From BEFORE to AFTER… Musings around my own KITCHEN Reno, while learning alllllll the things about DESIGN for current and future Clients
Can you even BELIEVE this ‘before’ photo?!
Yep… I let it all hang out so I could do an analysis of where I’m at as I started to try to figure out where I needed to go with my own Kitchen re-vamp.
Have you heard of the ‘Kitchen Dance‘? It’s the way a Cook – or two – moves about the space, pulling ladles, stirring pots, grabbing a bowl – when in unison, it all comes together like a dance. When a space is well composed, the dance comes off as effortless. Efficient. Beautiful. The space needs to set the choreography for the dance, or accidents can happen, knives can fall, spills can burn (yes, I know ALL of these by my own stupidity…).
I could patch + repair, de-clutter, clean up a bit, but … honestly I’ve.Done.That. I’ve (temporarily) repainted the lower cupboards from black-brown to medium grey. I’ve cleaned the warped cabinetry next to hot areas, I’ve repainted the marble on the main Island top (behind that ^ photo), I’ve tried to glue the plastic that covers the range’s digital readings back on (many times), I’ve installed vinyl flooring to cover the dark, old tile, I’ve tried to make a toaster oven do what a second oven ought to…
This Kitchen has officially served it’s time. Over the past 17 years it has sweat and bled (or at least I have) through thousands of family meals, hundreds of dinner parties, dozens of holiday meals for up to 50-65 people, and much more. Well done, good and faithful Kitchen!
As we look at another 10-20 years in this house before we can POSSIBLY downsize (so, basically ’til we can barely move anymore LOL…), a Kitchen re-vamp is top of MY priority list. It is time.
It is also very important to me to re-use, re-cycle and re-purpose as much of the old Kitchen as possible, so – stay tuned! It will depend a great deal on having the right help, within the right budget. My hope is that everything I learn and do here can be shared with YOU ALL to inspire, support, and help compose YOUR Kitchens to work their best for you and your special dance. It is, after all, the heart of the HOME.
P.S. If you want to start at the beginning, scroll to the bottom!
alisonsKITCHENreno 2021 | The Reveal!
It’s (mostly) DONE and POSTED!
What a journey!
While two more major ideas are still being worked out, the bulk of the Kitchen is finished and already being well-used haha. I’ll be posting about some of the big ideas behind the Reno as time goes, but for now grab a glass of wine, click the link above, and come on in.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.05.30 | Dinner is Served.
SO, an other crazy idea I had …
Dinner is served!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.05.22 | It’s TRIM Time!
Adding Hubby’s brother to the long list of people who will probably be avoiding my calls for awhile LOOOL!
Fortunately they measure and cut far more accurately than I sketch!
(This was just for the Home Depot trip!)
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.05.12 | Why Choose Just One?!
Why choose just ONE when you can have them all?!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.05.12 | THE Best!!
While the Kitchen is only about 80% done, I’m already finding my favorite bits!!!
This walnut-veneer open shelf insert by SwitchDoor is PERFECTION.
I can easily and quickly grab the numerous cutting boards, baking trays, prep trays and oven mitts I use throughout the day without having to pause to open a single door or drawer! Love it.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.05.11 | SO, I have an Idea…
It all started with an idea…
When I asked my Artist friend, Miriam Aroeste, if she was game for a piece of the Kitchen design, I warned her that THIS MAY NOT WORK!! I hadn’t seen it done, and nothing really came up from my research for such a piece as this, but I wanted to try it if she was willing.
Not only was she on board, she called me within a few HOURS excited at how it was all progressing!!
I cannot WAIT for this install!!!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.05.08 | TAKE CARE!!!
For a month I’ve been not-so-gently reminding everyone in the house to TAKE CARE!! It’s MARBLE!
Yes, I know Marble is not advised in Kitchens.
I know it stains and patinas over time.
I know it will take extra special care.
I know I’m annoying my family. LOL!
Finally it’s sealed! But I’m still asking everyone to ‘take care’ – I want it to stay as pretty as possible, for as long as possible.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.05.08 | BEWARE : Hubby at Work!
Not sure why he chose to wear his tennis whites for this particular job…
BUT, I’m thankful a) that our amazing Elec hand-crafted these shelves for LED wiring just for me out of humble 2×10’s, and b) that Hubby was game to give them that ‘Walnut’ look.
I’m also thankful that, due to Hubby not shaking the can of stain, only only shelf was ruined in this process…
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.05.06 | Finding My Angles
With a space in constant construction, it can be hard to ‘keep working’ with food & photography. It takes a special skill & eye to find angles that work!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.30 | One Precious Pull
While I was PRETTY sure these were *the* pulls for this Kitchen, I wanted to be sure since I have multiple finishes and metals all mixed with warm & cool tones, so I ordered just one. A single pull.
Turns out I should have trusted my judgment – it’s gorgeous!
The rest are now on order, to arrive sometime and be installed whenever LOL.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.28| But What you CAN’T See, …
HOOD FAN GUY! He’s happily contemplating getting my Vent-a-Hood up for me, barely a care in the world.
What he (or I) doesn’t know, is that right dead center of that template is the main Electrical line for the service to the house…
More pieces needed, more delays ensue.
My new favorite phrase is “It is what it is. How do we solve it?”.
Add ‘Hood Fan Guy’ to the growing list of people who soon won’t be taking my calls LOL!!!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.24| A few Pieces at a Time
MOST projects, you would order all your cabinets and then wait until they’re ALL ready and have one big week of INSTALL!
I keep begging for one piece at a time, so it literally comes piece by piece.
