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Friends! Cohorts! The deed hath been done and I almost can’t believe I’m saying these words after the saga this house has been, but…BLUESTONE COTTAGE HAS A KITCHEN! Wanna see wanna see? Because I’m really excited to show you.
Real quick: let’s just take a second to remember where this space started.
And now? I think we’ve made some strides.
This is the kind of house that EASILY could have ended up as a tear-down—it had not a stitch of plumbing to speak of, no heat system, barely an electric system (entirely replaced now), no insulation, broken windows, busted-in doors, major structural rot, YOU NAME IT and this house had it. So this is really one of those moments that makes me so glad I got to it first, and have stuck with it through some…challenging, let’s say…times.
The floor in this corner was so rotted it had collapsed, and there were plants growing up through the crawlspace and through the window, which sat open for who KNOWS how long. I like a challenge, EVIDENTLY.
Can! We! Even!
I’m not trying to sound like I’m gloating. And I so rarely feel this way about my own work, because by the time it’s done I’m so sick of it that I’ve lost all objectivity and just want to move on. But this kitchen? I adore this kitchen. I want to live in this kitchen. It’s the cutest kitchen I ever did make. It feels really special.
I mean, right? I truly think it hits that elusive balance between cute and practical—there’s ample storage, especially for such a small space, and it feels like such a super functional, efficient place to cook a meal. And in spite of its small size, totally comfortable for a couple of people to be working in at the same time.
I think the best way to feel at the end of a project is proud of the product AND the process, and that really rings true in this room. I try to approach things with an eye toward reusing as much as I can, both because I hate contributing to the waste stream (an unavoidable aspect of renovation, but you can mitigate!) and because I think it gives the space some soul. This antique yellow pine floor was salvaged from a different area in the house, and Juliet and I worked really hard on cleaning up the boards, removing nails, re-laying the whole thing in this room, and refinishing it. It has so much patina and really looks like it’s always been there. That makes me so happy!
The beadboard around the lower half of the walls is a similar story! That all started as exterior shiplap sheathing on a house I worked on several years ago, and it felt so great to pull it out of my garage, mill a bead onto it, and reinstall it here as a unique and custom wall treatment. The Valspar Cabinet Enamel paint keeps it from going too far in that conspicuously “reclaimed” direction, but it has so much texture and marks of age and, ugh! I’m so pleased with it! It’s even a little better than I pictured when I stacked all that stuff up in my garage years ago. No brag. (brag brag brag)
All of the door and window casings and sills are re-purposed 1x moldings ripped out of this house during demo (not original, but perfectly good wood nonetheless!). Of course the cabinetry is all new, but otherwise—as far as wood is concerned—all I bought for this whole space was 3 sheets of plywood, a couple 8′ lengths of base shoe, and a couple pieces of cove molding to finish off the top of the cabinetry around the fridge. That feels like a real accomplishment in my book!
Of course, plenty of things got replaced—really by necessity and because of code requirements—so I did my best to choose those things sensitively. The old back door, for instance, was really far-gone, but has been replaced with a very similar wood one. I came *THIS CLOSE* to losing that window next to the door completely (didn’t feel necessary, and the size and style was oddly mis-matched with the ones on the adjacent wall), but I’m so glad I decided to keep it and just match it to the others instead! The new windows are custom and from Pella’s Architect Series—not the cheapest path to replacement windows, but I think they’re SO worth it. The wood interior feels as authentic as a new window can, and I LOVE that they make a sash lock and sash lift that looks authentically old. Sash locks on new windows tend to be so dinky and flat. Of course, they’re energy-efficient and have these fancy modern amenities, like hidden hardware on the back of the sashes that allows them to tilt inwards for easy cleaning! You know how much I love an old window, but man…modern technology can be cool, I admit, particularly when restoring the originals just isn’t a practical option.
SPEAKING OF modern technology, I’m extremely happy with the selection of appliances I was able to easily compare and order from Lowe’s to get the best bang for my buck and give this space all the modern amenities I think anyone could ask for—all without demolishing my budget! This Whirlpool stove is nicer than I even expected (and my expectations were high!)—I love the clean look, the fact that the knobs are metal, and the grates that pivot upward for easy cleaning of the cooktop around the burners. It has a removable griddle/grill thing for the middle of the cook top, the oven is self-cleaning, that digital screen connects to WiFi and CAN GIVE YOU COOKING INSTRUCTIONS IN REAL TIME?! The future is here.
I also went with Whirlpool for the fridge, and that thing is NICE. Given the size, this room really demanded a counter-depth fridge, and since this is a house I’m hoping to sell, I wanted a few appealing upgrades over the nice but basic HiSense fridge I put in the Burgevin Gardens kitchen. This Whirlpool model has french doors up top (nice for small spaces, since the open door doesn’t cut the room in half!), a pull-out bottom freezer, and an ice maker and water dispenser! I like that both of those things are inside the fridge/freezer themselves, which keeps the exterior styling super simple and clean. I’m also extremely jealous because my own fridge has none of these things.
