Wall is Out, LIght is In... Redoing a '49 Cape's Kitchen (thx Bue

function_firstApril 12, 2010

Last September I posted a rendering of our kitchen AFTER cabinets had been ordered and budget was pretty well set (better late than never). Buehl offered several suggestions for improvement and helped us find some ways that we could improve on the plan even that late in the game - thanks to Buehl's helpful sketches, we were able to make some changes that helped me get a beam moved to open it up a bit more, and a prep sink that I didn't even know I needed (but use constantly!), and an island that's exactly the right size to allow maximum seating yet without "cramping" the style of any of the workers in the kitchen. I am forever grateful, Buehl, thank you.

Background: This is a 1200 sq. ft home, with a an 8x16 kitchen which was an 8x8 working area with an eat-in 8x8 table space. We spent 10 years "dancing" with each other while prepping or cleaning because, believe me, I'm not the type to insist on doing all the cooking or clean up myself (my math figures that 4 eaters = 4 helpers, hehe)

While the footprint remained the same, the remodel took out a load-bearing wall that also had hvac and electrical things in it that had to be re-routed. It involved setting a steel i-beam into the ceiling, this wall stuff ate nearly half of budget but because our primary goal was to open up a cramped space, we felt it was worth it. We kept appliances that we had already replaced (7 yr. old fridge, and 2 year old stove and dishwasher), this helped keep the rest of the budget in line. Sticking with stock and semi-custom cabinets helped, too. We worked with a very flexible contractor (Chuck Hall at Cornerstone Construction in Framingham, MA) that let us do some of the work ourselves (tiling, painting, etc), as well as all of the shopping for fixtures, this saved us time and money, and also allowed us to work in so many of the great ideas shared on this site (air switch for GD, Ticor sink, etc).

Here is a before pic: the kitchen was evidently updated sometime in the 70's.

Here are some after's and link to the album:

Link to album:



Cabinets: Maple (java stain) Bertch Marketplace (stock) and some Bertch Legacy (semi-custom)

Counters: Giallo Sabbia granite (Brazillian)

Backsplash: Eiffelgres tile

Windows and Slider: Marvin Integrity (fiberglass exterior, wood interior)

Lighting: Restoration Hardware Optic pendants

Appliances: existing

Sink (main): Kraus 29"

Sink (prep): Ticor

Faucet (main): KWC Disko pre-rinse

Faucet (prep): Grohe Minta

4-5" recessed can lights

2-fish eye spot lights



Hidden storage above fridge

2 Amps and Airport Express in Pantry drive in-ceiling speakers from laptop

Pull-out trash

Air Switches on counter for garbage disposals

Full Extension, soft-close Drawers

Two-tiered rev-a-shelf pull-out for pots and pans

low-profile Lighting Under Cabinet

Rollout shelves in Pantrys

Soap Dispenser

NeverMT on main sink

I always found it helpful when others shared their costs of renovation, so in the spirit of helpfulness to those still planning, the total cost of our renovation was in the 50K ballpark: of that about 10K was on cabinets, 5K on fixtures, 3K on granite. The other costs I don't have broken down but covered plumbing, hvac, and general construction, including: demo, engineering, wood floors fingered into the old, steel I-beams + posts, 2 new windows, new sliding door, plaster walls, installation of cabinets.

Here's a link to additional pictures:


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Whoops, the link didn't work above, I'll try that again...

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo Album of Finished Kitchen Pics

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 10:11AM
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What a transformation and a great use of space!!

Congrats on your new kitchen-it is beautiful! You have done a great job blending your new kitchen into your home and making it look like very seamless.