Most projects’ cabinet guy doesn’t hate their Client probably as much as this guy dreads my number showing up on his phone LOL!!!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.19| HELP. Please.
I took video and photos of the forsaken hood fan on my floor and sent them to a friend today to beg for help…
Being my own Contractor means I don’t always have the right guy at the right time – I don’t have a crew to choose from – and sometimes I have to beg friends.
Thank GOD he came through!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.14| I’ll take your Quartz, and Raise you a Marble
IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!!
I can’t stop staring at it…
It broke on cutting, of course, but it’s at the far end and the glue-back is flawless so as far as I’m concerned, it’s still PERFECT and SO BEAUTIFUL!!!
Thank goodness for those steel bars, though…
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.14| The Support System
Look at them steel bars!!
The cabinet peeps over at SwitchDoor has been a great Design colleague as well, solving problems like a 30″ cantilever on the Island Countertop (coming soon!!) with these custom cut steel bars inset into the cabinetry.
Pretty fierce, right?!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.07| When you Totally Forgot you Had a Dining Room…
For MONTHS every single dish and pot and box of pasta from the Kitchen was piled up in the Dining Room. Now that we can finally put most of the items into the drawers/cupboards, we can SEE THE TABLE AGAIN!!
Just in time to be eating outdoors anyhow… LOL.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.03| Fancy Pulls, RIGHT?!
Do you think the BLUE goes with the overall color scheme?!
The cabinet installer was SO KIND as to ‘install’ these painter-tape ‘PULLS’ while I make a final decision on what style/color I want to use with these gorgeous skinny shakers by SwitchDoor!!!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.01| Grabbing Odds & Ends
Just a quick PSA – if you’re going to hit IKEA for odds & ends that are almost 8′ long, bring the Mini-Van, NOT the car…
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.04.01| I’m Not Joking! WE HAVE A CABINET, People!
Don’t judge my junk, man – I haven’t been able to put anything away yet!
SwitchDoor was so excited to see the new ‘Skinny Shaker’ profile door installed, they did these few right at drop off. LOVE IT ALREADY!!!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.30| In Other News…
The Gardens are technically an extension of the Kitchen, right?!
We’ve added a 2×8 wood frame around the existing beds which were low, so that meant about 12″ of new soil! Now to wait for the seedlines to GO GO GO!
Transplant date for our area (Vancouver) is about May 17th, just after the Irrigation gets fixed.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.23 | It’s Getting Warmer!
There was a LOT of grey and white happening, but FINALLY some of the warmer walnut shelving got installed and I must say I love it! It’s a great contrast, and warms up the space just WONDERFULLY.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.17 | Testing the New ‘Grow Op’
The ‘grow op’ shelves are up and ready – but I clearly had NO idea the lighting was HOT PINK!! So it’s officially on a timer and only goes “ON” from 1am – 6am LOL. Will it work? To be determined! Seems perfect for microgreens, but bigger plants like lettuces may not. I think this one doesn’t have enough power – I’ll do some more research, but excited to have it going!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.15 | Instagram LIVE ‘in the Reno Moment’
WELL, just because I don’t have a ‘real’ Kitchen yet, doesn’t mean I can’t use it as a backdrop for Instagram LIVE! Especially when talking to the fine folks at Caliber Appliance on my beautiful new Range.
Just excuse the missing cabinet doors.
And the holes in the wall.
And the lack of paint.
And the missing backsplash.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.13 | Let There be MORE Quartz!
The first Quartz looks so good, we’ll do it twice!
No, actually my beautiful elongated hex marble tiles for the backsplash weren’t enough SF (I bought them YEARS ago) and I couldn’t source more to match, so we’re going to keep things simple – 2cm version of the 3cm countertop, going up the wall! Which will cover up my beautiful writing and some old outlets just perfectly 😉
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.12 | Let There be Quartz
HOW AMAZING DOES THIS LOOK?!
Do I sound desperate for countertops?? Probably because I am… It’s so hard to cook in a space that doesn’t have a surface to work on. BUT NO LONGER!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.07 | IT’S STARTING TO APPEAR!!
Before my very eyes!!
Over the past few days we had the fridge installed – PROPERLY – the ‘opening/open shelf’ trims installed, the walls (lovingly drywalled – ahem!), the to-be-exposed walls painted (Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore, since you’ll ask hah), the drawer cabinet next to the stove in place, other wall cabinets set and IT’S STARTING TO LOOK LIKE THE KITCHEN IN MY MIND!!!
However… I fear there’s still about 4 weeks to go…
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.06 | One Step at a Time
SO, now that AT LEAST the wall cabinets are IN (including dishwasher NUMBER TWO!), we could measure for the 3cm Quartz countertops along the ‘L’. FINALLY. I need counters… The backsplashes (now 2cm Quartz, not tile), the Island counters and the raised counters will have to wait, but SOME counter will be AMAZING.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.06 | Welcome Back, Floors!
18 years ago, while preggers with the Kid, I tiled this entire floor. Grampa would have been so proud (for reasons you can read about HERE). But a few years back we were rather tired of the old oak and the dark grey tile, so we ‘installed’ this drop down vinyl flooring. Beautiful? Meh. Functional? Definitely.
Lately, however, since it had never been glued down in the first place, it’s been piled up RIGHT WHERE WE ALL FUCKING WALK because there is literally NO WHERE ELSE TO PUT SHIT! Frustrating, right?!
At long last, after weeks of it, Hubby finally re-installed it. With glue. I ain’t doing this all in this house ever again LOL!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.06 | The Novelty is NOT Yet Wearing Thin!
