The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style.
My style is classic with eclectic touches. My boyfriend Dean is more of a modernist, but we try to meet in the middle. On this project, the historic Victorian architecture of the building will play a leading role in terms of style. That said, we are incorporating modernist, Scandinavian country, and industrial elements. The goal is to create a timeless, sophisticated kitchen that looks like it has a been there forever, but will also look current in 2020. We cannot renovate the kitchen again when it's time to sell the apartment in a 5 – 10 years, so it needs to stylistically stand the test of time.
I am inspired by small urban kitchens with rich finishes and smart cabinetry. The kind of kitchen that only produces trays of champagne, mini-quiches, and vodka-soaked cherry tomatoes. What a charming way to live (albeit impractical)! I also love butler's pantries with open storage. The pantries and china cabinets in Downtown Abbey come to mind, as does Bilbo Baggins' pantry in The Hobbit.
Dean is an architect, so we have that going for us! We designed the kitchen ourselves and approached the project from a space planning standpoint. We both had things that we wanted to include in the footprint. I wanted a large, "suburbs-sized" island for entertaining and food prep. Dean felt strongly that he wanted a regular-sized fridge — not a skinny European model, which I preferred. His refrigerator came under siege for more pantry space, but he got it in the end. The floor plan for the kitchen emerged from those two very large space demands.
The cabinets we chose are whitewashed birch (IKEA's Ramsjo white). They have a very subtle wood grain. I love them because they appear to be white, but when you get closer you notice a depth and natural pattern in the finish. The color and Shaker style references historic Victorian kitchens.
Choosing a chandelier was a scary and tormenting process. It will be a visual focal point in the kitchen, and I had a lot of specific criteria. It needed to fit in with the building's Victorian roots but also be modern. It needed to be functional and light the 13-foot ceiling as well and the island. I wanted a chandelier that brought the night sky into my kitchen because, seriously, is there anything more beautiful than the moon? In the end we picked an orb-shaped chandelier with a yellow and gray crystal exoskeleton. We are content with it.
We will paint the walls in Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe, which is a very dark gray. The hallway is already painted this color, so we want continuity once the kitchen is opened up to the hall.
For more of my renovation inspiration photos, check out my project pinboard.
The materials I'm planning on using:
Cabinets: IKEA, Ramsjo white
Stove: Blue Star 30" gas range
Sink: Kohler Vault 36" apron front sink
Faucet: IKEA Ringskar with pull-out spout
Countertops: Zinc for the island, White quartz for the other counters (most likely)
Range Hood: Cavaliere-Euro 30-inch Wall Mount
Chandelier: Crystorama Solstice Collection
Vintage Pantry/Hutch: Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA
Backsplash tile: Ann Sacks Earthenware in Ming Crackle, 2" x 4"
Wall Paint: "Down Pipe" and "Lamp Room Gray" by Farrow & Ball
Ceiling Paint: "Pearl" by C2 Paint
Trim Paint: "Halo" by C2 Paint
(Diary Text: Andi Forker. Images: 1, David Prince via Desire to Inspire, 2. Mick de Giulio via Simplified Bee, 3. Deulonder, 4. Ballard Designs, 5. Organizing Options, 6. KitchenLab Chicago via Houzz, 7. Kohler)