Cobbler’s kids have no shoes kinda thing. Don’t worry about it.
While we’re on the topic of appliances, I can’t believe how much I ended up really loving this range hood! How to treat the range hood drove me a little crazy throughout (sometimes you gotta just feel it! figure it out when you figure it out!), and I got so caught up in building a custom enclosure for an insert-style appliance (like in the Burgevin kitchen) that it took me a WHILE to remember (and a gentle nudge from Juliet) that the option existed to just…buy something? A nice, simple, functional, appliance that looks like an appliance? What a concept!
So I ordered this Cosmo range hood and it’s awesome! The 3-speed fan is really strong, lights are nice and bright (although I might swap them for warmer LEDs), I love the simple styling, I love that it doesn’t have a big brand name or digital display, and I love that a lot of people have now told me they have the same one and it’s been going strong for years! And installation was a breeze. Also! It may be hard to tell, but in my (admittedly limited) research on range hoods, I’ve gathered that getting a range hood the same width as your stove is actually not recommended—it should be wider! So this is a 36″ hood over a 30″ range. I also just think it looks better proportioned on that wall which MIGHT have been the main motivation. Have we met? It’s how I do.
IN! ADDITION! I almost neglected to mention the dishwasher because it’s so inconspicuous! Between the sink and the stove is this Bosch panel-ready dishwasher, which is also super nice. I haven’t been able to run a cycle yet because the sink supply lines still have to be tied in down in the basement (exciting details I know!!), but I’ve also heard from a lot of people with the same dishwasher who, like, passionately love it. To a point that’s slightly unnerving.
I didn’t end up doing it—and forgive me for not being able to find what brilliant person suggested this, but I feel it should be shared—but you could totally make a little faux painted wood kick-plate for the base of the dishwasher to tie it into the adjacent cabinets. Just stick it on with double-sided velcro for easy removal if you need to get the appliance out! I was shook. Genius.
Of course, I must at least mention the insane carrara marble that almost didn’t happen. Bear in mind that this whole kitchen was renovated during this complicated moment of a global pandemic, and my original stone fabricator had to cancel, and it was a whole thing. I ended up finding another local fabricator and choosing the slab from a picture over email. I’m so happy and relieved that it worked out. There’s really nothing like marble—I know there are much more durable and maintenance-free manmade options now that approximate the look of marble, but I’m sorry. It’s just not the same. Marble is soft and quite porous, meaning that it can chip and stain easily—my experience is that it goes through an awkward phase once it gets that first water ring or whatever, but after a couple of years it all evens out into a beautiful patina’d natural stone that could make this grown man cry. It was a splurge, certainly, but I tried to save in other areas (like reusing so much salvage!) that helped make the pricetag an easier pill to swallow. It feels so nice to give this modest little mess of a house that kind of upscale class.
Speaking of areas where I saved, the backsplash! All I did was mix super basic, super affordable 4″x8″ and 4″x4″ white subway tile to create this simple pattern, and I think it’s appropriately modest and classic but ALSO a little unique and special. The entire wall of tile including grout, mastic, spacers, and caulk was under $200. I’m so happy with it and remain pretty smug about my format-mixing pattern thing. Juliet and I made a whole video about the thinking behind the tile and other patterns, which is available over on Patreon!
Shall we discuss the insanely beautiful sink? I thought you’d never ask. This is the nicest sink I’ve installed in any kitchen I’ve ever renovated, and it is just beautiful. It’s made in America by our favorite staple of American plumbing fixtures, Kohler. Having gotten the opportunity to visit their factories in Wisconsin several years ago, Kohler will always hold a special place in my heart. This 30″ wide (generous for a kitchen this size!) Whitehaven sink is solid cast iron with a beautiful, slightly irregular enameled surface, and should last approximately forever. I know the apron-front farmhouse style has become a little ubiquitous nowadays, but if ever a kitchen demanded one…this one just DOES. It’s gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
I paired it with this super-simple black pull-down faucet from Delta, which I knew I liked because I used it in the Burgevin kitchen too! It’s really well-made, quite affordable, and the single lever and pull-down sprayer keeps it super functional. This kitchen would look great with a beautiful unlacquered brass antique-style faucet, but honestly? I have a hard time justifying the cost of that for the functional pay-out. I’d rather just keep it simple, practical, and modern.
Let’s talk lighting! During the day, there’s a lot of natural light in this room, but at night the lighting is SO nice and cozy! Particularly with just the sconces turned on, you can just picture sneaking down in the middle of the night for a snack. It’s just so homey!
I’ve discussed before that Lowe’s has a ton of truly great lighting options, and once again they came through! These sconces feel so classic, and they’re really affordable and nicely made. That shade is so cute, and the milk-glass means I’m free to use energy-efficient LED bulbs without being able to tell that they aren’t incandescents.
