What does one do when one's husband is out of town? Cereal for breakfast, early bedtimes for those who have school the next day, and an evening to load photos from the fancy camera to see what has been in limbo in the world of captured and unreleased. Turns out, I have long overdue photos of two more areas of Magnolia Manor: The Kitchen and The Book Nook from a day when I cleaned so well, that I shall be sad to go into the kitchen and see what it really looks like today.
It's been so long, in fact, that I had a hard time finding my before pictures and when I did was again amazed at how much we've done since those first days of buying this great home.
The kitchen and the bathroom behind it were basically gutted. We moved absolutely everything for several reasons.
The main reason was the size. It was SO tiny, dark, and blocked off, while next to it was a huge room with these amazing windows and spacious ceilings (13' at the lowest point for reference--see tiny Drummer on the couch?)When you move from apartment to apartment and house to house, you begin to make a mental (or physical, if you're more organized than I) list of what you want...one day, when you can choose it all. And we got to, in this kitchen. It was so much fun.
It's basically a kitchen, with an attached space to hang out. We put a couch and the family computer because everybody wants to be where I am, and I'm usually doing laundry, dishes, or making a meal, which is all in this area, so now they can be with me, but not on or under me.
We wanted a nice big counter where guests can sit while we finish dinner prep and invite them to help and sit across from us while we chat and prepare. Or a place where I can have an indoor greenhouse ;).
This is the wall we took down and opened up. But, fun story: that little door up so high? That's the access to the first roof deck from the original construction. It's insulated, so the plan is to one day finish it and maybe build a little loft, or ladder for an additional room or just a fun place for the teenagers to hang out.
This first photo is a view from the bathroom behind the kitchen that was also gutted. The second is before they took down the kitchen wall with the little window.
One of the things I love about this house is that you can see other parts of the house from almost every single room. I don't know why that's so important to me, but I love that I can see from one side of the kitchen, clear to the parlor. It makes me happy.
Originally the wall beneath the counter was painted white, which was a losing battle from day one when we put those chairs there. I painted it with chalkboard paint for an "intended messy" look instead of "accidentally messy". As they began the tear-down, I loved all the different flooring discovered. A little map of the history this house has been and seen. And then there was the time when I had a trench dug inside my house, complete with dirt. That was weird to smell outside smell in my kitchen. The half-bath toilet didn't drain properly, so they fixed that plumbing before the new floor was started.
The couch is from IKEA, black leather for easy cleaning. I am surprised at how much we use this kitchen couch. Probably more than our more formal couch in the parlor.
We did keep the little pantry that's located behind the fireplace, but took out the closet that was across from it.
I've had this milk glass doorknob for ages, and have taken it from house to house, waiting for the perfect door. I had to order the retrofit hardware, but it wasn't too difficult to put on...my perfect door. ;)Another kitchen before. There wasn't even a dishwasher. But...
...the ceilings! These carried over from the parlor and we put in cupboards as high as they would accommodate. We went with an induction stove that I have grown to love (and perhaps has spoiled me a bit...why does water take so long to boil on every other stove?!) It's truly amazing. It uses a magnetic current to heat, but doesn't get super hot to the touch (you can place a paper towel between your pan and stove and it won't burn), so it doesn't cook food onto the stovetop. My only complaint is that when you use a cheaper pan with little food in it, there is an audible clicking you can hear while it heats. If you get nicer cookware, it doesn't do that.
One thing that I have loved so much more than I though I would is the kitchen sink faucet. It's touch sensitive, so if you're hands are all covered with sticky bread dough or raw meat juices, you just bump it with your arm and it turns on without getting your faucet all dirty.
We did absolute black granite countertops which are, to be honest, really hard to keep clean. I tried all the granite cleaners I could find and they all left big smears. I found that the best way is to wipe them down with a wet cloth and dry them immediately with a flour sack towel. That's it. I may consider having them honed to a flat finish in a couple of years, but I really do love them when they're all shined up.
See how small? There wasn't even a dishwasher and behind the lady with the purse was a drop-down ironing board that cut the tiny kitchen in half.
One of the hardest decisions was the hardware for the cabinets. I wanted something simple and classy, but not white and not something that would detract from the simplicity of the whole kitchen. I found these perfect glass knobs at Rejuvenation, which I could really use for my entire lighting and hardware needs. Every single thing they have is stunning and flawlessly designed.Right next to the kitchen is what was originally the dining area that we've changed into a booknook. Does anyone really use a dining room anymore? It just made more sense for us to use it as a snuggle up and read area. We read a whole lot more than we formally dine. ;)
This was the before. Ryan was surprised I wanted to keep the lighting. Painted. Of course.
Painting everything white really brightened up everything, and if you'll notice, we bought those stools from the estate sale and I just painted them black and white. They've been great.
I used Dana's large Rollie Pollie pattern for the bean bags. I really should make more because sometimes all of us cuddle on those bags. It's such an inviting space. We have to be careful, though, Drummer has taken to hiding under them when escaping his sisters, hehe!
And my kids are pretty good about keeping the books rainbowtized. I actually find it therapeutic to put them back in order. I'm weird.
The Magnolia Manor Renovations I've revealed so far:
And I know there are questions about flooring, but I will do a post on all the flooring in the house and hopefully catch all the questions in one post.