We’re all OBSESSED with the digital and water functions of having a Fridge that, well, is so ‘grown up’. We can’t get enough of pressing all the buttons and drinking all the water of our new Cafe Fridge/Freezer.
Yes, we’re easily amused.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.05 | WE HAVE TOUCH-DOWN!
Switchdoor and their recommended Installer came and – LOOK!! We have the first bit of the “Built-In look” for our beautiful Fridge/Freezer! I really wanted DEPTH. The counter-depth appliances just weren’t going to work for our needs. I mean, you can’t even fit a pizza box in them damned things! But that meant no official paneled built-in style, so I’m making it up myself.
P.S. The receded wall is perfection. Clears the fridge door like a charm.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.03 | PRETTY.FOOD.ONLY.!!
Now that we have a sparkly new Fridge, sans spills, molds, 100-yr old sauces…, I immediately instructed EVERYONE that they absolutely may NOT put ANYTHING in it until I am ready LOL. One quick trip to the grocery store for beautiful foods (which I needed for another photo shoot anyways)
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.03 | The Wee Bits
Every few days something arrives from Amazon or Richelieu or IKEA or Wayfair throughout this entire process, like these floating shelf brackets. I’m not sure yet if they’ll work, but part of being so PRESENT in my own Renovation is getting to try out whatever the heck I wanna try out! The plan is to cover all kinds of trial and error here, and not on other projects.
That said, a bit of trial and error makes one brave to try to incorporate new ideas into their space, and that’s not all bad, either.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.02 | On the Bright Side…
… not having a FULLY functioning Kitchen means that a few times a week I’m still trying out local cuisine. I came upon Burdock & Co a few nights back and this Risotto was orgasmic. I mean, it was insane. Incredible.
So, naturally I asked 3,000 questions!
– Aged Rice, apparently great for better liquid retention, meaning a far superior, creamy Ristotto
– Butter cultured on-site – insanely fresh and flavorful
– Sunchoke Puree. Nuff said.
Once I have a Kitchen again, I’ll be trying this!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.03.02 | SHE’S HERE!!!
The Fridge we (apparently) have ALL been waiting for has arrived!!
Who knew when I decided on this beauty that there would be a Pandemic, a massive appliance shortage, and 1,000 angry Interior Designers once this pretty baby was delivered.
Due to a 65yr old house with tiny doors, the fridge/freezer doors ALL had to be removed to get all her lovely girth in. But, she’s here!! Unfortunately she came with the right side gooped up with the stickiest tape I’ve ever seen, having had the protective plastic removed and the gross sticky black padding re-applied to the actual fridge surface.
UGH. SO, apparently the best way to remove sticky tape from treated stainless steel is – OLIVE OIL! Leave it, gently scrape with a SOFT card, and repeat over and over for a FREAKIN 90 MINUTES – and voila. Cleaned up pretty Baby.
FYI, kudo’s to Cafe Appliances for making a truly scratch-proof surface LOL.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.28 | More Fine Tuning
As we go, I’m fine tuning measurements and details to the Cabinet, Countertop, Finishing, Plumbing, Electrical… Yeah, they’re all probably pretty tired of me, but how handy is the iPad Pro for marking up photos ‘on site’ like this?!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.27 | Sticking with It
I have a vision for this open shelving on either side of my big ‘ole beautiful Range.
It’s messy, complicated, and nobody – NOBODY – seems to understand what I’m thinking, no matter how many drawings and 3D’s I’ve drawn.
But I never gave up, even when we could NOT find the right size trims, even when we had to do the window framing twice, even when the drywall wasn’t quite perfect. It’ll work – I know it. Until, then, I’m sticking with it.
P.S. This was STILL NOT THE RIGHT TRIM!! We eventually improvised.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.25 | I’m the WOMAN!
The Contractor’s drywalling left a LOT to be desired. Hubby’s drywall left something to be desired. I decided to take matters into my own damn hands.
And I did a pretty amazing job at it.
BOOM. Mic drop. I’m the Woman.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.22 | Well, at Least He Tried.
The Contrators we hired to push our wall back 6″ (ugh) left a lot to be desired… They didn’t use floor protection, leaving huge drops of mud all over the flooring. The next time they came, they REMOVED our floor protection, let it drip all over, and left it for us to clean up. Hubby was PISSED. And rightfully so.
When drywalling, as far as I know, the smoother you make the mud, the less sanding you’ll have to do, the less dust is left ALL OVER MY HOME. They let the drips drip all over the place.
So, when it came to framing and drywalling the window for my epic open shelving detail, we decided we were better off having Hubby do it. And, well, at least he tried…
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.20 | It’s Electric!
We have Electrical Rough-In!
And, a little less flooring. But that’s fine – it’s all hidden to the point that I don’t even care to replace or repair it. I mean, it’s an OLD house that will most likely be torn down in it’s next life anyhow.
Thankfully, our Electrician REALLY knows his stuff – and our house. We’re all ready for LED under-counter lights, grow lights (to come!), outlets, new switches and the works! WAHOOOOO!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.20 | Mixing Our Metals
With things flying in from all the Interwebs, it’s time to do a final ‘metals count’.
Co-ordinating every finish with every appliance with every existing condition with every idea is no small feat! But I’m confident it’ll all work out. I mean, if I could look at this photo all day, I’m sure I could look at the Kitchen all day later on!!
