Andi's Kitchen: Finishing Touches

Renovation Diary

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A magnetic chalkboard is a new addition to the back hallway, on the wall next to the refrigerator.

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Name: Andi Forker
Type of Project: Kitchen Renovation — full gut remodel
Location: San Francisco, California
Type of building: 1890's Victorian condo

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. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

We were supposed to finish our construction project this week, but our backsplash tile has not arrived yet. The backsplash needs to be installed before the range hood— the two final big pieces of the kitchen. We accomplished some smaller decorating tasks this week while waiting for the tile.

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Restoration Hardware's "1950s Tractor Dining Stool".

I shopped for counter-height stools for the island and fell in love with a very pricy “Tractor Stool” designed by Craig Bassam at Design Within Reach ($1,130 each). Needing to cut the price by 900%, I found a similar design in Restoration Hardware’s 1950’s Tractor Dining Stool. They were on sale for $119 each. Still over my budget, but I decided to buy them. They are surprisingly comfortable to sit on, and we love the look.

We bought drawer and cabinet pulls at Restoration Hardware (Asbury line in polished chrome). We picked this line for a few reasons, though convenience was a big factor, I must admit. I am tired of shopping and making choices. We needed a matching line of hardware with knobs, 4” – 6” drawer pulls, and a larger 8” – 10” dishwasher pull. We wanted hardware that was classic with a touch of modernity. Asbury fit the bill, though was over budget (again).

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Our dog shows off all of the new drawer pulls on the island.

One surprise came when the hinges that I bought at Restoration Hardware did not work on the cabinet doors for the vintage buffet. You would need to see a drawing to truly understand why, but I will simply say that the doors have a lip in front and an indentation in the back, and the hinges were made for a square door that is flush with the cabinet. Blah blah blah. We are tired of little things like this popping up and demanding extra effort. I looked to the sky and asked the hinge fairy to deliver me four functional hinges in polished chrome. When the hinge fairy did not deliver, we visited EM Hundley Hardware in San Francisco and learned the lingo to describe our cabinet doors (“3/8” offset”) and bought functional hinges.

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My favorite DIY of the week. We saved some money buying a large cutting board and trimming it to size for a custom addition to the buffet.

One of my best finds of the week was a large ¾”-thick cutting board at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $25, which Dean trimmed to fit perfectly in the cutting board slot on our vintage buffet. We attached a front piece with Liquid Nails and crossed that project off our list.

I created a magnetic chalkboard on an unused wall by the refrigerator with magnetic paint (4 coats) and a topcoat of chalkboard paint. Dean framed the chalkboard with trim pieces and I hung some of our recent travel photos there. It will be nice to have a place for a display of photographs and invitations, tucked away from the public eye in the back hall.

Also, in an effort to combat my malaise, I invited all of the friends who helped us with construction over for a dinner party, setting the date a month away from now. It is something to look forward to and also a deadline for completing all of the little bits and bobs in the kitchen. This renovation stage can be dangerous —we have been working hard for months and have a functional kitchen, so the desire to complete the last 8% is waning. We need a carrot-and-stick to keep us going.

Next week we will complete the backsplash, schedule our electrician to finish the electrical work, and do some final trim work and decorating. Then we will be normal people again, who eat brunch and go for hikes on the weekend.

Estimated time for project: 10 Weeks (formerly 9 weeks)
Time remaining: 1 week

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for #13 of Andi's Diary.

(Images and diary text: Andi Forker)

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Renovation Diary: Andi's Kitchen

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