Enjoy, kdlarue

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 10:16AM
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I particularly like your counters, and I usually don't like granite. Very nice!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:44AM
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Drop dead gorgeous....I just about fell off my chair it is so beautiful!! Well done...I love everything you did.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:50AM
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Its really nicely done. I like the Wm Morris wallpaper mixed in with the contemporary. You've created a loft-like open living plan in a traditional house, which wouldnt work for everybody, but given your wish list in a limited footprint you carried if off really effectively.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:07PM
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What a fantastic renovation...it must be like living in a new house! And you have taken some really great pictures to show it off. Congratulations!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:11PM
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Beautiful reno! Just taking out the wall and using the whole space makes it look 10 times bigger. I love all your choices. Your cabinets are beautiful. I'd never guess they were stock cabs. But the showstopper for me is your gorgeous backsplash. I love the random width and it works so beautifully with your granite. Great job!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:34PM
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Wow!!! Beautiful job! Great job with the layout and great job with mixing all the elements. Your backsplash looks fantastic. Enjoy your new space.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:51PM
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Wow, wow, wow! Your new kitchen is warm, inviting and nicely laid out. I love how well you blended your kitchen's colors and material choices with your living room decor (love that mantel, fun wallpaper). All the wonderful natural light you have in your space now is a bonus. Great job!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:55PM
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Terrific! I love all your choices and the kitchen looks functional as well as beautiful. You must be so excited! Congrats.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:04PM
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Very nicely done and a great change!! Love how the backsplash and granite complement each other.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:31PM
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Really fabulous job and well worth all the hard work! The colors go together beautifully and the whole space looks great!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 3:29PM
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Wow! That is a wonderful transformation! It is so rich and warm and elegant. I love your cabinets, and that backsplash is just perfect in your space.

How is that even the same space? Wowzers. Great job and congrats!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 6:09PM
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This is one of the most dramatic renovations I have ever seen. It's amazing what you've transformed that kitchen into, particularly when you see the before pictures. I've had nearly that exact before kitchen and would never have dreamed that those afters would have been possible. And thank you so much for posting the budget, it at least makes me feel better about likely never seeing those kinds of results.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:12PM
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What an incredible transformation! It's so warm and elegant, yet obviously a working kitchen. I absolutely love your palette, your granite, and your backsplash. All your choices. Just beautiful!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:17PM
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It's so much fun to share the end result with other kitchen people -- out in the real world not everybody gets so excited about a kitchen. I was tickled pink reading your nice comments thinking "they get it!". Thanks so much for taking the time to respond -- thanks to for posting your own kitchens, mine would not have turned out as functional or nearly as fun as it did if you all had not posted your own ideas for me to "borrow." It takes a village. :-)

Thanks again for your nice comments.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 6:43AM
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WOW- I love it, your before kitchen looks like the kitchen in the house I grew up in. I can't believe it's the same space. Great job, enjoy it!!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 7:05AM
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Beautiful! Spectacular transformation. I have looked back and forth at your pics a few times now, admiring all the details.....

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 7:56AM
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You did a wonderful job transforming what looked like a small dark cramped area into an open, inviting and beautiful ktichen! Love it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 2:00AM
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This is such a beautiful transformation. The open feeling is amazing, and your choices are awesome! This is one of my very favorite before / after threads because the "after" is so dramatic. What great pictures too. Enjoy your wonderful new space.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 9:44AM
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What a great space--nice job! It is so warm and cozy looking. I love the paint color in your living room--is it the same color you used in the kitchen? Would you mind sharing what color you used? Thanks! Enjoy your new kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:09AM
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Thanks so much for all the kudos, and one more time I really want to thank all the posters here, I think there's a lot of us "lurkers" out there who don't often post but read and use the tips/ideas/products that people post on this forum. I feel lucky to have found you all, what a great resource you all are. Thanks.

tanders: The paint color, which I actually hunted down a color that would match my Restoration Hardware Linen curtains (they're from the outlet so I don't have any idea what color they are, they don't have the colors on the outlet packages for some reason, at least these didn't): Behr77F-5 ("Wild Sage"). It's not as green as it appears in some of the photos, it seems to be pretty close to being RH's dark silver sage color.

