Kitchen: quaint 1960 to fancy farmhouse

The kitchen was our most long awaited and much anticipated renovation.  We’d had ideas floating around in our heads for the past 2 years.  Our biggest worry was being able to find someone to help us execute all the small details that for us would make our kitchen that perfect blend of old and new that we’d dreamed of.

Stage 1: take out the dratted hanging cabinets.  We took care of this a few weeks after we moved in and lived with it looking like this for about two years.


Stage 2: Determine if the soffits above the cabinets served a purpose or were strictly the cool thing in the 1960’s.  The soffits had to go, but we were very nervous they were housing pipes or ventilation.  We drilled holes in various places in the soffit and shined a flashlight to see what was lurking inside.  To our wonderment, nothing!!  Out they came.




We knew we couldn’t tackle the whole kitchen reno on our own, but would need to hire someone for the cabinets, counters and electrical.  We also knew we weren’t looking for your standard run of the mill kitchen, so would have to find someone willing to do things out of the norm.  Donohue style.

With the kitchen, we decided to go with a carpenter, Reyes Fine Carpentry, who would custom build the cabinets.  We wanted to incorporate an island, but our dimensions wouldn’t allow it, so we stuck with the current U shape.  Everything had to be gutted.

We demoed half the kitchen, our carpenters did the other half.  We ripped out the old linoleum floors and then painted it with BIN to seal the odor.  You wouldn’t believe how smelly 60 year old cabinets and floors can be, especially once they’ve been disturbed.  BIN totally sealed that stench and we were 100% stench free! Except of course, whatever smells we bring in, and we’re okay with that variety.


Ripping out the soffits created 2ft holes all across the walls and ceilings.  It was a marathon of patching.  Ryan took the day off work; we worked all day til 1am patching, we then woke up at 5am to sand and paint just in the nick of time for the cabinets to be installed that same morning.  We could definitely use some honing of our patching skills, but it got the job done.



The kitchen reno from start to finish took 5-6 weeks, which when you think of all the work that had to be done, isn’t very long, but when you’re living day to day without a kitchen it feels like forever.  Luckily, for much of that time it was at least a partially functioning kitchen.  It’s during those times that I so wish we only had to feed ourselves and our children once a day.  But really, this is a thought I have at LEAST once a day even with a fully functioning kitchen!  Feeding people, it’s not my forte; just a necessary part of each day, not necessarily enjoyable.  Now preparing food in a beautiful kitchen, somehow this makes it feel a touch better.

Here’s our color scheme for the kitchen.  Two colors of cabinets, with accent pieces in stained wood.  We love the look of marble, but since it stains easily, we went with a  granite that has a similar look {Glacier White granite}.



The knobs were a fun find! Ryan has the tendency to get a little obsessive when he’s excited about something (it’s one of the things I love best about him).  Obsessive, as in stays up late into the night searching for that special something.  He is always the one finding awesome treasures on craigslist and ebay.  These knobs were one of those gems.  He spent hours and hours searching for them.  I don’t know of anyone with as much patience to find the best deal or the perfect item.  He’s a researcher at heart.  We wanted legitimately old knobs, not just “made to look old” knobs.  He found a pack of these old knobs with 3 different styles we would mix and match, we cleaned them up and they’re good as new.  We also bought knew pulls to go with them for the drawers.

Remember how we like to paint….and paint again.  This is one such room.  We originally painted it a very light grayish blue before the cabinets were installed, only to repaint it antique white a few days later after the cabinets were in.  Sometimes you just have to try it to know if you’ll like it.  The pendent lights over the bar top are from my neighbors.  She was getting ready to trash them when I rescued them from a terrible death.  The copper pendent over the sink was hanging in the corner of our storage room in the basement.


AND, the finished kitchen!  We wanted the wood accent cabinets to stand out and look more like furniture pieces than built-in cabinets.  Our carpenter did an awesome job at distressing all of the wood pieces; bar top, cabinets, floating shelves, hutch, and beams.  Although new, they could easily be mistaken as authentic-original pieces. Working with our carpenter was awesome!  He could magically bring to life anything we imagined in our heads.  Each piece in the kitchen was hand crafted by scratch to our exact specifications.




These pictures were taken right after the remodel was completed, so doesn’t yet include the small accent pieces that bring out the character of an olde homestead.

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