31 October 2011

Kitchen Remodel: Settling In

A month has passed since we began moving into our remodeled kitchen. We're delighted, and still congratulating ourselves on what a good thing we did. We love the smooth-closing drawer glides, the large, single-bowl stainless sink, the gorgeous quartz countertop that hides crumbs almost too well, the subtle under-cabinet lighting, the west-facing window that brings late-afternoon sun into the room as well as casual sunset views. We appreciate the more subtle improvements, too, such as logically positioned light switches that make which-controls-what intuitively obvious, instead of the random trial it remained during our first six years in this house. 

The inconvenience of our make-do cooking arrangements has faded from our minds, as I knew it would, along with the dust and noise and general household upheaval. The more we inhabit and move around the new space, the more we internalize new patterns and workflows, the more we bond with this delightful addition to our house. 

We bought a new teak table that, at first glance, is almost indistinguishable in size and style from our old one, which dates from my first marriage. But it has two self-storing leaves and will expand to seat ten. We haven't yet tried it in that configuration. We also upgraded a couple of smaller items, like the toaster oven, which has been with us for at least half our wedded life, and the salad spinner, which predates it.

Once we knew the proportions of the dining table, we could hang our "big art" on the wall behind it. The peppers are an airbrush painting by Jose Ramirez, a draftsman Jerry used to work with. It once hung in the stairwell leading to the basement. Damned if we can remember how we got it up there in the first place. Our efforts to rehang it were almost fatal; after a couple of attempts, we gave up. There's plenty of room for it in the kitchen proper. Mary Carter's Chicken Lady, a birthday gift from Jerry that arrived just as we were starting to pack up in preparation for the remodel, is finally in her rightful place. 

After that, smaller accents and refinements went in. Note, par exemple, the curvy toaster-oven, the aloe vera plant behind the sink -- no kitchen should be without one, and I have plenty to give away; just ask  -- and the cat door leading to the garage (below). 

Obviously I didn't tidy up before taking this series of photos. Hey, we're living here, people. 

The full-height backsplash behind the stove looks better, I think, with a bird on it.  (The photo is by Bill Perry, a former neighbor in Northern California.) 

I'm still amazed at how big this kitchen is. Even with the table extended and the butcherblock on wheels in the middle of the room, there's plenty of space to traverse and work without bumping into drawers, walls, appliances or each other. 

The dog and cats enjoy hanging out on the new deck; those squirrels are so tantalizingly close now. We have a screen and storm door on order, as well as a couple of railing-mounted holders for the hummingbird feeder, wind chimes and whirligig that used to hang from the rafters of the old deck. Eventually we'll put up an awning or some other roofing-like arrangement, but that's a project for another season.

The major item remaining on our punch list is a new pull-out work surface for the Hoosier cabinet. The tin top on the original one has worn thin -- and in some places through -- and Jerry was inspired to ask Crowley's, the company that fabricated our counters, to use part of the remaining slab to make a replacement. With any luck that'll be finished by the end of this week. 

Meanwhile, Red Molly has continued her unbroken* streak: an egg a day since she began laying on October 4th (*except for the days immediately before and after her two double-yolkers). And we're down to our last three homegrown tomatoes. I guess fall is really here. 


Toni Mayer said...

The kitchen looks beautiful and functional. I love all the artwork. Enjoy it for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I love it. Looks good enough to cook in!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that was me, Beth!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful room for beautiful people! Love the teak table too. It DOES look very large. I know it's fun to cook in a nice open space.