farmgirlinky kitchen before/after -- too long, too many pictures

farmgirlinkyApril 23, 2011

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 ;)


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Absolutely stunning kitchen, and looks like it's been there forever. Your architect did a splendid job!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 10:12PM
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wow! just fabulous! the best wood kitchen i think i've seen.

Hope i don't start second guessing my white one...jk ;o)


    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 10:23PM
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I think that is a new all time favorite kitchen. I can't tell you how many things I love about it. I kept going back and forth and when I thought it couldn't get any better I came to the picture of the range and hood. Audible gasp! There's so much to love about it. Man oh man... I would LOVE to cook in that kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 10:28PM
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STUNNING!!! I love the mix of old and contemporary - I think you did a fantastic job and you're right on with your comment about mixing materials with restraint. If you have a chance I'd love to see the pics of your pantry tucked next to the stove. ENJOY!!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 10:42PM
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That looks like a real cook's (and eater's!) kitchen! I'll bet it's so enjoyable to cook in, hang out in, and dine in. It looks terrific, too!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 10:53PM
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farmgirl, I would tell you how much I love your kitchen but your Aga set-up has stopped my heart as well as the oxygen to my brain.

Just splendid...

PS gasping just enough to ask if you would please take a pic of the rounded shelves to the right of the refrigerator, please. From what I could glimpse in two pics I would love to see them properly.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:10PM
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LOVE LOVE LOVE. Are you in the Yale area? 'cuz I would LOVE to come hang out in that kitchen next time I go visit my in-laws!

I think you did an amazing job marrying materials and styles, and accomplished just what you set out to do--creating a cook's kitchen that feels warm, comfortable, practical and unpretentious and yet beautiful in a quiet and understated way.

Please tell me where you got your tiles and those lights over your island! It's a great blend of cottage and industrial. Is your cork glue-down tiles or planks? I'm interested because I am going with a cork floor as well.

Great kitchen...I agree with remodelfla. This kitchen is one that will be referenced many times in future GW posts!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:15PM
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Be still my beating heart! I really love everything you've done there. Kudos to all involved in getting to such a lovely end.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:17PM
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truly wonderful! i could spend hours in your kitchen just admiring and exploring the details. i just want to pull up one of those stools at your island and marvel, while you make something splendid at that aga! what a beautiful kitchen to work in. wow, you must be so, so pleased and happy. :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:23PM
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OMG! You have seriously gone and done it!!! :-) What a marvelous kitchen. So much here to take in and admire. (And, of course, I'm swooning over your 4-oven Cooker with Companion. Drool). As others have said, I love the way you have worked in the old with the new, the sleek and modern with the rustic and farmhouse. All combining for a warm and inviting and yet very smart, very sharp kitchen. Talk about mastering the eclectic! Remodelfla has it right: -- this kitchen makes it to the all-time fave roster. Congratulations and enjoy!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:28PM
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I really, really like it! Not one upper cabinet, so much natural light. Your cork floor that is proud to look like cork. A range from Jules Verne. Really nice layout and materials. Beautiful.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:44PM
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Oh, WOW. This is my new favorite inspiration kitchen. LOVE it and LIKE it, too. It has the "feel" I gravitate towards and hope to someday replicate--if I ever get out of this tract home where it would NOT work. Thanks so much for the eye candy and brain zing. You did real good.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Anna summed it up for me, as well:
"I think you did an amazing job marrying materials and styles, and accomplished just what you set out to do--creating a cook's kitchen that feels warm, comfortable, practical and unpretentious and yet beautiful in a quiet and understated way."

This is a REAL kitchen. Those Peackck kitchens make me swoon, but this one just exudes love, peace, family. Congratulations.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 12:00AM
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absolutely stunning! it looks like it belongs in that house. simply beautiful!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 12:32AM
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Gorgeous! Looks like it's always been there. And I LOVE the stove! The Fir cabs are to DIE for! Way better than oak. But, I never would have painted that gorgeous ceiling :(

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 1:01AM
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Holy cow! I love it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 3:03AM
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I love every detail. You did a wonderful job creating a perfect kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 6:01AM
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now there's a different drummer!
Lots to look at. Can't take it all in at first gulp. gotta come back

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 7:57AM
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collins design

Wow, that's just beautiful!

