Jennifer's Kitchen: Some Big Decisions

Renovation Diary

Week 4 view from 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.

A lot of things changed this week. Mainly, the price of every single thing I planned on buying ended up being substantially higher than originally estimated, except for the appliances. The cabinetry was over by $1700, the Caesarstone countertops by $900, the sink, faucet and backsplash tile: all over budget. So I had to make some decisions about what could stay and what had to go so that I could stay even close to my budget.

The cabinetry arrives and has to be stacked in the kitchen as it gets assembled.
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Part of what helped me to decide what would go was seeing the IKEA cabinetry being installed. When I saw the interior wall cabinetry in place, I realized just how crowded the kitchen space was going to get with countertops on both sides of the kitchen. The previous kitchen arrangement had always felt cramped because of the countertops on both sides, and I should have remembered that when planning for this project. So the exterior wall cabinetry that was going to extend into the living room is being returned to IKEA.

The only countertop I'm keeping on the exterior wall is a small piece near the bathroom. But upper cabinetry will be installed above the window for additional storage.
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What will remain on that side is a single small lower cabinet next to the bathroom and of course, all the upper cabinetry. Since the long countertop is going, there’s a funny cutout below the electrical panel on the exterior wall. I may eventually have the contractor close that space up, or maybe I’ll put the radiator there, since it needs to be relocated. The short cabinets that were going to hang from the ceiling between the kitchen and living room are also being returned to IKEA. I should still have plenty of storage space with all the new upper cabinetry.

This is the interior wall cabinetry for the oven (left), drawers (center) and sink/dishwasher (right).
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With fewer countertops, I was able to scale back on the amount of Caesarstone that needs to be ordered. However, I can no longer buy the stone from IKEA, because they won’t sell you less than 30 square feet, and now I need about half that much. So even though their price is very good, I’ll have to order the stone from somewhere else. Since no one stocks it in the city, the countertops will arrive later than expected. And since the backsplash tile can’t be installed until the countertop is installed, we’re now a bit behind schedule. And I’m still deciding on backsplash tile.

I’ve purchased a Delta stainless arc faucet and an Elkay stainless sink from Amazon, which will be delivered next week. I’m excited to be getting a sleek undermount sink, but it can’t be very deep, since the drawer dishwasher will be sitting right below it.

Gorgeous wood laminate flooring being installed in the kitchen and living room.
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The wood laminate flooring (Dream Home “Oceanside Plank”) arrived Tuesday and was installed in the kitchen and living room over the next two days. My contractor added two more layers of subfloor in the kitchen beforehand to line up the kitchen and living room floor so there wouldn’t have to be a saddle. Much nicer. The wood laminate is a gorgeous matte, gray-brown color. I’ll be very interested to see how it wears, especially in the kitchen, where things get dropped. I’m so happy with the flooring that I’ve decided to have it installed in my bedroom as well, someday when my finances recover from this kitchen project. It’s very pretty and I think having a single flooring throughout the small apartment will look much better than having old honey-colored parquet in the bedroom and new gray-brown wood laminate in the living room and kitchen.

My new summit refrigerator and some of the upper cabinetry on the interior wall.
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The refrigerator, cooktop and dishwasher arrived without a hitch on Thursday. (I finally settled on a Summit fridge that has the refrigerator section on top and the 3-drawer freezer on the bottom.) The oven delivery was held up for some reason, and was scheduled to arrive on Friday. Because I was teaching a class on Friday, I had given the appliance store strict instructions to call either my contractor or architect if there was any problem with delivery. That didn’t go so well. When the delivery person arrived at my building, no one answered the buzzer to let him in. So he found my cell number and called me, yelling at me repeatedly that he couldn’t get in. I told him I would immediately call the contractor and get him there, which the driver said was fine only if I paid him $150 in cash to wait for me to make the phone call. Extortion is a fine art in New York City, but I’m sorry to say the driver never got his money. My contractor showed up and the oven was delivered.

The translucent glass sample that will be used inside the bathroom door frame, allowing light into both rooms.
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Over the weekend my contractor left some translucent glass samples for me to choose from to be used for the sliding door in the bathroom. The frame for the door has been built and installed. It’s not a pocket door, but instead slides on the bathroom side of the wall.

The sliding door frame between the kitchen and bathroom has been constructed and installed.
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The bathroom tiles at the edge of the kitchen have been completely trashed from the reno work, and they will have to be repaired. There’s a step up to the bathroom (when the bathroom was renovated, the floor was raised to accommodate new plumbing.) So we’re discussing this week what it will look like. My temporary apartment has the same step up, so I’ve taken a photo of it and given it to my architect. I love the look of one long piece of marble above the wood piece.

Since the bathroom tiles near the kitchen (at left) were broken during the project, and since you have to step up into the bathroom, I've asked my contractor to try to repair it like the photo at right, which is from the temporary apartment where I'm staying.
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The project is going well and is close to on schedule, but I really want to move home now. It’s been great to have a temporary apartment, but I miss my own place and now that it’s starting to look so nice, I want to get back there! Next week is the final push towards the end. The remaining cabinetry and appliances will be installed, the kitchen and bathroom will be painted, and a new closet from IKEA will be installed in my living room, to replace the one that was removed to open up the kitchen into the living room. Lots of little things have to be done as well: switch plates for the outlets, moving the radiator, etc. But other than that, it’s almost over!!

Estimated time for project: 5 weeks
Time remaining: 1.5 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for installment #8 of Jennifer's Kitchen Renovation.

(Images and diary text: Jennifer Pade)

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Renovation Diary: Jennifer's Kitchen

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