Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Room By Room: The Kitchen

On to the kitchen!

Before the remodeling this kitchen was, in a word, appalling.  Not only did it still have the original 1984 oven and dishwasher, but that year also appeared to be the last time they had been cleaned.  The inside of the oven was literally black with burned drippings and grease.  Rotting food was left in the cabinets and under the sink.  In the "before" picture you see a nice refrigerator and microwave; the previous owners took both of those with them when they moved out.  The industrial carpet (yes-- carpet in a kitchen) was badly stained, and the previous owners had cut mats of the same carpet and simply laid them over the worst of the stains in an attempt to disguise them.  The grout on the tiled kitchen counter was black with mildew.  A ceiling dropped eight inches lower than the adjoining space meant I could reach up and easily touch it with my fingertips.  A small pantry, message center and oddly shaped coat closet lined the wall that led to the mudroom door, and Jeremy was completely unable to fit through the narrow entrance into the mudroom beyond.  The microwave area (had there been a microwave) was completely inaccessible to anyone in a wheelchair, as was the sink and cooktop.  Slideshow of the progression after the jump!

Both Jeremy and I love to cook, and after having only used the remodeled kitchen for a couple of days we can already tell it's perfect for practical use.  Signature Custom Homes changed the shape of the kitchen from a small 'u' to a much larger 'l' with an island to open up the space to the rest of the house.  They raised the ceiling up to the height of the dining room (formerly the family room) which makes the room feel much larger.  They eliminated the coat closet, messaging center and pantry, moved over the entry to the mudroom into the space left once the removal was complete, and widened it to a three-foot doorway that Jeremy can easily roll through.  A much larger pantry was built in the mudroom area. 

The cabinetry has easily been doubled, and Jeremy has plenty of lower cabinets to keep all of his coffee and bread making supplies in.  The gorgeous island has a 5' by 3' lowered roll-under work area for him and a 6' by 5' area of workspace at standard height for me.  The oven is located so that Jeremy can take something hot out and transfer it to the island without having to roll anywhere while juggling hot dishes.  The cook top and sink are both roll-under for easy access, and they look great! 

The dishwasher drawer is wonderful because it's much easier to access than a typical dishwasher.  The same goes for the new refrigerator-- with its bottom freezer drawer and French doors, Jeremy can get to most of the fridge without trouble.  The microwave is built into the island, so it's very easy to get to as well.

The granite countertops and tile backsplash are both gorgeous and have the added advantage of being low maintenance.  New can lights and under-counter illumination help make the room much brighter, and the new garden window is the perfect place for me to start seedlings or keep potted herbs (provided our cat Loki doesn't find them and decide to shred them with his teeth-- keep your fingers crossed for me).  The high-arc faucet has a pull-down spout and a one-handle lever design; Jeremy's already mentioned a couple of times to me how easy it is to use in his chair and how much he likes it.  He's also really enjoying the gas cook top-- it's lowered to the perfect height for him to use and he's already cooked his breakfast burritos on it several times.

And while it's not an accessible feature I can't help but point out that beautiful vent hood; that's actually wood faux painted to look like metal!  If I hadn't seen it happen I wouldn't have believed it.  New paint, millwork and floors finish out the amazing transformation.

The kitchen is now perfectly set up for both cooking and entertaining, and I can't wait to cook my first dinner for guests in here!  Tomorrow I'll be talking about the dining room, but now I have to grab a snack.  All of this kitchen talk has made me hungry.

~Jess

6 comments:

Mary said...

Even though I helped pack it up, I didn't realize just how much china got sent your way. Gooood lord, that's insane. That aside, the kitchen is amaaaazing. One question - while the microwave is obviously wonderfully accessible to Jer in his chair, is it a little uncomfortable for you to use it? It looks like it's about thigh-high when standing, and I'm picturing you bending waaay over to use it.

Kristin said...

gorgeous!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

With every new room I see I am more amazed. So happy for you guys.

And glad you are posting so many pictures. My DH is an architect and in all the trade magazines he's gotten over the years, I've never seen an article showing anything like what you have.

You may become a great reference site!

leah said...

The hood is WOOD? Wow! I had to watch the slide show to see it. They did an amazing job with the paint!

So, when is dinner (g)?

xraevision said...

Your kitchen is totally awesome! Perhaps, along with Medical Mondays, you'll find time to post the odd Foodie Friday?!! I'm sure you'll be inspired to create new tantalizing dishes, that is, if you can tear yourself from the library!

Jess said...

Yes, Mary. We now have A LOT of china. Especially bowls. Tapas for everyone!

I do have to bend over to use the microwave, but it's not as bad as you might think-- plates are still pretty easy to slide in and out. It's still a lot easier for me to bend over than it is for Jer to try and balance a hot plate full of food while standing. When we're old and gray or if I throw out my back or something and can't bend over any more, we could always buy a small countertop model for me-- they're pretty cheap and goodness knows we have enough counter space to put one on. But in the meantime I'm perfectly happy doing a little bending. And that's about the only thing I have to bend over in the kitchen for-- since we have two sets of dishes now we just put one down low and the other up high. What goes on the table depends entirely on which of us is setting it. Perfect!

~Jess

 
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