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.18 | Even Temporary is Good
I know we’ll have to pay more, but having the Sink and dishwasher installed EVEN IF IT”S TEMPORARY is a god-send! At least we can do dishes for now!! I’ve never loved a Plumber so much LOL.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.16 | IKEA + Custom = Genius
SO, when we decided to go with IKEA, I didn’t know how much I’d love the selection at SwitchDoor for custom cabinet door and drawer fronts. Once Robert at Switchdoor said I could ALSO mix in some custom cabinetry where needed, I was sold.
This corner cabinet wasn’t possible with IKEA, but the rest of the boxes were. In the end, I got both.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.19 | Ser-VICE!
We have a few people in our bubble, and it seems they don’t mind eating amid a renovation! Dinner these days is served on the new corner cabinet, turned on it’s side until it can be installed, with little else to hang your hat onto.
But, at least it’s delicious.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.02.16 | Let’s Get This Finished!
Finalizing finishes is a process. You pick something you love, but then maybe it’s not available. In the meantime, you’ve already matched it with something new you love, so now that’s your main starting point. Then there’s the existing colors / flooring / furniture / etc.
I fell in love with this piece of natural stone for the Kitchen Island. It’s totally impractical, but sometimes love isn’t perfect. Natural stone can stain, scratch, collect memories of red wine spilled over time.
And I don’t care. We’ll grow old together, this counter and I.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.14 | OUT with the OLD
It’s done! Gone! The final bits of the old kitchen have offically been removed. We waited so long because we literally needed the counter, but with new cabinets coming quickly, we had to do it.
Bye-bye, Old Kitchen.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.13 | What’s Next?!
It was a busy weekend.
Plumbing Rough-In before the new Fridge arrives.
Cleaning up from the Contractor/Drywaller – I’m not ready to talk about THAT mess yet…
Electrical Rough-In is coming soon – gotta clear the way.
The final old bits needed to be fully removed.
The new/existing window to be framed out for the Fridge/shelving.
Thank goodness Hubby still has the energy to manage!! While I just order everyone around hahaha.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.12 | Remove One Mess, Make Another.
I had JUST FREAKIN FINISHED the Dining Room space, and now look. To clean out the old, we had to move allllllll the things here.
Oh, well. One day… Soon… Maybe soon… It’ll all be done and I can breathe again.
alisonsKITCHENreno 21.02.08 | This, That, or The Other
Ordered alllllll the cabinet door/drawer fronts from custom-IKEA specialist Switchdoor! I went to visit the magical cabinet kingdom before making my final decisions, and I think it’s going to be amazing.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.02.05 | Still doing this…
I tell every Client – when it comes to renovations, always – ALWAYS – expect the unexpected. Walls open up to reveal rot where you didn’t know it could be, site conditions aren’t as flexible as in a new build, etc.etc. Now it’s time to heed my own advice.
The pandemic has created massive shortages and freakishly long waits in the Kitchen Industry. Suddenly everyone is spending VASTLY more time in their homes and kitchens than they’d ever imagined they would, and realizing the space could use a l’il sum’in sum’in. The new fridge? I’ll be LUCKY if I can POSSIBLY be the only person to get it by May. Everyone will be waiting until July/August.
AND… I came to realize said fridge will be frustrating to clean if I can’t fully open BOTH doors. It didn’t originally bother me – there’s a wall on one side it’ll be up against – but since we have time? The wall is being shortened by SIX FREAKIN’ INCHES!! More $ to the budget, but it’s a really good decision, so … yep. Still doing this…
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.09 | Let’s DO THIS!
It’s my own Kitchen. I’m extra nervous about decisions because this will officially be my ‘showroom’, my calling card, my office for the next 10+ years as I transition from Architecture to Kitchen Design. I’m on no ones timeline but my own. I’m General Contracting it myself, and willing to make all the mistakes that come with such a monumental task. I’m happy to replace things that didn’t work how I’d hoped, or take my time making decisions at all.
BUT, once the cupboards come down and all the drawers are pulled out, I hope it’s GO TIME. I can’t walk all the way to the Dining Room every time I need a spoon for very long. I can only be ‘banned’ to purely take-out for so many days. Now that Hubby has dismantled the existing Kitchen, LET’S DO THIS THING!!
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.08 | In a Perfect World…
In a perfect world, I would have the budget / energy to replace the old window here, that’s been sitting behind the old fridge and will be almost completely covered up by the new Kitchen design. But the old window was OLD, was leaking, creating black mold, just … ew.
I made the decision to just install a new window rather than mess around with new exterior wall, patching stucco outside, dealing with rainscreen issues, extra costs/trades, etc. Seems a waste of a perfectly beautiful new window and all that light, but in a perfect world there would be no compromise, I suppose. My Kitchen doesn’t live in that world, unfortunately.
So, for the next 2-3 weeks, I’ll enjoy this view of my neighbours wall (and Bedroom window LOL) until I bid adieu.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.04 | Down the Drain
Well, leaks wait for no Renovation…
Even though we’ll be demolishing the sink in a week or two, a leaky drain in the meantime just had to be fixed. Literally feels like ‘Money down the Drain’, but c’est la vie. Such is life.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.02 | Ma Maison est Votre Maison
Working on Kitchen designs for Clients is such a thrill now. I love using the things I’ve learned in my past career in Architecture, and the knowledge I’m gaining now with my own Kitchen / research / ideas to solve every unique, individual intricacy. Their Kitchens are informing mine, and vice versa. I’m actively working on 5 right now, including my own. Soon after our Home I’ll start on the duo of Condo’s my Hubby/Son purchased recently in Kelowna as investments, using them as an exercise in ‘the efficiency of the square inch’!
I genuinely love the puzzle of maximizing space, usefulness, design.
