Oh this kitchen. Thiskitchenthiskitchenthiskitchen. For all the pantry love that I felt when we first looked at this property, there was little to none for the kitchen. It is a room tucked away from the living space. It has no exterior window. The pantry is full of them but the kitchen has zero. There is the one over the sink that at one time looked out to the back yard, but an addition off the back of the house has changed that. During the warmer months I can open the door to the side porch, that let's in a little more light.
The kitchen as we purchased it was a bit of a hodge-podge. There was the permanent, probably original cabinets on the sink side of the room with a grey but forgettable laminate counter. The counter I'm sure was not original.
The other side was made up of a portable island and cabinets that were different from the opposite side. As you can see from the photo, the break-up of the two types of counter space made it an awkward workspace. Look closely and you can see the wall above the island is not flush, there are two bump-outs. Behind those bump-outs are pipes that carry the plumbing to the second floor bathroom. The house did not have a bathroom (aside from one in the basement) when it was first built. What is now the bathroom was probably a fourth bedroom at one time. Adam built out that portion of the wall so we could add cabinets and a counter that would fit smoothly into the space. If you'd like to see a few shots of what it took to make the wall workable, check out these photos here, here, and here.
And that floor...I admit it looks fairly benign in the photo, but trust me, it was stained and yellowed and just had a really weird odor. I also had a strong feeling there was a wood floor underneath. It had to go.
Typical for an older house, there was more than one layer of linoleum to be pulled up. It was such a disgusting, messy job but indeed, we found those wood floors. However, we first had to deal with the asbestos that was left behind from the bottom flooring layer. It took days (maybe weeks) to remove it all. Because it would have been very dangerous to turn all of that asbestos into dust with the sander, we had to remove it differently. What worked for us was to take large towels soaked in boiling hot water and lay them over an area of the floor. We would let it sit for quite a while, the heat and the moisture would turn the asbestos into mud essentially, then we would carefully scrape and scoop up the slop and dispose of it (the dump had a special place for it). It took forever but it was the safest way to do it. Once all the asbestos was removed we sanded and refinished the floors.
One Subaru can hold two layers of linoleum and sub-flooring from one kitchen.
We definitely went the DIY/Ikea route when designing our kitchen.
Because this room has little natural light, we painted it a very light color (Navajo White with White trim and cabinets). I love the warmth of wood and needed a little more than the newly refinished floors could offer. Ikea wooden counter tops were the perfect solution. They are easy to maintain, washing them with soap and water and oiling every few weeks with food grade butcher block oil. Adam sands them every few years. Under cabinet lighting (Ikea) really warms the space too. I replaced the glass shelves with wooden shelves and took the doors off the upper cabinets. Lately I've been thinking about putting them back on, just for a change.
We replaced the older stove that came with the house and on the newly surfaced wall we were able to add more open shelving, cabinets and counter space. Considering our small galley kitchen, I think we wound up with a decent amount of workspace. Not pictured is the stool that usually sits under the counter where the overhang is. We do not have room for a table in our kitchen so Adam designed this overhang for Emily to sit at the counter for a snack or something of the sort while I was busy preparing meals. This tiny little detail has been so wonderful to have. Of course, people always love to sit on those steps too! Including sweet Sukha.
The sink came with the house and is nothing fancy but the size is incredible! I can easily fit a cookie sheet flat in the basin to be washed, Why would sinks ever be made too small to accommodate common cook and bakeware pieces?
There's a little peek at the floors...
All in all we've made it work for us. It is by no means a dream kitchen, but it is one that we put tremendous work and love into. And over the years, it has produced countless meals that have nurtured and sustained us, and for that we are eternally grateful.