Jennifer's Kitchen: Hold the Cognac

Renovation Diary

The cabinets, sliding door and most of the appliances have been installed.
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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

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Ahhh, week 5. The magical “final” week of my kitchen renovation project. The expectation: during this sublime and special week, all materials arrive on time and undamaged, the carefully-chosen finishes all match perfectly, and everything you’ve ordered is installed with ease and grace. Perfection. You sit, with crystal snifters of cognac (this is the 1970s version), gazing at the perfect kitchen and sighing with pleasure at just how simple it all was.

The reality: sadly, the real version of week 5 has a substantially darker side. An ugly side. A side which make me think that the cognac snifters won’t be arriving anytime soon.

Since the dishwasher was an inch wider than the cabinet it was going into, my contractor had to make it work!
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During the real Week 5, a 23-inch-wide dishwasher arrives, ready to be installed into a 22-inch-wide cabinet. Oops. The rest of the flooring finally arrives... except for 4.5 feet of it. Uh-oh. And the stone countertops don’t arrive at all and won’t until days and days after the contractors have finished the rest of the project. Sigh. Week 5 has the wrong number of cabinets, the wrong number of door pulls and the wrong number of hinges. (Hello again, IKEA! Did you miss me?) Week 5 is the guy you had one fantastic date with who later you discover is actually engaged to a Danish model.

So. Not really the “final” week after all. But I’m guessing this is how it often works and that there’s no such thing as cognac fairies or countertops that arrive when they’re supposed to.

Getting the cabinetry in was a very slow process, but they're starting to look great. And all that storage space!
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What week 5 does have going for it, however, is a fantastic contractor, who just keeps figuring it out when stuff goes wrong and then moves onto the next thing with patience and skill. Who installs all the cabinetry perfectly and then tells you that yes, you can have vertical cabinet storage space instead of a pull-out pantry and yes, he can install the flooring all the way into the bedroom even though you never mentioned it and yes, you can still move back into your apartment on time and on-budget. And yes!, he will paint your living room at no extra charge. I love my contractor and would marry him if he wasn’t already married. He says yes to everything and then charges me less than I expected. You should hire him for your renovation project. Hire him because you deserve this level of expertise, hard work and sanity when you’re losing your mind over everything.

My fabulous new GE Monogram speed oven. Having an oven that also acts as microwave is a great space saver. Can't wait to try it out!
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What else happened during Week 5? More cabinets arrived and were assembled. Door pulls and hinges were installed (except for the missing ones, of course.) The final flooring went in (except for the 4.5 feet that’s missing, of course.) The fancy new GE speed oven was installed. The bathroom, kitchen and living room were painted in Benjamin Moore “Superwhite”, which complements the glossy white IKEA cabinetry.

The "Abstrakt" cabinets from IKEA are crazy glossy. Very simple silver pulls keep the look sleek and minimal.
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An IKEA closet was installed on the far side of the living room to replace the one demolished to make way for a more open kitchen. And the sliding door between the kitchen and the bathroom was finished, and a search is on for a handle to pull it.

The sliding door was fabricated and then filled with translucent glass, which will allow light from bathroom to kitchen and vice versa. Pretty!
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Oh, and I spent a day moving everything out of my bedroom and into the living room in preparation for putting floor down in there.

Since the flooring is going all the way into the bedroom, I had to empty it out into the living room. There's no WAY I could have lived here during this project!
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Everything that’s finished looks fantastic. And maybe next week there will be snifters of Cognac, single men and a winning lottery ticket. “Week 6” has a nice, final ring to it.

Estimated time for project: 5 weeks
Time remaining: 1 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for installment #9 of Jennifer's Kitchen Renovation.

(Images and diary text: Jennifer Pade)

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Renovation Diary: Jennifer's Kitchen