Past projects are now up on HOUZZ and featured briefly HERE.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.12.28 | Down to the Inches
Before ordering the final Cabinets / sizes etc, I’ve gone back through all my existing drawers to consider – were they big enough? Too deep for that need, or too shallow for this need? How will I plan it differently this time?
IKEA offers drawers (I’m done w cupboard doors AND inside drawers – although it’s a cleaner look, it means I now have to open TWO things while I’m rushing about instead of just one) in 5″ increments, so there’s a bit of flexibility there.
While sifting through the existing Kitchen, I’m also taking the opportunity to purge unnecessary items that will either be tossed (10yr old flavored oils, anyone?!) or passed on to the local thrift shops.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.12.19 | ALL the Slabs
Still struggling with slab selection for the counters… I’m definitely going with Quartz as the current Kitchen’s counters have REALLY stood the test of time over the past 17 years and I am NOT kind to them LOL!
To grain or not to grain… Color, standard marbling or flat white… Decisions must be made… Soon… I typically recommend a certain amount of marbling – or movement – in a countertop because it can hide all sorts of damage down the road. But I’ve had very little complaint about my very white Quartz which is only just recently showing stains (that I’ve not tried to remove) or wear and tear. I’ll likely go with a combination of the two between the wall cabinet area and the Island.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.12.18 | Just Visiting…
I had to take a Kitchen Client in to do a first look at Appliances (which, thanks to a REALLY knowledgeable Sales Manager may also be the only look he’ll need!), so I went early using the opportunity to visit my own Appliance selections.
Hello, my Pretties!
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.11.30 | ON.ORDER. !!!
It’s official! There’s no turning back now!
My entire set of Appliances (almost) is officially on order and we’re a GO, Houston! And the biggest decision of all? Committing to a Range that I’ll (hopefully) LOVE for 20yrs to come. I’ll post more about the rest of the Appliance decisions, but for now …
What’s a Caliber Range, you ask?
WHY, head over HERE to find out! In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful photo, cause that’s all I have for 8-12 more weeks LOL…
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.11.14 | 3D and the ‘Nitty Gritties’!
IT’S GETTING SO CLOSE I CAN FEEL IT!
Or, at least now SEE it.
In making final decisions for custom appliances, cabinetry, pulls, backsplashes I finessed EVERY BIT into 3D through Google’s SketchUp! I’m convinced that it’s an absolutely NECESSARY tool for finalizing decisions. Can you visualize it?!
That said, a few decisions I’m leaving up in the air while I stare at the 3D. Once things come in, I’ll be able to make them, or some I won’t have to absolutely make until everything else is built. Why rush?
The final quotes are coming in next week on the Appliances and it’s time to PUT THE CASH DOWN!! Once I have potential dates for them, including the custom range, then I can firmly schedule the RENO! CAN YOU FEEL my EXCITEMENT?! Hahaha.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.10.30 | Finalizing Decisions …
Hoping to start our Renovations in January 2021, it’s time to finalize some decisions. That means doing one more round with the Appliances with firm pricing, and making the big decision on cabinets.
While I was hoping to work with custom cabinetry, the Range/stove is my #1 Priority, and in finalizing the Appliances, it looks like it’s going to be an $15k+ cost over what I’d hoped. That means – in our budget – making some other hard decisions in order to cut costs. It means not going with column paneled fridge and freezer, pushing the wall oven off for another year (but building the space for it – which is ok because we’re not hosting big events now for awhile anyhow!), and going with MOSTLY IKEA cabinetry.
SO, online I went. Although you can go-feel-touch all the options in store (and I have), since we are in an existing space I felt it was important to have the options here, in hand. I bought one door front of each color/style I was considering and had them shipped. Turns out, some colors I thought were too dark look perfect, and one I thought was too ‘cheap-looking’ is just fine. Having the specific finishes IN HAND, in the space and with the lighting etc that your Dream Kitchen will end up in is so important!
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.10.12 | Some Things Happen Before You’re Ready …
WHELP. Sometimes you have to pull a trigger or two before you’re actually ready for the ACTUAL Reno! Our sink faucet was DONE. You’d get a facewash every time you touched it! I had been looking at some GORGEOUS $1-3,000 faucets, but wasn’t ready to make that kind of a commitment in a rush knowing the full Kitchen Reno was at least a few months away, so off to Home Depot we went to see what was available.
My focus was on flexibility to get all around the existing or new/future sink, and a decent clearance between the top of counter/sink, and the underside of faucet. Since the faucets at Home Depot were all under $300 and knowing I want a black oven/range later on, I decided I would try a black industrial style faucet for now, giving myself time to see it in place and decide if I TRULY love it or would prefer to go back to nickel or stainless, or maybe even go to bronze.
What do you think?!
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.09.25 | Kitchen Trials …
OH – not ‘trials’ as in hardships – that’ll come with actual Construction, I’m afraid LOL. Trials as in TRYING THINGS OUT!
Since starting the process of wanting to design a new Kitchen about 3+ years ago, I’ve been trying out all kinds of things. Knowing the majority of the existing Kitchen would go, we’ve used the space to experiment in while making our final decisions (and while figuring out where the money to pay for it all will come from LOL!).
- The first trial was to test out a shade of light grey paint on the lower cabinets! We didn’t stress about it – it didn’t need to last forever. But painting over top of the existing black/brown made a WORLD of difference and brightened up the space by a factor of about a bazillion, meaning our next decisions were easier to make.
