Kitchen Reno: an Update

kitchen reno oct 5 3

There’s a very good reason I haven’t updated you on the kitchen situation in a very long time: it’s moving at glacial speed. It’s mostly my fault – every time an obstacle pops up, shooting gallery-style, I employ my ignore it and it will go away tactic, and it hardly ever does. Sometimes, these obstacles cause the process to actually move backwards, like that time I took a random handful of paint chips in various shades of white down to my oven, which is still in the showroom, to match the colour, and picked the one that was closest, which it turns out was not remotely the same, and so when they sprayed the cabinet drawers and installed them, they were a shade of beige silly putty.

Who knew there were so many shades of white? I mean I thought I knew, but I didn’t really. And even when you do manage to choose a shade of polar bear/snowstorm/mashed potato that suits, once we get it into our kitchen it becomes obvious how reflections and sunlight and time of day can make it look different from one end of the room to the next, from one hour to the next, depending also on what paint colour happens to be beside it. Interior designers – I get it now.

kitchen renos oct 5 2

And so after much looking and agonizing and wondering if it was really that bad (it was) we got our cabinet maker to take them all off again, I got my mom to do a proper paint match (which took an entire day with its own frustrating ridiculousness) and because the aforementioned ridiculousness brought us to a Friday afternoon, the paint guys couldn’t mix the paint before our builder left for the west coast to go fishing for ten days.

Kitchen reno Oct 5

So the cupboards are once again bare. We painted the floor though, in a shade of blue-green-grey that seems to also chameleon depending on the time of day and year it is and what colour shoes you’re wearing. It seems to have worked out though – more people than not told us that there was no possible way we could paint a hardwood kitchen floor, but we found a type of paint that’s ultra-durable and contains some sort of glue compound that binds with the wood, and yet there was no skull and crossbones on the can. And so we steamed and scrubbed and sanded the floor and painted a coat (so that the colour will go under the bottom cabinet kicks) and will put on another when (if?) everything goes in. I kind of want to add a big stripe down one side. We’ll see.

kitchen reno collage oct 5

And the countertops have finally been templated! This is a good example of one hiccup causing a domino effect of delays: in this case the process was further put off by the kitchen sink I chose wound up being half an inch too big for the cabinet, which was built as we were discovering this fact, thus limiting our sink options to those without an apron front. Which isn’t really a big deal I realize, but having had a thick, white, farmhouse-style kitchen sink for so long, I couldn’t envision anything else, and so after failing to find anything resembling what was in my head that didn’t have an apron front, I retreated to a state of denial characterized by procrastination. And when Mike did force me out the door to look at plumbing galleries (not my idea of a good time) all the stainless ones were too utilitarian. And when I did find one I liked, it was $1900. For a kitchen sink. And all this time my mom suggested I get one custom made like she did by some metal guys she knows, which I thought was ridiculous considering how many thousands of kitchen sinks there are in showrooms and Home Depots and catalogs out there, but in the end I was wooed by the idea that I could give them exact specs, tell them just what I was looking for, and they’d build it for half what that other sink cost. Fortunately, my mom knows how to do technical drawings of this sort, and so she did, and the sink is beautiful. I’d take a picture, but the guy who came to do the templating took it with him – presumably to make sure the whole they cut in the Caesarstone was exactly the right size.

Speaking of the countertop: the new shade of white paint and the blue floor and white walls meant the original white countertop I chose one day on a whim when I didn’t fully understand the difference in kitchen whites no longer worked – so we picked the Caesarstone in cinder, which looks kind of like cement – neutral, but different. We’re now wondering what to do about a backsplash – more Caesarstone behind the sink? It might be too thick, and difficult to cut holes for the two plugins the electrician insisted had to be installed there according to electrical regulations (which seems weird to me, to put electric sockets right behind the sink, where the backsplash would be? clearly they’re in the splash zone…), and something for behind the oven, which by the way has an old reclaimed window we don’t want to get rid of (see the photo up top!), which means getting an overhead fan custom made – next on the to-do list. (Along with: NEW WEBSITE. Another story altogether.)

I had thought the kitchen would be done by Thanksgiving – now aiming for Christmas. Or maybe Halloween? In the meantime, we’re actually getting used to doing dishes in the bathtub…


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29 comments on “Kitchen Reno: an Update

  1. Laurie from Richmond
    October 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    I’m glad to have had an update to see how you’re doing. It’s a process. My son had his done, finished, in less time – but he and his wife had everything picked out ahead of time, including him having things specially made. it’s awful for you to hesitate and to pick wrong colours. I fully sympathise

  2. Brooke
    October 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Email me any time you have those questions. Honestly. I live for that stuff! DO NOT put ceasarstone on your back splash. Your house and family has too much personality for that. Do something fun! I will send you some ideas, but I think mosaic, maybe a pattern?

  3. Meta4
    October 5, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    I see that you have the green masking tape still on the bench close to the floor.I think you should not leave it on a surface longer than 7 days or it will be hard to remove. (it dries)
    All the paint tapes are different, the blue kind can stay on longer without getting stuck.

  4. Lana
    October 6, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Oh, Julie, I feel your pain. We are almost 10 years out from our house reno, and I still can’t talk about it without having to breathe into a paper bag. In the end it is going to be a beautiful, functioning kitchen. And the end does, eventually, come. I promise.

  5. Margaret@KitchenFrau
    October 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Ooooh, I feel for you. We had a mini renovation done years ago and I still remember living off the microwave, electric frying pan and ping-pong table in the basement. The adventure quickly loses its allure. But you will have a beautiful kitchen when it’s all done, and like labour pains, you kind of forget how bad they really were.

  6. lovetocook
    October 6, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Told you so, re hiring a designer!!!

  7. barb
    October 6, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    what is the colour of the floor? sounds like the colour i’m looking for -but for basement stairs! kitchen looks like it going to be fantastic! – our kitchen is still getting finished – we regret not hiring a designer, ours is a small galley kitchen – and the devil is in the details..

  8. Colleen
    October 7, 2014 at 9:01 am


    I highly recommend Maria Killiam. Her website is “Color me Happy” and if you just go to her website she has a few older posts about shades of white and classic white kitchens. You could even do an online consultation with her. One thing she preaches about is backsplash. She says that going with anything other than subway tile will be out of style the day you install it. After doing our kitchen I was SO glad I listened to her. Check out Olympia Tile, they have a good selection there.
    Good luck and I feel your pain as I am terrible at deciding color, style and finishes always worried I would make the wrong choice.

  9. Diane
    October 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Julie! White subway tile back splash all the way! I thought for months on tile during our reno and finally went back to my original love. It is “vintage” looking, beautiful, you can change all your decor and it still goes. I have a white (and blue glass) counter, (slightly different) white cupboards, oak floor and my blue vintage pyrex rocks the house! Do not stress about the tile…it is the easiest thing to change…but you won’t want to with white subway.

  10. Stephanie
    October 8, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Oh man, here I was whining about how we still have to sand and paint the doors to the cabinets (the bodies of our cabinets have been painted for almost a year and we still haven’t done the doors) but after reading this I don’t really have anything to complain about. We already have the correct matching paint…. guess its not so bad after all. haha

  11. kathleen smith
    October 9, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I know kitchen re-dos are not easy – but the way yours is coming together makes me think it will be beautiful and authentically yours – not something made up by a designer. Your choices in new and keeping old are just lovely – – –

    Hang in there –

  12. Tamara
    October 10, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Julie, long time reader, but have never commented. Love your recipes, including recently the maple scones which I may have to try veganizing. However, I am wondering if you could share the name of the paint you used for your plywood? Thanks for all that you share here!

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