Category Archives: Home Improvements

The Main Event: Kitchen Island

If our kitchen story had chapters, I think we’d be on chapter 24. Seriously, lots to piece together when it comes to an entire kitchen! I’ve shown you little snip-its of our island before, but today it gets its day in the sun.

As you know, our kitchen is one giant room, and it also houses our farmhouse dining table. It will also be home to a small sitting area as well as our entry bench and shelf. Therefore, we wanted an extra large island to marry all of these spaces together. It needed to be big. It needed to make a statement. And it needed to have character. So, I sketched out a design, and we worked closely with our amazing woodworker to make this piece come to life. I wanted the island to look like a piece of furniture, rather than just a predictable and massive rectangular cabinet.

kitchen island by Restored Style

kitchen island by Restored Style

kitchen island by Restored Style

As you can see, one side houses our microwave, our trash (large middle drawer), and the other drawers are where our pots and pans and other kitchen gadgets live. The other side has cabinets for all glassware/dishware that are seldomly used. We wanted this island to not only look good, but work hard too.

kitchen island by Restored Style

As for the top of our island, it’s custom built by our woodworker. It’s made out of maple wood and stained with a dark walnut stain. We chose butcher block because it brings warmth to the space, and we want this room to feel cozy, not cold.

kitchen island by Restored Style

How big is the island, you ask? It measures 69 inches x 51 inches. To give this big piece some character, we added planks to each side of the island, and “columns” that define the area where our bar stools will soon sit.

kitchen island by Restored Style

And as for the actual color of the island (since it was crazy sunny in our kitchen and every photo I took seems to show a different shade of blue/gray/green) its No. 26 down pipe from Farrow & Ball.

We adore the color (it actually looks more like this in person than what the “real life” photos portray) and would recommend it in a heartbeat! Last detail – the pulls are the duluth pulls from Restoration Hardware in oil-rubbed bronze.

You are probably thinking that I am holding out on you and not posting any large scale photos of the entire room. And  sadly, that’s true. I’m hesitant to show you anything half done, because you will be underwhelmed. I’ll roll bits and pieces out and when all is ready, I’ll take photos of the entire room and kitchen:).

 

Kitchen Update: Open Shelves

Morning!

I’ll continue rolling with the kitchen remodel  - let’s talk open shelves! Even though we love the look of open shelving in kitchens, we were a little hesitant to install them in our own kitchen because they aren’t super practical. Open shelves mean you see everything. And I mean, everything. But, because of where the windows were placed in our space, we didn’t have many options when it came to upper cabinets. After going back and forth, we ended up moving forward with open shelving. We had our cabinet guy custom make the shelves, as we wanted them to perfectly fit in between the windows.

The last decision we had to make when it came to open shelving was spacing. This element is crucial. We knew we wanted 18 inches from the counter to the first shelf, but we weren’t sure how many inches we wanted in between each shelf. To help us decide, we placed painter’s tape on the tile and lived with it for a few days.

open shelving in kitchen

open shelving in kitchen

open shelving in kitchen

When it came time for our cabinet guy to actually install the shelves, I must admit, I was nervous. You see, once you drill in to tile, there’s no going back. I felt good about our placement, but I wasn’t 100% certain because it’s hard to picture shelves when all you see is blue tape. I’m so, so happy to say that the shelf placement turned out swell, and we can now finally unpack our kitchen dishes! Here they are empty…

open shelving in kitchen

And here they are full…but NOT yet styled…

open shelving in kitchen

open shelving in kitchen

open shelving in kitchen

We still have loads of dishes to unpack so again, I haven’t arranged these shelves as I’d like, but it’s progress. And when you’re in the middle of a kitchen remodel, progress is huge:).

Cheers to a happy week, friends!

Mighty Marble

We chose carrara marble countertops. Are we crazy? Probably so. We just had to have them, despite the bad reputation they have when it comes to wear and tear (here’s a great post from Apartment Therapy on the PROS/CONS of white marble). The question was not did we want marble, but what kind/color did we want? Did we want a lot of white in our marble? Some gray? Lots of movement? The trick with selecting marble/granite/stone is that you only know when you see it. We looked at a number of different slabs like these…

white marble countertops

The one on the left has lots of veins, and the one on the right is very grey. Tough call. We actually went with a different slab that has a good mix of grey AND white. It looks like this…

marble countertops

We wanted a good amount of white in these countertops, as our island will be a dark wood butcher block material, so keeping things bright and cheery was important.

marble countertops

white marble countertops

white marble countertops

And yes, they are honed. Polished marble scratches easier, and we wanted to stay as far away from that as possible! They are also sealed, so I’m crossing my fingers that we don;t have any run-ins with stains and such. I’m sure we’ll have a few mishaps on the counter, but I’m going to try my best to keep it somewhat clean.  As for how to clean it, here are a few tips our lovely fabricators gave us (who I swear by – let me know if any of you Portanders want their info – de la tierra, inc.).

Do: Clean surfaces with pH neutral detergent/soap or stone-specific soap

Do: Thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing/wiping

Do: Blot up spills immediately; on marble, the polish or hone can be etched by water rings left from condensation on glasses and by acids (e.g. lemon juice, vinegar, etc.)

Don’t: Use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub and tile cleaners

Don’t: Use abrasive cleaners such as powder/dry cleansers or soft cleansers with abrasive particles

Per usual, I will of course keep you folks updated on how these counters wear. Next up…tile! But not before Christmas….cheers to a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Delight in the magic of the season!

Wood floors: stained + ready for action

Did you ever have so much going on in your brain that you feel like it’s only halfway functioning? My mind is like a bogged down computer and it’s running sloooooow. And that’s a shame because there’s no time to waste. We have a serious remodel on our hands.

Last I left you on the wood floor project was that the new floors had been installed and a stain choice needed to be made. After much debate, we chose the stain in the far left corner (closet to the photographer)…the lightest one. Who would’ve thought? I knew it would darken over time (so I didn’t want to go too dark), and I also know I’m not the cleanest of the bunch, so lighter seemed to fit us better. And of course, I loved the look as well.

Just to recap the floor journey, we went from this…

To this…

To this…

I am happy to report we are in LOVE! Whew. It truly was a stressful decision, but both Kyle and I (without talking to each other) landed on the same stain color, so we were hopeful we’d both be happy with the end result. The floors look a little red in the first photo, but I can assure you they are not. The floors also look dusty, and I can assure you they are. The final seal won’t go on the floors until all the renovating is complete (so we can cover any mishaps that might happen in the next remodeling phase) and once the top coat is on, they will look shiny and new:). The folks at Union Floor Co. did a killer job and we are incredibly thankful for their attention to detail and for crafting a customized stain that’s perfect for us.

What does this room currently look like? A mess. One big dusty mess.

Gotta keep it real, right? Remodeling is hectic and messsssy.

Next up: paint updates! No rest for the wicked.