- On a roll, the next trial was to find a refinishing kit for the old, brown granite countertop on the Island. I wanted to see if a marbled quartz would make our Kitchen ‘too white’, or would add just the right amount of color with the newly grey cabinets. SO, I tried it! Like this >
3. NEXT UP I installed a scrap piece of vinyl peel and stick wallpaper in my Herbal Print in Grey on the original plaster backsplash to further test out the color combinations. I wasn’t sure where I’d use it yet, but I still wanted to make sure things were ‘going together’ – turned out it was actually perfect for the backing of the Dining Room glass upper cabinets, and I could apply it knowing it would all blend well once the Kitchen was also re-done.
4. FINALLY we recently took apart a piece of upper counter so that we could try out a 4’x8′ Island with Plywood and vinyl ‘marble sticker roll’, to see if we liked a) the size, and b) losing one of the walk-through areas. We do. We LOVE it, and now that trial will inform the final design for the new Kitchen (although better at 3’6″ x 8’0″ – good thing we tested!).
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.09.12 | Cabinets are IN!!
Since we weren’t quite ready to start work on the Kitchen itself yet, I decided to go ahead and use IKEA Cabinetry (25 year warranty, btw!) to get the Dining area done in the meantime. Delays, auction pieces, moving things around, cleaning out 6 bags of ‘no longer needed’ items – and VOILA! It’ll take an entire post to share it all with you properly, so for now I’ll leave you with this image.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.08.14 | Commercial Restaurant AUCTIONS!!
While the Dining Room area IS STILL FREAKIN IN LIMBO, I haven’t quite FINALIZED the Kitchen, but it’s getting there. In the meantime, I’ve been going on all the Restaurant Equipment Auctions looking for useful things I can incorporate into my design (I have a few ideas swirling about in my head!).
AND LOOK WHAT I FOUND!! I have named her Beastie. She is LARGE. No idea what the origins of this big, beautiful chunk of authentic Butcher Block is, but the second I saw her I was in love and had to outbid every.other.person to get her for some obscene price I don’t divulge to Hubby.
He’s been obsessed w cleaning all the ‘old dead animal bits’ off her LOL!
It took 3 grown men about an hour to get her in the house…
I LOVE HER!!
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.07.04 | Even IKEA Runs Out of Steam…
Well once you get started, it’s hard to stop! We moved a few closets downstairs, which meant all my dishes had to sit on the Dining Table for awhile until we can finish the wall to the right. I THOUGHT I could just head to IKEA and order a few cabinets and VOILA – done in a week!
But alas… Even IKEA runs out of steam for ongoing COVID renovations… The cabinets I need for this wall are COMPLETELY out. As in, out in all of CANADA. Ugh. Fortunately it’s still summer and we can eat outside for the next month or two…
Once I can get the Dining Rm settled, and the ‘don’t need ’em every day’ dishes out of the way, I can better plan out the final details of the main Kitchen.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.07.04 | Invest When You Can – It’s Worth It
We are NOT big-budget kind of people. For the record. BUT when I really love something, it’s worth a bit of extra (like above and beyond IKEA) cash. Like all the way to middle-ground Crate + Barrel.
Thankfully when you DO spend a BIT extra on something you love, it can always find a home somewhere in your house, right?! This shelving was displaced when we removed a wall (or two), but it’s happy to perch at the end of our (futurely beautiful) Dining Room. I have a few plans for the wall behind – stay tuned!
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.06.28 | It’s GO Time!
While we spend the first half of Quarantine adding a bazillion plants to the Garden in the backyard, we spent the next few months getting ready for KITCHEN RENO BABY!!
What’s this mess, you ask?
We started by re-arranging the rooms around the house! Hubby had someone come in to add a wall and door downstairs, so we could move our barely-home, grown daughters down while him and I reclaimed our ‘old’ room on the main floor and moved out of the space behind this shelving.
WHICH IS ALL TO SAY, now I could extend the Kitchen planning into this space, which I’d always dreamed of doing. So – actual movement towards a real reno direction! One step at a time…
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.04.13 | NKBA Official
WHELP! It’s official – I’m a member of the National Kitchen (+ Bath) Association! While I have little to no intention of designing bathrooms, they apparently come together. Now to register for / write the first Associate exam (which I should really pretty much know after 20+ yrs in the Industry!) and start studying for the Certification level.
I’m on in! Going to learn everything I possibly can to be able to advise ALL YOU GORGEOUS FOLKS in your future (or present!) new and re-vamp Kitchen designs!
Now to go put my pretty little NKBA sticker up somewhere on the site…
XOXO – ak
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.04.10 | Anyone HOME?!
And – so it seems – some suppliers are!
Had a great chat with my friend and Kitchen/Interior Designer extraordinaire, Jamie. He’s been unbelievably encouraging throughout this process of not only designing my own Kitchen to the tiniest detail, but also in my journey of becoming a certified Kitchen Designer myself. LOVE this guy and hoping to grace my own Kitchen with some of his beautiful cabinets, the Banfield (sold also through Kohler).
Also had an online call all about SLIDES! Doesn’t that sound exciting?! But, in a cabinet design that’s 30″ deep vs the typical 24″ deep, they’re an important consideration. Grass Canada chatted with me for an hour all about slides and now have my drawings for review. We’ll see what happens!
Hope you are all continuing to stay safe – Happy Easter!
XOXO – ak
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.03.20 | Aaaaand WAIT!
I’m supposed to have been about to visit Caliber Appliances in California next week, settled a few things with new suppliers and SECURED all the financing, but … Coronavirus.
That’s ok – a minor thing in the world of new Kitchens, as compared to what others are going through. Instead, every week that goes by I’ve been making a donation to the local Food Bank and making my lists ‘o things to do once the curtain is lifted. AND – cooking. A LOT of cooking!
