Friday, February 13, 2015

I have no title. But I redid my kitchen last year, so there's that.

Whoa - what happened?! Work, that's what. I've had the distinct honor of conducting a bunch of interviews (like, I'm up to 26 - each of those has been at least half an hour, and most of them more than that) for some articles I'm writing and have met some really cool people. For the first time in a long time, I actually almost started hyperventilating before a call. Once we get talking, though, I'm fine. And, as it turns out, people who have risen just about as far as they can within their industry can still be incredibly gracious, humble and fun to talk to, not to mention that they are inspiring. This whole experience even motivated me to create a LinkedIn profile - I'm so serious about my career now. Also, look forward to obnoxious name-dropping as the opportunity presents itself.

But actually what I wanted to document was the kitchen remodel we orchestrated last fall. Joel and I talked about doing granite in the kitchen when we bought the house. And then we blinked and it was seven years later! It's fun to have grand plans and pin all sorts of great ideas but, turns out, it actually takes money to make those plans a reality.

Over the summer, probably on one of our long bike rides, Joel and I talked about things we'd like to do around the house. When he said, "Well, I think doing the kitchen counters is going to be the best investment," my heart beat a little faster (not just because we were probably climbing) and I had to tell myself be cool, Sarah, be cooooool, before saying, "Oh yeah? You think we could?" like I wasn't also sort of holding my breath and mentally demolishing our island.

I decided to do NO research until the kids went back to school, but the day after that, off I went to the granite fabricators with my mom in tow (she just happened to be in town and has done her own kitchen remodel, so she's kind of an expert). People who know me well know that I love a good research project, comparing and contrasting companies, their offerings and customer reviews. Soon I had a lovely spreadsheet and all sorts of appointments booked. As anyone with a home improvement project knows, simply replacing the countertops quickly ballooned into leveling our island (requiring moving some electrical); replacing the ovens, dishwasher and cooktop; piping and venting for gas; painting the cabinets; replacing our light fixture; and, of course, replacing the countertops. (sidenote: I hired most of this work out - I know my limits as a diy-er and I also know that such a high-traffic area requires professional work)

It was a whirlwind of activity and I loved it. I also really really really love my new kitchen. We knew we wanted to do a lighter granite with darker cabinets and I'm so glad we did. As my friend said, "This granite is great - it hides all sorts of things. Just think of all the time you're saving by not wiping them down eight times a day." Wait, was that passive aggressive? I just got that...

But seriously, I'm in love with my gas cooktop, I'm in love with my new ovens, my counters are so fun to use (and they're BIGGER now that I don't have that stupid raised non-functional bar part) and my dishwasher actually *GASP* cleans my dishes. It's a miracle.

Friends have asked me who my general contractor was and I have to laugh because, ahem, have you MET ME? Type A personality, I'll be my own GC thankyouverymuch. I arranged for everyone and most of the work took place within a week and a half. Also, I wired the pendant myself because I neglected to notice, when ordering it, that it plugged in. Who makes a pendant that PLUGS in? For future reference, check that out. Unless you like to narrow your eyes, purse your lips, and vow to go all Bob Vila on the thing. Which I did. Is there anything that makes you feel like more of a rebel than pulling out wire cutters and, literally, cutting the cord?! Probably. But still, this was about as mutinous as I get.

Let's get to my super high-quality phone pictures. From the side, you see the dumb raised bar area which isn't really usable. Also, whoever thought edging the counters in wood should get the architectural equivalent of a Razzie. Or at least lifelong mockery. I can see no purpose for it.

Ahhhh - this is so much better, right? It's so smooth and calming. I like to pet it. Also, the sink is so nice and deep. See that tiny little faucet next to the actual faucet? No, it's not a soap dispenser. It's an instant hot water dispenser! Hot chocolate, teas or, my new favorite, brewing chocolate at the touch of a button/lever. It's beautiful. Oh yeah, I also installed that. For anyone who claims they can't get help at Home Depot, I know the key: do your hair and makeup, then walk into the store holding two pieces of plumbing (washers, copper tubing, a wrench, take your pick!) with a giant look of confusion on your face (not difficult, given the location). I'm all for advancing the rights of women, and I'm all for using womanliness to get what I want.

From the family room, so much wood-colored wood:

Ahh. See my pedant? I love the soft light it emits.

From my computer corner, why does Albus look guilty?
I think he's embarrassed by how shaggy he's become.

Since we took out the built-in microwave to install a legitimate hood, we had to put the microwave somewhere. We chose the corner counter that collected junk. It's working out nicely. The flat island really opens up the kitchen into the family room. Please disregard how messy the fridge and bookshelves are - this is the house of a family. And we LIVE in it.
Also, rest assured that these pictures were taken after I had cleaned the kitchen. It is rarely this clean. In fact, I think the sinks are actually full of dishes waiting to be washed, and I probably went to bed deciding to do it in the morning.

So that was my fall project. I'd love to do something in my bathrooms but since that also takes, you know, money, that will have to wait. Plus, I've got more interviews to conduct and articles to write.


NancyO said...

What are the interviews for?

Alyson said...

Your kitchen turned out gorgeous! Your mom told me about it as I was lamenting to her about wanting to level our two-tiered island. I love the new look!