I can’t bring myself to write a post about completing a job and welcoming our clients home without expressing heartfelt sympathy to all those who have lost their homes, and more, over the past few days to fire or financial devastation. Making things – whether furniture, books or buildings – is a source of joy. Seeing them happily used is an honor. Seeing them destroyed is heart breaking.
Yesterday we finished the kitchen I’ve been tracking here in occasional posts, and the Robinson family moved home. The job took much longer than usual, thanks to the pandemic. We’d planned to do the bulk of the work while the homeowners were in Europe, where Ben Robinson was scheduled to spend a good chunk of the summer with students. When reality put the kibosh on Plan A, we discussed Plan B: the family could live at home, cooking on an outdoor grill, and we’d seal off the kitchen workspace to keep construction dust (and droplets) to ourselves. Then we realized that wouldn’t work, either – the project included reworking the full staircase to the finished basement, as well as the steps to the upper level, and replacing the front and kitchen doors. In the end, Ben and Jenny took their three children, two cats and much of their kitchen’s contents to a rental, and then another. (There was more than the usual rental property available for sublet this summer, as many students at Indiana University-Bloomington had left town due to the pandemic.)
Here are a few more pictures from before, during and after, followed by a list of sources and suppliers.
A pair of shelves with integrated lighting defines the kitchen from the living room now that part of the wall between them is gone, while offering storage and display space. (I’ve written two posts about how I built these and how we installed them at the Fine Woodworking blog. The first is here. The second will be published there soon.)
We based the design of the white oak baluster and railing on an original screen at the mid-century home of some good friends; the angled slats are spaced for code compliance. The small white oak door on the wall opens into a cavity at the inside corner, replacing a blind corner unit that previously occupied the space.
The passageway between the living room and kitchen is now about 1′ wider than previously, which makes moving from one space to the other far more comfortable – you no longer have the sensation of passing gingerly alongside a mountain crevasse. To get the extra floor space, Mark reworked the stairs to the finished basement, moving them forward (toward the basement). He rebuilt the stairs with white oak treads and risers.
A glazed door to the carport brings more light into the room.
Sources and suppliers
- General contractor: Mark Longacre Construction, Inc.
- Flooring installation, sanding and finishing: Barry Kay
- Oak flooring: Indiana Hardwood Specialists
- Plumbing: Mann Plumbing
- Electrical: Isaiah Merriman, Bloomington Heating, Cooling and Electrical
- Wall and trim paint: Sherwin-Williams
- Milk paint: The Real Milk Paint Co.
- Aluminum-framed glass doors: Element Designs
- Soapstone counters: Quality Surfaces
- Tile: Crossville “Handwritten” series in “Penpal”
- Cabinet knobs and pulls: Schoolhouse Electric
- Cabinet finish (on oak cabinets): Sherwin-Williams conversion varnish
- Tile installation: Rusty Robertson
- Pendant light fixture between living room and kitchen: Original BTC
- Cabinet lumber and plywood: Frank Miller Lumber
- Cabinet spraying: David Willibey, Bloomington Coatings
- Cabinet design and building: NR Hiller Design, Inc.
Other posts in this series are here.
— Nancy Hiller, author of “Kitchen Think” and “Making Things Work“
10 thoughts on “A Kitchen Remodel in Real Time: Finished”
I really enjoyed Kitchen Think, and this series of posts have been very interesting. The different depth cupboards above and beside the fridge is nice touch and I like the use of vertical tiles at the ends of the run.
A beautiful and impressive end result – a job well done and to be proud of for all those involved! And thanks to you, Nancy, for sharing it with us all, and to the Robinsons for agreeing to have their kitchen put on public display.
Yes, I appreciate the Robinsons’ willingness to have this experience shared!
Another intelligent design, so well explained from Nancy Hiller. I feel privileged and inspired to read these informative posts, thank you.
That means a lot.
Nancy, what material did you use for the thick shelves in the cabinets (with doors and without)? Did you use the same construction for the cabinet carcasses as well? Haven’t seen this before. The proportions carried through in the different elements of the cabinets ties them together very nicely.
I love working with authors to help them get their books published. And I am happy to put aside my preferences to bring their vision to life. So I’m not a difficult person (in general. I hope….)
But when it comes to the books I write, I think I would be a terrible collaborator. I allow the target to move. And I will do what I want to do. I think I would frustrate a writing partner.
The collaboration in my books comes with editing. I send my manuscripts to people who will give it a “hostile edit” and straight talk about what sucks and what is not entirely sucky.
If I’m understanding you, the thickness is the edging, i.e. face frames or edging on shelves. It’s an aesthetic feature, but in most cases (and especially vis-a-vis horizontal shelves), it’s structural. It’s how I was taught to make shelves since I started out in this field in 1980, but for a benign/brutal take, google “sagulator.”
Beautifully done for sure, but your prologue grabbed me by the heart. May we all be as mindful of those who are homeless tonight and of those who have been homeless since long before. Circumstances could put any of us in the same place in an instant.
That’s just beautiful. Gorgeous. They must be ecstatic to have such a wonderful space.
I really enjoyed following along.
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