Jennifer's Kitchen: The Last Week

Renovation Diary

The shiny green backsplash tile goes beautifully with the other finishes in the kitchen and adds just a tiny pop of color to the neutral space.
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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.

It’s great to be home! One of the reasons I put off this renovation project for so long was knowing that I’d have to live in a temporary place while the renovation was going on — and what a hit to the budget that would be. But for me, there was simply no other way to do it. If you can find another way, I’d definitely recommend against adding temporary housing to the cost to your budget!

After four days of only one working electrical outlet in the apartment and no kitchen plumbing, everything is now turned on and connected. Power! Water! I absolutely love the deep Elkay sink and Delta arc faucet in the kitchen. I purchased the faucet from Amazon, sight-unseen, because I was in a hurry and wanted to have everything finished. When it arrived, the faucet was much larger than I had thought it would be. Once it was installed, it looked great, but I wouldn’t recommend buying something without seeing it in person first! Rookie mistake on my part. I don’t know why I thought that would be ok. Seeing the new pieces installed, I don’t know how I lived for so long with such a tiny Barbie sink and faucet. This sink is HUGE in comparison!

Since I ordered the faucet without seeing it, it was much bigger than I expected. But it works!
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The backsplash tile and grout arrived last week and my contractor spent a day installing it, in a staggered pattern. It’s a gorgeous spring-green glass that reflects the natural light coming in through the window. The grout is slightly gray and complements the tile nicely. I think the gray countertops, stainless appliances and green tile go together so well. Very glad I got the green tile instead of the gray-blue!

The undercabinet lighting and undercabinet plug molds have been installed. The lighting looks great, and I have so many outlets now! There are dimmers on both the recessed ceiling lights and the undercabinet lights. Everyone always recommends undercabinet lighting, but you don’t really realize how useful it is for task lighting until you have it. And, of course, the dimmers give you complete control over how much light you want depending on the time of day. Love it!

The dishwasher of my dreams (for an apartment of this size.) Small and quiet -- it's perfect!
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The Fisher & Paykel drawer dishwasher is terrific. It’s super quiet and it has a “fast” setting which is about half the time of the regular setting. The single-drawer model is perfect for a kitchen of this size, and it has several moveable interior parts to help you rack your dishes in different ways. I can already see that I’ll be using this a lot.

My contractor built this custom cabinet in the empty space below the electrical panel. Perfect for storing vases!
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Since I decided against keeping the exterior wall cabinetry, there was still the odd cutout shape under the electrical panel to figure out. The contractor recommended closing up the space all the way to the floor, which makes perfect sense. But I wanted to make the most of the space, so after he closed up the space, my contractor added a cabinet door at the bottom and installed two shelves in it. So now I have a little cabinet near the floor that I’m using to store vases and other miscellaneous small things. It’s kind of unexpected-looking, but it makes good use of the space and makes up for some of the storage space I lost when the cabinetry was returned.

Then the team moved the radiator next to the new little cabinet. But when they moved it, it wasn’t pitched right, so it started making CRAZY loud banging sounds that went on all night. The guys came back on Friday to fix it and now everything is quiet again. Next month my contractor will build a custom box around the radiator using the same glossy IKEA cabinet fronts so it will match the rest of the kitchen.

The best idea I contributed to this project has to be the drawer below the oven. I can store baking pans and other wide, flat things in this great drawer.
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I mentioned in the last installment that I purchased a drawer at IKEA to go beneath my new GE speed oven. When the team installed the oven, I noticed that there was about seven or eight inches of empty space in the cabinet below it. They were planning to close up that space and put a kick plate on it. But what a perfect spot to add more storage! Luckily, IKEA makes a 30”-wide drawer that fit perfectly there. It’s now one of my favorite elements of the new kitchen, a low, wide drawer where I can store baking pans, cutting boards, oven mitts and other similar items.

There are a few things still outstanding (electrical panel cover needs to be painted, still waiting for bathroom door pull to arrive, etc.) but every similar project probably has a quickly diminishing punchlist at this point. Now that I have all of these new, beautiful appliances, a huge amount of extra storage and an efficiently reorganized space, I really wonder how I lived with my old kitchen for so long. I’m really going to enjoy this great new space!

Estimated time for project: 7 weeks
Time remaining: 0 weeks

This is the last week of work for Jennifer's renovation! If you haven't already, check out the other posts in the series to get caught up — and stay tuned for the Big Reveal.

(Images and diary text: Jennifer Pade)