Hope you are all safe + sound!!
XOXO – ak
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.02.20 | Countertops!
My first meeting regarding countertops was interesting… Interesting in the new technologies or finishing options kind of way, but also in my reaction to the choices. I don’t want a boring white-on-white-on-white marbley everywhere kind of Kitchen, but at the same time I do a TON of photography in this space and food colors really do stand out on it. UGH. What to do…
I already own the elongated hex marble backsplash tile, which I still love after all the years it’s sat on my floor waiting for this re-vamp, but I also want to think out of the box and try my best to find a happy spot between pouring money into a “background kitchen” vs the Kitchen as the main event itself.
More meetings to go until I resolve this, I feel… Wish me luck!
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.02.18 | Sticker Shock…
Today I’m sad with Sticker Shock… LOL!
Appliance hunting isn’t as fun as you’d think when you don’t have a budget to work with!! But thanks to the lovely folks at Midland Appliances, I’m starting to get something together.
The range is my #1 priority, and naturally I fell in love with the most expensive range in the entire store – Caliber. Hand-made in California, the 48″ range option with about 120 flame ports per element, vs the typical 28 or even 50, is like dozens of firey Sirens calling my name. *sigh*.
$28,000 CAD for the 48″ model. Not in my budget, but boy was it beautiful! Time to work on the REALITY appliances haha.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.26 | Happy Birthday, Junior Food Dude!
We had fun celebrating my big BOI on his 16th Birthday this weekend!
He’s been obsessed with fish and learning to fillet and cook a huge variety of them, so as his ‘gift’ we bought him this 5kg Organic Spring Salmon to play with.
He enjoyed using his new fileting knives from Christmas to carve, filet and smoke, jerky and steam enough of it for dinner.
Happy Birthday, Jr Food Dude!|
Can’t wait to have a new Kitchen for you to cook in.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.24 | Kitchen (Bath) Show, Las Vegas
WELL< that was an adventure!
First Kitchen Show done – check!
I’m still gathering all my thoughts, but sufficed to say a lot was learned both for my own upcoming Kitchen reno, and for my present / future Clients.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.14 | Always Say HELLO.
I mean, it can’t hurt, right?
I was sitting at some kind of meetup once that I had gone to on my own after my “support buddy” had to cancel. Being totally fine alone, and as much introverted as I am extroverted, I wasn’t too worried about it and would have been more than happy to sit on my own, listen and leave.
But then the STRANGEST thing happened.
The gal next to me turned and said “Hi. I’m Liz.” And we chatted for quite some time and I learned all about her business (of which I’m now a fan) and I came away inspired. ALL SHE DID WAS SAY HELLO.
What if I started just saying HI to whomever I wanted?! What could happen?
Well, I’ve been doing just that at about every bar or restaurant counter I come across. Today I had a meeting w an incredibly intelligent “bartender” I met at one of my favorite restaurants – turns out he has multiple degrees in design, arts and engineering and wanted info on a career in this side of the food industry. It was a great chat, and he’s offered to 3D render my new Kitchen Design, so – we’ll see!
This past weekend I met a fascinating Chef (below) at a restaurant who has tons of great ideas for Kitchen Design – I can’t wait to possibly hear from him, after leaving my name/email. Another lady at the bar informed me Seattle food sucks – these are good things to know LOL.
You just never know who you’ll meet with a HELLO.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.11 | Whistler Inspo
Hanging in Whistler for the weekend and, upon doing my typical google search of “Farm to Table Restaurants” in the area, somehow nothing was open for lunch. What?! I guess typically everyone is too busy skiing for good food?! …
I landed on Bar Oso, a ‘Spanish tapas’ style bar. It did NOT disappoint. I’ll jot down some notes about the food later, but what really fascinated me was the TINY KITCHEN! Barely 40sf, 7’ x 5’ if that for the “cooking” functions, it seemed to have everything one might need to create a menu full of deliciousness.
Prep was done downstairs, but in the moment the Chef could heat sauces in the sous vide, cook (my fave) shishito peppers in the tiny oven, grill or boil anything that needed grilling on the hotplate , and opposite create and plate beautiful garnishes, sandwiches and salads.
We chatted for a bit about how little space a cook needs – every extra step to get something is time and energy wasted. Fascinating…
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.10 | KBIS, Here I come!
I DID IT!
I’m signed up to head to VEGAS for the Kitchen (Bath) industry trade show!! Can’t wait to see and learn and be inspired. And maybe have a few decent meals… I’ll be sure to share everything I learn w you all!
Anyone know of GOOD (not necessarily ‘popular’ or ‘star cheffy’) restaurants in Vegas?! Otherwise, bring on the ‘between kitchen-show hours’ poolside cocktails, Baby.
alisonsKITCHENreno 20.01.01 | Happy NEW YEAR!
WELL, it’s officially 2020 – the year I HOPEFULLY have a new KITCHEN! Wish me luck getting it all past Hubby, the Finance Guy…
I did do a quick’n’dirty budget based on full retail pricing of all the things I think I want to do, etc, at $60-$70,000 CAD – including appliances, cabinets, countertops, backsplash, sink/faucet, etc.
I’m lucky Hubby’s bestie is our Electrician, so hopefully I can ply him with a few meals. I’m also aware there are discounts to be had, so we’ll see how that evolves. I’ve done my own tile work before and don’t mind doing it again – it’s not that hard! So that could save an $800.00 install. I’m happy to buy floor models of appliances, or slightly scratched/dented etc to get better quality for less money. AND I’m hoping to re-use as much of my old Kitchen as possible in new and creative ways – but less for cost, more for keeping construction waste OUT of the landfills.
alisonsKITCHENreno 19.12.15 | Kitchen Auctions are my NEW JAM!