Even though the metal finishes are different, I think they pair really nicely with the semi-flushmount ceiling fixtures (visible in other photos above!), also from Lowe’s! Love them, love them so much. The shape on that shade is killer—as you know the milk-glass makes me happy, and I like that they aren’t quite a classic schoolhouse light but have that vibe. The fixture actually came as a brushed nickel kind of finish, but I followed Kim and Scott’s Rub ‘n Buff tutorial to give them this rich brass finish, which admittedly takes them to a whole other level in my humble opinion.
Oh! Oh! Oh! Hardware!! Aside from the range hood debacle, I had such a difficult time making up my mind about the cabinet hardware! The Lowe’s selection is bonkers, and so I ended up ordering enough of like 6 different options so I could make a last-minute decision and have everything on hand. I ended up going with these Amerock cup pulls in a champagne brass finish (a little softer and less golden than normal brass), and I paired them with these Brainerd knobs in the same finish. Both come in various other finishes, as well! I really love the exposed flathead screws on the cup pulls, and that they feel classic but a little more fresh and interesting than your basic, traditional cup pull. Love.
I’ve talked about some of the woodwork already, but I guess let’s just take a second to discuss the window molding! You may correctly note that it doesn’t match the door molding, which seems weird but I think it feels right in this house! I ended up going really simple with a 3″ casing, a 1/4″ applied bead on the interior edges (which approximates the look of an old window stop, even though new windows don’t need those), and of course a sill and an apron. I’m a strong believer that a sill (technically called a “stool” on the interior of a house, but I simply refuse to update my vocabulary) and an apron absolutely make or break window molding, particularly when you’re aiming for vintage good looks. Using the same molding on all four sides is just simply not the same; I’m sorry! Using straight cuts in the upper corners rather than a miter gives it even more of an authentic old-school look. These are the things I think about, because I’m an absolute crazy person.
Eagle eyes out there may notice that the aprons on the two windows on that back wall differ in size by almost a full inch! The original windows weren’t actually level with each other, and ya know what? WHO CARES. These are the little things that can trip you up and make you crazy during a project, but really just aren’t noticeable when all is said and done. Similarly—and it pains me to admit this—the outlets aren’t exactly level across that wall. Ha! I didn’t notice until it was too late, and again…it just isn’t important enough to get worked up over. We’re here for a good time not a long time, folks.
I don’t really even know what else to say, and there are only so many angles to photograph this room from, haha! I love it so very much, and knowing that I can put in a whole-ass kitchen during a global pandemic by myself (save for the occasional helping hand from Juliet, Edwin doing the drywall hang and tape, and the stone guy) feels pretty good. Kitchens are the most multi-faceted part of most houses, so having this done makes the rest of the house feel SO much more approachable. I can’t wait to finally get this thing done, occupied, and off my plate as a project!
SO! What did it all cost? Let’s try to break down this budget nice n’ simple. I’m not including demo, framing, rough electric, and plumbing work since those were whole-house kinda deals, and I don’t know how to break it out individually by room. Overall, though, I think this budget is PRETTY DARN GOOD considering everything that went into this space!
Reclaimed yellow pine flooring from the house: $0
Flooring cleats, leftover from past projects: $0
Sandpaper and floor sander rental: $104.58
Bona ClassicSeal and Traffic HD polyurethane, leftover from past projects: $0
Rockwool Comfortbatt R-15: $100.08
Primer, Walls: 1 Gallon Valspar Drywall Primer: $10.43
Primer, Woodwork1 Gallon Valspar Bonding Primer: $24.69
Beige: 1 Gallon Valspar Cabinet Enamel, Satin (Country Charm): $51.28
Walls/Ceiling: 1 Gallon Valspar Signature Paint, Flat (Wedding Cake): $28.48
Doors and Radiator: 1 Quart HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams Everlast exterior paint, semi-gloss (Dark Oasis): $24.68
Reclaimed beadboard walls: $0
Mold/Mildew-Resistant Drywall: $169.78
Tape and mud, leftover from past projects: $0
Labor to hang, tape, and mud: $650
WINDOWS AND DOORS
3 Pella Architect Series Double-Hung Windows (custom order): $1,884.00
Fir Exterior Door: $125.00
Cascadia Huntley Farmhouse Semi-Flushmount Pendants (2): $230.40
Cascadia Huntley 1-Light Farmhouse Vanity Light (2): $140.40
CABINETRY AND MILLWORK
~28 sq. feet Carrara Marble, fabricated and installed: $3,041.00
I didn’t factor in every nail, screw, paint sample, rubber anchor, etc., so let’s just throw in $500 to account for all that stuff.
GRAND TOTAL: $16,202.23
Lastly I just want to shout out a HUGE thank you to all the people I know and don’t know at Lowe’s for making this all possible. I couldn’t have done it without the store employees (like family at my local store!), delivery workers, and everyone at the Lowe’s PR team! This particular project was a big ask, and I’m so beyond grateful that the Lowe’s team took a leap on me and let me run wild here. Working with Taylor and the team at Lowe’s has been a singular highlight of my bloggy career, and I just can’t express my appreciation and gratitude enough. Truly.