Jennifer's Kitchen: Moving Right Along

Renovation Diary

The kitchen has been fully sheetrocked and the ceiling lights installed. The new electrical panel has been boxed in next to the heat riser in the living room.
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Name: Jennifer Pade
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: West Village, New York, New York
Type of building: 300 square foot apartment in a co-op building

The Renovation Diaries are a 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.

This week was stressful, because in addition to the kitchen reno project, work has been very busy, and it looks like I’ll be doing some business travel before the project is complete. And right now the reno project feels a little bit like having a new puppy— you have to keep your eye on it all the time to make sure it doesn't get into trouble! I’m sure it will seem less so over the next few weeks, but right now I hate to leave town when there’s so much going on and so many things to decide!
The bathroom door had to move over several inches to accommodate a standard 24" countertop on the left. The electrical panel had to be moved to make room for the relocated doorway.
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The co-op’s engineer came by on Tuesday to inspect and approve the ceiling joist repair. He asked the contractor to take a photo of the repair before the wall was closed up. But when the engineer received the emailed photo, he apparently didn’t think it was clear enough. So he made my poor contractor pull down the sheetrock and take another photo! Once that was finally worked out, the team repositioned the bathroom door to the right, which will allow for a full-depth (24”) countertop on the interior wall side of the kitchen. They also had to move the light switch in the bathroom to another wall in preparation for installing a glass sliding door between the bathroom and the kitchen.

My architect designed the ceiling lights in an oval shape, which I love!
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The electrician came back to finish putting in all the electrical outlets and switches, close up the new electrical panel, and install the ceiling light fixtures, which look fantastic That should be the last of the electrical work. Everything looks great, and the new electrical panel doesn’t look as strange in the living room as I thought it would.

My fancy new electrical panel, boxed in next to the heat riser in the living room.
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Even though I’m not doing any of the work on the kitchen myself, there have been many decisions to make, and the nice people at Home Depot must think I sleep outside on their sidewalk waiting for them to open. After spending some time over the weekend looking at finishes, I finally made a decision on flooring, paint colors and countertops (I chose the IKEA “Abstrakt” cabinetry weeks ago).

I created this photo collage to get a better idea of how my finishes would work together. Still deciding on backsplash tile...
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I love the gray/brown wood laminate flooring (Dream Home “Oceanside Plank”) and think it will go well with the dark gray Caesarstone “Concrete” countertops and white cabinetry. I still need to shop for backsplash tile. My idea is to use classic subway tile, maybe in a cream color, but I’m sure once I get to a showroom, I’m sure I’ll get all kinds of new ideas. It would also be nice to use the backsplash tile to get a pop of color into an otherwise very neutral-colored kitchen.

Choosing a wood laminate flooring color was very difficult for me. I finally settled on a cool gray/brown color that looks slightly weathered.
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It turns out that my decision to have the laminate flooring installed in both the kitchen and the living room means that my contractor has to put down three layers of subfloor in the kitchen to line it up with the living room floor. That way, there doesn’t have to be a saddle between the two floors, which will mean a nice, unbroken line of flooring across the two rooms. My contractor is awesome for doing this and I think it’s going to look great. However, even with the lower price of wood laminate (as opposed to the original hardwood I planned for the kitchen,) the cost of doing both the kitchen and the livingroom floor raises my budget by $900. I suck it up, knowing that the value of a well-located NYC apartment will go up every year. And, this week’s New York magazine ran an article this week about NYC kitchen renovations, reporting that a reno project can increase the value of an apartment by as much as 12%. Mentally shored up by these uncertain certainties, I agree to put flooring in both rooms.

My architect will go to IKEA this weekend to purchase the cabinetry, countertops, sink and faucet. Right now, IKEA is having a kitchen sale: if I spend $4500 or more, I’ll get 20% off the entire purchase. This could help make up for my budget increase from the flooring!.

103-year old brick being covered up for a new, modern kitchen!
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On Wednesday, I purchased all my appliances at PC Richard, a local appliance store with great service. There were a few changes to my original choices. I had to swap out the Fisher Paykel refrigerator I originally chose for a Summit model, because the Fisher was deeper than I thought and would stick out past the bathroom door opening. I also swapped out the Jenn-Air speed oven for a GE Advantium, because the Jenn-Air no longer makes a 120V speed oven — and that’s all the power I can get in my building. I’m so happy to be saving space by getting a combination conventional oven/microwave that I’m fine switching to the GE. It was also exciting to order a dishwasher, something I’ve wanted in my place for years. Fisher & Paykel makes a small 1-drawer model that will fit perfectly in my new kitchen. PC Richard will store the appliances for me when they arrive and then deliver them next week. If I lived in a house, I might have someplace to store them, but for a small apartment it’s really helpful to have a dealer who will hold the appliances locally until the team is ready for them.

Sheetrocking and new electrical panel at left. View from the bathroom.
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Now that the kitchen has been opened up into the living room, the whole apartment feels more loft-like and spacious. Next week the cabinetry and appliances will arrive, so I think I’ll be able to start getting an idea of how the final result will look!

Estimated time for project: 5 weeks
Time remaining: 2 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for installment #7 of Jennifer's Kitchen Renovation.

(Images and diary text: Jennifer Pade)