I'm running off to Easter stuff, but I have a couple questions (forgive me if someone already asked):

1) What are your stools? That's what I've been looking for. I actually woke up this morning thinking of them and envisioning EXACTLY what you have! (Please don't say Thos. Moser, which I can't afford...)

2) How are your floating shelves constructed & installed? We've been debating how best to do this so that heavy things can be kept on them.

Again- what a wonderful space!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:17AM
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Wow!!! Just beautiful! I love all of the windows (the whole run of cabinets on that wall), the stove, the soapstone, . . well, there's not really anything I don't love!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:32AM
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The reward for living in the space for a few years before messing with it is clearly contextual perfection. It will work perfectly, and it looks both organically handsome and like no other kitchen.

I am not generally TKO, but today I am green with envy (although only of the most high-toned conceptual kind).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:38AM
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It looks like you live there - has a kind of elaborateness balanced with a very practical simplicity. Impressive and inviting. Congratulations.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:47AM
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Everything is wonderful, but my favorites are the range(!) and the eating area. I wish I had room for that.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:50AM
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Stunning. And such a functional space. So many kitchens start looking the same, this one really stands out!! Outstanding kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:57AM
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Wow! An amazing transformation. Beautiful!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:57AM
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Simply gorgeous, and I mean the "simply" but in the most positve way. What an inspiring kitchen. Enjoy.
On a self-centred note, can you tell me your aisle widths? :)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:19AM
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Wow! All of the above! I could tell just from the gut job that it was going to be an amazing space and I was not disappointed. Like so many people have said you have done a wonderful job blending old and new and this kitchen is perfection! There's not one area that isn't to die for! Your cabinet maker did a wonderful job. Those are probably the best looking cabinets I've seen on GW. The fit is unbelievable! Your soapstone is gorgeous. I love your faucets and lighting choices, the open shelves, the furniture, the nooks and crannies. But I have to say my absolute favorite is the little eating alcove. It's just so darn cute! The table fits perfectly. The baskets, the bookshelves, the bench. Sigh!

I've seen tons of beautiful, magazine worthy kitchens on GW over the years but I must say this is the best "cooks" kitchen that I've seen. Beautiful and functional! And yes!, it belongs in a magazine too.

Did I miss any adjectives????

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:22AM
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That is just fantabulous. I love it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:42AM
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Gorgeous, without trying too hard. The simple beauty of materials and craftsmanship. Love the ceiling, the bookcase, and glass door fridge ( you are brave! I would feel the need to start eating color coordinated food)


    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 1:03PM
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Absolutely fabulous!!! The attention to detail is unbelievable. Pretty much ditto what everyone else has said. Love the lighting, can you share the resource? Love the hood and how you didn't finish it off on top. have my all time favorite frig. Enjoy your new space!!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 1:30PM
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Beautiful, creative, harmonious AND sturdy, practical, livable. Wow.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 1:56PM
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I just love it. Beautiful, beautiful job. All of the details are just amazing. Wish I had your faucets! I am going back to look again.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Looks great, very unique looking kitchen ! How tall is your ceiling ? I was wondering if I could pull that off on our house remodel.

Best of Luck with the rest !

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 4:20PM
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I think this is the first time I have seen an Aga 4-oven cooker AND a Sub-Zero Pro 48 in the BEFORE pictures!

Nice job!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 4:24PM
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I have to totally disagree with your title! There simply cannot be too many pix of this kitchen ;)

My reaction was something like "oh, Oh, OH" repeated several times. I am not sure if its beauty is the biggest element or its functionality.... This is all so swoon-worthy. I will be coming back to drool at this posting for some time. Your stove is to die for but the hood is amazing too. It all works so well together that it feels like it was divinely inspired.

