farmgirlinky kitchen before/after -- too long, too many pictures
Apologies in advance for a long post! and thanks to many thoughtful GW denizens who served as sources of inspiration to this frequent-lurker, sometime-poster: xoldtimecarpenter, rhome47, marthavila, palimpsest, buehl, boxerpups, marcolo, johnliu come to mind, among others.
We live in a 1910 house in urban Connecticut, and have been gradually renovating it for the last ten years. We hope to live here another twenty--thirty years or so, next stop would be assisted living vs. skilled nursing! So: nardellos-to-the-wall renovation, amortized over decades.
The original space included a walk-in pantry, originally the ice-box room, and the "telephone closet", which we ripped out when we moved in. The "servant's dining hall" and kitchen had long since been combined into one room. So the "before" space was raw and ugly but functional, and we installed our old Aga range and were happy for a decade. Five years ago we acquired the Subzero when our old fridge gave up the ghost. Maybe I pronounced the old fridge dead while it still had a thready pulse, but I hated it. With this renovation we ordered an Aga Module to append to the old 4-oven gas-fueled Aga range, so that we could turn the latter off in the warmest months. In the winter, we are glad to have a separate heat zone in the kitchen, where we tend to live. The rest of the house is kept just above freezing. The windows and doors were restored, except for one new window that was built to match the old ones.
Steven Marchetti of Peix & Marchetti is our friend and architect. The space was gutted last August, and our excellent builder friend Allen Mathes built around the Aga and the large refrigerator. Allen built a fir "floor" on the ceiling and "strapped" it. The Aga is vented into the old flue and could not be moved -- the range hood could only be vented through one bay between joists to the rear of the house, so we held our breath until the custom Rangecraft hood arrived and was installed and fit like a glove: that's why the ducts are assymetrical. Very Terry Gilliam.
The floor is cork, and here is a picture of unwaxed Jucca soapstone countertop. The cabinetry is custom-made in New Haven, by fantastic Bryan Smallman:
Here are the just-about-finished pictures: there's a little trim to be done yet. We love the kitchen and it works well -- prep sink at the window and the utility sink accessible from both sides of the island are especially handy, because several cooks can work comfortably together and clean-up seems more communal. The Profi faucet is terrific for clean-up, also accessible from both sides because it is side-mounted on the Julien undermount steel sink. Friends off to one side at our old kitchen table seem happy and it they're not, we just pour more bourbon....
We worked with an architect friend, and were influenced by a favorite space, the Yale Center for British Art: the palette and the quiet feeling of the materials were what we tried to emulate, even as almost every material in the museum was switched for something else. Tennessee Golden Oak became vertical grain fir (oak today isn't Louis Kahn's oak), travertine became cork (who wants to stand on stone?), brutalist concrete became soapstone (who wants to worry about sealing concrete). Steel is still steel! The cream Aga that we have had for years dictated the choice of the biscuit fireclay farm sink and the cream ceramic subway tiles.
I have this idea that it's okay to mix a lot of materials if the palette is restrained, or it's fine to mix a lot of colors if the number of materials is restrained, but I'd be interested to see examples of lots of materials AND lots of colors working well. But that's just me.
I'll list materials in a subsequent post. Again, sorry for the many pictures: I get cross-eyed trying to post these things! Let me know what you think. Except maybe you, marcolo ;)