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 3:06PM
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Thanks Kris--I was thinking that your drapes looked very much like a R.H. color! Thanks for getting back to me about the paint color.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 6:02PM
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While I was reading your story I kept looking at your before picture. Reminds me of my before with no counter space. Then I scrolled down to see the afters - WOW! Your new kitchen is amazing. Not only that, I would never have chosen the finishes you chose BUT I can see myself living there and being very, very happy with your kitchen. I love the windows and no uppers. Congrats on such a great job!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 6:14PM
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I love your kitchen! It's fantastic, love everything about it, great job!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:51PM
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What an amazing transformation!

I especially like the vent hood and backsplash. You gave the name of the backsplash, but not the vent hood. Do you know the brand of it, by any chance?

Also, I want to ask some newbie questions about some of the features you mentioned.... what do these terms mean?

Hidden storage above fridge
NeverMT on main sink

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 2:02PM
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Can you hear it enough times...I think not! Your kitchen looks MAAAVELOUS, darling!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 3:06PM
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Hi! Love your kitchen! We're just starting this process and I wondered if you could tell me how you did your speakers with the airport express? We have 2 of them already and think we need to upgrade to air extreme. We wanted to add sound to our renovation too but it seemed pretty costly..would love to hear what you guys did.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 3:34PM
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This is Mr. kris_ma. She asked me to step in to answer some questions:


The vent hood is from Bosch. I think Kris got it on Overstock.

The "micro-drawer" is a Microwave Drawer from Sharp that is in our Island. We really like having a microwave that isn't above the stove or taking counter space.

The NeverMT is a kit that allows us to hook up the sink soap dispensers to large jugs of soap so that we don't have to refill them.

And the hidden storage is an assignment that *I* got based on an idea that Kris picked up off this board (which is why she isn't allowed to frequent here any more :). The 3" trim board between the fridge and the over-fridge cabinet is installed on a piano hinge, so that it swings backwards to store large flat trays, placemats, etc. on top of the fridge without them being seen.


Here's the story of the wired sound:

Kris found some Cambridge Soundworks Ambience 80 speakers, which install in the ceiling. We ordered four of them (2 in the kitchen and 2 in the living room) and got permission from our contractor to run some speaker wire while the ceiling was torn off, and I ran wiring from where we wanted to speakers installed over to the location of our pantry, where we planned to install the sound equipment. We also had the electrician install an electrical outlet inside the cabinet. After the kitchen was finished, we cut holes in the ceiling to install and wire up the speakers. Inside the pantry, we ran the other end of the speaker wires into an electrical box with speaker terminals.

For sound equipment, we got an Airport Express, which has a mode that allows it to stream music from iTunes. The hardest part was finding an amplifier that would fit inside the pantry and not generate too much heat. We ended up buying two small PylePCA3 amplitiers - one each for the kitchen and living room speakers. We put these in the pantry, along with the Airport Express and connected the audio out jack on the airport into the amplifiers (we had to use an RCA jack splitter to connect to both amps). We keep the amplifiers on, and can stream music from our laptops anywhere in the house. We also use a third party software program called Airfoil (for Macs only) that allows us to stream music from *any* application, not just iTunes.

I hope that helps.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:38PM
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thank you Mr. kris-ma! I love the idea of hidden storage.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:45PM
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Thanks so much...we were wondering how we could add sound and hiding it in our pantry is perfect. I am cutting and pasting to my reno file.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 4:14PM
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Wow...that is an amazing transformation. Great blend of space, products and colors. BEAUTIFUL!!!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 4:38PM
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Bumping an old thread because I have to compliment this kitchen. What a gorgeous symphony of wood & stone!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Very, very nice of you Onedogedie (luv your username, btw). Thanks. It's been great, we still enjoy it every day -- no lie. For those GW'ers still contemplating whether it (the mess, the money, the time) is worth it -- it is.

Kris (proud mom to "twodogedies")

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Love your granite and your entire space is just gorgeous!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:14PM
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