With both stainless backsplashes and faucet removed, we moved into install day in good shape. The team at Stone City Chicago did a nice job removing the existing granite counter while preserving our cabinets and was able to install 2 out of 4 total pieces.
Remaining are the counter under the window and the backsplash behind the sink.
The counter under the window had a larger than expected gap that we will need to level with a piece of half inch plywood (Home Depot, here we come!). The backsplash was staged to install after the counters to get the measurements correct.
In the meantime, I am searching for tile to install behind the stove. I thought I would easily be able to find the perfect tile, but my first attempts were false starts – too white, too yellow, etc.
The first tiles I pulled were from Walker Zanger. They were an awesome handmade glossy subway less than $14 / sq ft. The tiles are beautiful but the milky color was too white and the latte was too yellow.
I have 10 new samples to try from Ann Sacks, Waterworks and Virginia Tile, so will be reviewing those colors shortly. All tiles are various sizes of glossy subway with a couple of matte finish tiles just to see. I’m leaning towards glossy to contrast with the honed marble.
The kitchen of this apartment is in great condition, but feels a bit dated. That being said, so many elements of this kitchen are timeless, so I want to preserve the beautiful Bolhuis cabinets, the Sub Zero and Miele appliances and the Perrin and Rowe hardware while giving the kitchen a bit of a lift.
Here is a reminder of what the kitchen looked like:
Here is a photo of what the kitchen looked like this morning:
In person, and somewhat illustrated by the non wide-lens camera, the space is a bit cramped. The area between the hanging cabinets and the sink is only the width of a four burner stove. I want to visually open this space up by removing the hanging glass cabinets.
Of course my biggest mistake was not taking more “before” photos, but everything moved quickly once the work got started! My dad is helping me here! He built the house that I grew up in, laid all the floors and spun every spindle by hand.
Part of the challenge of the hanging cabinets is that they took up a lot of counter space. If you refer back to the first photograph you can see that 1/3 of the counter space was monopolized by the base of the cabinet. At the base was a hollow opening that included an electrical strip. The opening was suited for storing breads, but a microwave would not fit.
First, we removed all cabinet doors and shelves. Since these cabinets were more decorative, and less everyday, the hardware was in perfect shape. We will replace the more tired hardware in other areas of the kitchen with these. This will save money since each of these knobs cost $45.
Next, my dad removed all of the small lights running through the cabinets. We tossed the lights (one already had broken glass) and kept some of the electrical elements for use on other projects.
We removed the crown molding around the center cabinet in order to drop it down. The molding was an interesting recovery for two reasons. First, it can be re-used to patch now remaining gaps from the hanging cabinets. Second, it appears as if each of these little teeth were individually nailed to the molding (wow! so much work!).
This project took almost a whole day, but it made a big difference. We successfully removed all the hanging cabinets and opened up the kitchen.
The only thing we changed was removing the hanging cabinets, and the kitchen looks dramatically different. The work that remains includes: replacing any tired door hardware with the knobs that we retrieved from the glass cabinets, professionally re-painting the kitchen cabinets, updating the backsplash and countertops and incorporating the La Voliere chandelier so we can eat breakfast with the birds!