I’ve been seriously contemplating using as much USED elements as possible in my new Kitchen design. I hate the thought of the vast amounts of Construction Waste as we constantly build, reno, etc. SO FUN! Also I found a perfect piece for one of the elements in my new Kitchen – hopefully I find it, or something like it, closer to my need-date!
alisonsKITCHENreno 19.12.12 | Look, Ma, NO HANDS!
I totally am advising on not just MY Kitchen Design, not ONE, but now TWO CLIENTS! Actually!! And I love it! It feels so legit. There is so much information out there between Pinterest, Houzz, HGTV, magazines, Salespeople etc, and it feels so good to help people navigate it all. It’s official – my training wheels are OFF!
Also, I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’m becoming the Master of Weirdo Little Drywall Sketches. Just sayin’.
alisonsKITCHENreno 19.12.01 | Take it from a PRO
One of our favorite restaurants nearby is closing (UGH Vancouver rent!!), so I had to take the opportunity to FINALLY sit at the “Chef’s Table” – the one table with a full view of the working Kitchen! And boy did I get my money’s worth. I spent the entire two hours studying how they move, who was doing what, which appliances / tools they were using, etc. A well-designed Commercial kitchens is based on maximum efficiency and a flow that will cause the fewest accidents. There are definitely some cues to pull from when better designing Residential kitchens.
alisonsKITCHENreno 19.11.30 | All Laid Out
This past weekend I was on site with a House Reno where I’m also doing the Kitchen Design with the Client, and the Contractor had laid out the entire kitchen not just on the floor, but up on benches! It was the perfect way to get the feel for the depth of the counters, the centering of the Island on other things, and the general “how I’m going to use this space”. It’s easy for me to “see” all these things on paper, but not so easy for Clients to do so. I’ll definitely be adopting this for future projects!
alisonsKITCHENreno 19.11.27 | Party with Purpose
The Interior Design community LOVES to party. I remember going to my first ‘Designer Events’ and knowing maybe ONE person? Two years later, I know at least half the room. It doesn’t take long if you come into the room with a smile. And why go? Without a specific program I could take called “How to Become the Ultimate Technical Kitchen Designer”, I’m learning on my own backed only by the decades of Architectural experience I already have. So, time to head out and meet all the suppliers, installers, contractors, sales managers, etc and begin my learning and finding the perfect team to build YOUR original, perfectly suited, technically functional KITCHEN!
alisonsKITCHENreno | 19.11.25 Confirmation
You know you’re doing what you’re ultimately meant to do when the universe confirms it! I now have an official 3 Kitchens to design on my plate! And I’m loving it. I still have a lot of suppliers and trades to meet up with, but people are already connecting to my passion for food and cooking with architecture and planning and it feels so good.
alisonsKITCHENreno | 19.11.12 Jumping In
Had a great chat with my incredibly talented friend Jamie Banfield last night and I’ve been encouraged to JUMP ON IN to this whole Kitchen Designer thing! Including – drum roll, please – hopefully attending January’s KBIS (Kitchen/Bath Show) in VEGAS BABY!
I think I’ll get a show floor pass and wander for 3 days throughout all the Exhibits and see what I can learn. Also – VEGAS! I’ve never been! I’m so excited on many levels – but also so I can finally see the Neon Museum, too!!!
alisonsKITCHENreno | 19.11.08 the Rolodex
I’m fortunate that although I work in the world of Architecture, I know a lot of talented, passionate Interior Designers. I mean, they DO throw better parties, so naturally they ended up being my people…
The added benefit NOW, I’m finding, is that I have a plethora of sounding boards and a rolodex FULL of people with the perfect connections I need as I start exploring Kitchen Design! Lucky me! I’m picking every.single.brain that will entertain the conversation – the year ahead is going to be full of coffee (or cocktail) dates!
alisonsKITCHENreno | 19.11.05 Pinteresting!
Design ideas can come from anywhere – a sign on the subway on a trip to New York, dinner at a friends’ house, an open Kitchen at a restaurant – but my personal fave is Pinterest, of course!
Ideas are great for taking a lead on an idea, but in the end I prefer to end up somewhere original and unique than copy something already done. The trickiest part is having an idea in my head that I’ve NEVER seen in photos, and trying to sort of reverse-inspire, validating an idea by finding an example or two to drive from and to ensure the idea isn’t absolute crap …
alisonsKITCHENreno | 19.11.03 3D IT UP!
Every plan idea also needs to be worked out in 3D, so into Google SketchUp it goes! I’m not super proficient, so it’s going to be tedious, but I definitely want to make sure everything works before it’s set in stone. Better some hours of pain here, than $$$/HOURS later on when something doesn’t “bring me joy”!!
alisonsKITCHENreno | 19.11.01 AutoCAD is LIFE!
The AutoCAD version of the Kitchen drawings have begun – and I’m officially OBSESSED with every fraction of an inch. For the most part the layout will remain the same, but how to make the absolute most of each and every bit of space? My little brain wheels are turning…
alisonsKITCHENreno | 19.10.30 Documentation
First steps? DOCUMENT the existing Kitchen… This is embarrassing, but somehow less so if it’s in Black/White LOOL! How did I ever get so cluttered?
I don’t even use HALF of what’s in these drawers, and cannot wait to purge. But it’s also good for reviewing what I do need, and where it is now and where it should be later, so I opened every drawer and took every embarrassing photo – but you only get to see one haha!
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