For those not as familiar with our company, the one writing this here blog is the darling daughter (ha!) of Jim Scovell. Growing up in the industry and being around so many inspiring remodels my entire life has given me quite the champagne appetite (on a beer budget..boo hoo).
So, when my husband and I bought a Brookside house in need of some major updating back in 2013, I had lofty ideas of magazine-worthy rooms. But of course my reality is such that I have to choose kid-friendly over designer-friendly and college funds over frameless glass shower doors. It’s a hard knock life. (But, watch out marble slab backsplashes….one of these days I’m a’ coming for ya!)
Nonetheless, we were determined not to let budget come in our way as best we could. And with a little of our own elbow grease and a lot of good ol’ Scovell Wolfe carpenters, the house evolved into a charming little tudor.
I thought I’d give you a little before and after of the kitchen today, and show you the rest of the house next week. So here goes!
When we bought the house I was in my third trimester with our second child. We’d planned to live with the kitchen “as is” for the first year until everyone kindly (ahem) reminded me of my nature and that there was no way I was capable of living in a space I didn’t love for that long. Duh. Plus my rather convincing father made a compelling case for doing it first thing and having my husband, daughter and me move in with him and my mom during construction. Something about a built-in babysitter and home cooked meals made the offer hard to turn down. So the demo began!
And then slowly but surely Scovell Wolfe began putting it back together again (to my daughter Annie’s great delight!)
Unfortunately, I don’t have before pictures of the opposing wall. But take my word: it was super cramped!
There was a built-in pantry with shelves generously deep enough for nary a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. For realz. These pantry shelves had room for little more than spice jars and peanut butter. A huge loss of space. Plus the refrigerator which sat next to the pantry was oddly placed (again, sadly not in any pictures) and felt enormous. And, to boot, there was a coat closet squeezed in there as well!
In the picture below, the right opening was once the coat closet, and the left was once the kitchen entrance.
We wanted to create the illusion of more space and provide better traffic flow. So we knocked out the coat closet and pantry and made it a clean shot straight from the front door to the back door. Here’s the new, wider framed opening prior to us patching in the hardwoods.
That old back door? Well we let our painter get a hold of it and he worked. his. magic.
Just as he did with the cabinets throughout the kitchen. The guy and his crew are like paint wizards.
And that patio table?
Well it went to…um…the patio because…um….it’s a patio table?…and we used that precious space for our new pantry cabinets, built by none other than our very own Noal Yungeberg. The refrigerator now sits where the entrance to the kitchen once did. And the coat closet got the axe. I know, I know, it’s confusing. Just trust me – it all needed to happen and it did happen and we never looked back!!
Of course, it was all easier said than done. You see we needed to shorten the existing window in order to bring our countertops across and that meant matching and patching the exterior brick. But the room felt a little off balance, so we decided to pop another window in where the microwave used to be which meant actually cutting into exterior brick. And moving plumbing. And electrical. And all that other fun stuff which makes remodeling so inexpensive! Har, har.
I had a few goals that stayed at the forefront of my mind while I designed the kitchen. The main one was to get a 36 inch dual fuel pro-range at all costs. Even if it meant selling my right arm.
Or a child. No, but really. We love to cook, and without that piece of equipment all the pretty things in the world couldn’t have made me love that kitchen to the extent to which I did getting to use this thing day in and day out. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. No joke.
Another goal: I wanted it to be hard to nail down a style for the kitchen. I didn’t want it to scream ‘modern!’ or ‘traditional!’ and certainly not ‘ikea!’ (For the record, the only ikea thing in that whole darn room is the microwave!)
To that end, I really tried to mix surprising materials and textures.
John and I took the kids out to Elmwood Reclaimed Timber and let Annie help us pick out a piece of pine to hang above the range. The brass sconce from Serena and Lily was originally intended for a bathroom, but I got a wild hair to put it over the stove instead.
As for the backsplash, white subway tile at once bores me and yet at the same time feels like the most solid option you can go with these days. So to take the interest up at least one notch, we selected Winchester Tile (which you can find at International Materials of Design). It’s hand glazed and gets shipped over by boat from England. There are a million and one color shades to choose from and you feel like you’re buying pieces of art!
As scary as color can be sometimes, I decided that the best way to bring it into the kitchen in the most non-commital way possible was to simply provide space and opportunity for moving pieces. So we integrated two exposed bookshelves in the cabinetry – one which the countertop dies into and one in the island. I could just as easily put colorful cookbooks and pottery in as I could’ve had a change of heart and done a collection of all-white servingware. It was the perfect way to leave the door open to new styles down the road, and not be held captive by color.
And the mantle was really ever-changing. Most of the time it was comprised of the kids’ artwork and anything I wanted to keep from the reach of those little toddler fingers….candles, breakable bowls…and for a couple glorious months of the year….Christmas cards and decor. But let’s be real. I have two kids. My house is the farthest thing from picture-worthy six days out of the week. Here it is on a good day during the holidays. (Notice we inserted a cased opening between the kitchen and its adjoining room to create as open a space as we could.)
And here it is on a typical day…
Anyway, let’s erase that real life image from your mind and replace it with another pretty picture Chad Jackson took.
The honed Carrara marble for the countertop is another one like the subway tile. I see it everywhere, which makes me hesitant to use it. But, hey, I see it everywhere because it’s just that good! A subtle pattern. Clean to the eye, yet still interesting. Won’t break the bank. 100% classic. Sign me up.
But I took a chance with the island and selected Silverscreen marble for the countertop. I even ended up choosing my cabinet paint color (Sherwin William’s Plymouth Rock) in relation to the Silverscreen. This pretty rare marble has these incredibly deep striations and little ‘jewels’ throughout – like you see in some granites.
In the end, the kitchen was the perfect combination of safe and risky for us. Shaker style cabinets, white countertops and backsplash, a neutral paint color…that all helped to ground the space for some slightly out of the oridinary choices like a reclaimed pine mantle under a wall sconce! We really love how it all came together and are grateful for Noal’s cabinet-making, Patrick’s carpentry and the rest of the team’s hard work making this design a reality!