With the Fall 2009 Kitchen Cure in full swing, and with this week focusing on special projects, we have perhaps the most perfectly timed kitchen tour for you today. This tour comes from reader Daniel, who "inadvertently" started his own kitchen cure a few months ago. He wanted to just take care of one small problem: a cracked floor. Well, this repair ballooned into a much larger project, but the end result is a marked improvement! Read on for the before and after story (and photos!) of Daniel's Cure-inspired budget remodel.
I inadvertently started my kitchen cure a few months ago. It started with just wanting to remedy one nagging problem in my kitchen, replacing the floor. The ceramic tile floor had been installed over the wrong substrate allowing the subfloor to flex and subsequently crack the tiles and grout. The tiles were constantly moving underfoot when you walked across them.
My intention was to pull up the tile and refinish the existing hardwood beneath. Unfortunately the existing hardwood couldn't be salvaged and I had to scramble to find a new floor material. I settled on an ebonized oak laminate floor. I had always wanted an ebonized floor and had I salvaged the existing floors I would have painted them black too.
As with most projects, one small repair just opened the door to many more. The new black floors made the entire space feel cave-like. I decided I wanted to transform my kitchen into a place I'd enjoy working in. I embarked on a mission to organize and brighten the space.
My budget was limited so the existing cabinets and countertops needed to remain. I installed pull-out cabinet organizers in the base cabinets, including a trash/recycling bin. I brightened the entire space with a fresh bright coat of paint. I even added commercial open shelves above the refrigerator and woven baskets above the cabinets over the stove for storage. The space is tall, so it made sense to maximize the space vertically for storage. A new step ladder tucks neatly away behind the refrigerator. I personalized the space with some artwork over the sink and Thai screens in the windows which add privacy and textile printing blocks which pick up the floor color perfectly.
I want to thank AT for inspiring me to make these changes. There were so many posts that inspired everything from the new floor to the open shelves and the use of color and accents. I have joined the Kitchen Cure as well. Although I feel I have a huge head start, there are many unseen areas I'm ready to conquer now.
Kitchen Tour Questionnaire
What's your cooking style?
I am a novice cook. I fell out of cooking for so long and am now getting back into it. The foods I enjoy have changed a lot too so I'm learning new things. I love Asian cuisine, especially Thai dishes. Also, I like to bake, especially pies.
What inspires your kitchen?
I wanted to create a space that was bright and cheerful that would inspire me to cook and where I would enjoy spending time.
Favorite tool or element:
I love my Emile Henry baking dishes. I started purchasing one piece a year when Williams-Sonoma sold a special seasonal color each fall. Unfortunately they have since discontinued doing this. I use the mixing bowls and casserole dish a lot and absolutely love the pie dishes.
Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
On Apartment Therapy I once read a post about not apologizing for your cooking. As a novice cook I really try to keep this in mind! It takes courage (for me at least) to try something new and put it on the table open for critique; why apologize for that.
Biggest challenge in your kitchen:
The placement of the refrigerator is a bit awkward. It seems that in 1927 refrigerators must have been much smaller. Turning the refrigerator 90 degrees did help me gain more space to work at the counter although the window is still partially blocked. Some day I would like to do a major remodel and remedy this with a cabinet-depth refrigerator or refrigerator drawers.
The cabinet organizers in my lower cabinets were a splurge. I have installed them in all but two lower cabinets, but plan to do those eventually. I think they are especially helpful in a galley kitchen layout.
Dream tool or splurge:
Maybe a KitchenAid mixer.
What are you cooking this week?
Pumpkin soup and a chicken curry.
Desert island cookbook?
My mother made cookbooks for my sisters and myself with the recipes we all loved when we were kids. Not only does it contain the recipes, but also many recipes list a family member from whom she got the recipe.
I'm very proud of the new floor. It was more of a chore than I thought and there were many surprises especially during the demolition. I planned to refinish the existing hardwoods beneath the crumbling ceramic tile, but when they couldn't be salvaged I had to fall back on a backup plan to put in a new laminate floor. I am happy with the outcome.
• Laminate Floor – Home Depot (Special Order)
• Cabinet Organizers – Simple Human from the Container Store
• Commercial Wire Shelving – www.theshelvingstore.com
• Artwork – Painted Assemblage above sink by Mark Friday
Thanks so much for letting us peek into your kitchen, Daniel! What a great job, and an inspiration to those of us doing smaller projects this week for the Kitchen Cure.
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Submit your kitchen here.
(Images: Daniel, via Flickr)