm bucket.
The old kitchen had very little storage. With slide out drawers and the use of a lazy susan, we were able to double the capacity.
BEFORE-A wall that took more turns than a country road. An oven installed next to the refrigerator, which was, perhaps, the noisiest fridge in the world. It conked out on us. To the left is the laundry area and far left, the one and only pantry.
AFTER-Slide out shelving in the pantry.
AFTER-I actually have a place to store things. I really only keep what I use; other things that aren't often used were donated to Hospice.
AFTER-ugh, I can't stand to see appliances. These cupboards are all fitted with electric plugs so everything can be plugged in and used in place.
AFTER-What was once a crooked wall is now all the same depth, the cupboards are simple, and there is room at the top of the cupboards (thank you, Jeff) for some of my big wooden bowls. Did I want a stainless steel refrigerator. NO WAY, but this Liebherr is the greenest one imaginable. Even the way they are manufactured is considered the greenest in the industry. Very low watt usage. Good food storage, but I wish I had an old one, or maybe the Northstar that looks old.
AFTER-I now have two drawers for storing my Grandmother's iron skillets, dutch ovens, and cornbread molds.
BEFORE-Storage in the protruding wall, a dropped ceiling with can lights.
AFTER-Protruding storage removed, bookcases installed (great windowsills for plants here), and floor patched and repaired. Antique cupboard for kitchen linens, and just because I love it.
BEFORE-Floor vented cook top, tile counters, no storage under stove because of vents.
AFTER-Make way for Abigail! Maple countertops with breadboard ends, and I love the little cutting board niche that Jeff designed.
AFTER-Two Fisher-Paykel dishwashers are under the sink apron. One on each side. The light above the sink is from Maine.
AFTER-Almost finished. I love the repaired and refinished wooden floors, the warm and welcoming work-family table in the center, and my old miner's coat rack from Pennsylvania, which holds my copper pots and pans.
And my favorite thing in the kitchen? These two recipes for "Heavenly Pie" hand written by my two beloved grandmothers. See Grandma's pie crimper?
Forgive me for posting such a long entry, but I am answering dozens of questions that we've been asked these past few months. Now you can see what we've been up to. We hired a cabinet maker to do the fine work on the cabinets, but when it came to elbow grease and willing learners, well it was us. We're so happy to have it within a feather of being finished.
Sending love and thanks to all of you who have written and who have sent notes about the Country Gardens article in the early spring issue.
Followers, this is your last week to sign in for the give-away, which will happen next Saturday.
Love to all of you. Now dig in and start working on your dream kitchen. The elbow grease really makes it affordable, as does shopping in salvage yards, the ReStore, and antique shops. Such an adventure.
Now a word from Jeff
Let me explain why it has taken so long to complete our kitchen. If we ordered new appliances and fixtures, we could have finished in less than a calendar year. You have to remember that we spend at least five months a year in Maine, so our California year is only seven months less any traveling we have to do.
When we bought this house, we knew we needed to remodel the 1980’s kitchen and return it to its original 1930’s time period. We’re willing to wait until we find what we want.
What we wanted in our “new” kitchen was a farm sink with high back splash, open shelving, lots of pantry space, a niche for our huge antique wooden bowls, bookcases for cookbooks, room for an old farm table in the center of the kitchen, and an old stove.
First we had to find an old stove and a sink, the heatbeat of our kitchen. In the meantime, the dated appliances that came in the house started to poop out one by one–first the dishwasher, then the cook top (we were down to one burner that worked). The refrigerator, whose only saving grace was that it was so loud you couldn’t hear traffic outside, conked out too. I’m sure being installed next to the built-in oven (yes, a refrig next to an oven) accelerated its demise. Every time we used the oven the refrigerator compressor was called into action.
We found a double drainboard farm sink at Ohmega Salvage in Berkeley. It arrived in the salvage yard the afternoon we were leaving the San Francisco Food Show. So, we detoured to Berkeley to look at it and decided to buy and store it until we were ready for installation. The monster sink took up most of our small garage. We located a man who resurfaces old bathtubs and sinks, and he spent a couple of days restoring the finish. He didn’t do a good job and right now I am learning how to refinish it myself.
When the cook top retired, we were luckily enough to find a 1950, six burner O’Keefe and Merritt with double ovens and broilers in a Paso Robles antique shop, only 35 miles away. The 42 inch wide stove got stuck half way through the doorway. I had to get out my trusty Sawsall and cut a four inch section out of an interior wall so I could move the oven into the house.
Once we had the pieces assembled, we demolished the inside of the kitchen and started the remodel. We filled voids in the floor before we had it refinished and I patched the walls and ceiling where I removed laundry and storage closets and a dropped soffit in the corner.
I designed the cabinets to hide countertop appliances (Sharon can’t stand to see these modern conveniences) and to have adjustable shelving to suit our needs for in-cabinet workspaces for the Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart, and Vita Mix. Form follows function without compromising aesthetics.
This year we found the hanging light at Let There Be Light in Stillwater, Wisconsin, and installed it. Once we determined the lighting pattern, we decided on the location for a wall hung light Sharon bought over a year ago at Trifles Antiques in Bath, Maine. Then, I pulled out the canned lights, removed the speakers in the ceiling, and patched everything with drywall and mud. A few finishing touches and it should be complete...complete? Sharon will find more chores for me, I’m sure. And I love doing this creative work.