I bet Marcolo loves it....

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 4:36PM
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I loved the before pictures so much that I thought there could not be anything to improve on it. I was wrong.
WOW.........a dream kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 5:10PM
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I am speechless. Your kitchen is jaw dropping! LOVE it!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 5:50PM
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I realize the cabinets are custom-made, but I wonder if anyone could point me to similar cabinets. They are not plain and not excellent taste. I could not find anything even remotely like it; "Shaker" or "Scandanavian" doesn't do it. But certainly there are manufacturers I haven't looked at. Many thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 6:02PM
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If your purpose was to make things look as though they weren't all installed recently, you are very successful. This space has modernity yet seems to have a history as well. How quickly do your servants respond when called?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Your divine kitchen is the epitome of everything aready said...and more... My all time favorite ......Thank you for sharing...What a treat it must be to dream and cook in that perfectly designed space...............

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 6:10PM
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Wow. Very, very nice. I'm guessing your creation may be good for very long run, style-wise at least, with all those fine, proven materials and excellent design. Happy cooking.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 7:32PM
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your kitchen is very tasteful. What a great finished product... I love the refrigerator. Enjoy it and congratulations.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 8:05PM
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Particularly love the range and hood!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 8:32PM
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Beautiful! A perfect "marriage" of old and new, so lovely!!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 8:52PM
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Your thoughtfulness and attention to detail are evident. Your choices are wonderful. No one gets a kitchen like this without a lot of careful planning. It is a kitchen that is uniquely yours but one that is instantly recognized as exceptional and excellent, as the response in this thread attests. I agree, by the way with your thought that you can mix materials as long as you constrain the palette -- it makes for wonderful texture and feels honest and authentic. I'm sure you're delighted and proud -- you certainly deserve to be!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 9:51PM
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I've been lurking around this forum for three years now and your kitchen is now my absolute all time favorite. It is beautiful, warm, harmonious and just perfect. I go back and look at all my inspiration pictures for my kitchen, and lots of them have parts right, but yours is the only one that is 100% perfect.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 1:03AM
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Hi Farmgirl.. could you possibly provide the dimensions of your kitchen? thanks.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 7:43AM
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Hi farmgirlinky, your kitchen is beautiful! There are so many things to love about it from the cork floors, to the countertops, cabinets, hood,... I even love some of your pre remodel elements: the wood table and panel doors in your home! It's one of the few kitchens I've seen on this forum where my reaction has been, "I'd really like to visit this kitchen in person." Fantastic job! Enjoy your kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:36AM
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First, I must start by saying that I am jealous! That is one fabulous kitchen. It has definately moved onto my All-Star list. And as someone above stated, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, you show the range wall! Be still my heart. I would also love to see pics of the rest of your home. That red chair around the corner has my interest piqued. Plus, as others have already asked more info on the lighting! What lucky friends you have to get to enjoy being entertained in that fantastic space.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 1:15PM
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You wouldn't think that I'd be speechless given the time, thanks to your preview teasers, that I've had to think about what praise to heap on your kitchen ... but you'd be wrong. All I can muster is that top to bottom, your kitchen is incredible! Very well done!

What's with the light above the closed door for the room under the stairs? Do you have a dark room?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Thank you all so much for the enthusiastic and kind and perceptive responses to these iPhone pictures. You make us feel as though we weren't completely crazy to do this. Thanks, too, for your questions. Let me try and address those questions while I still have the plans floating around:

Aokat, the butler's pantry is the original, 100-year-old ones with its (battered) copper sink intact. We didn't touch it, and can't take credit for it, but photos below:

Beckysharp, I hope the pictures below are better for the rounded shelves:

Johnliu, I like the image of travelling ?however many leagues under the sea in that range hood.

Natschultz, we initially were reluctant to paint the ceiling, too, but realized it would have been an oppressive amount of wood, like living in a cigar box. I wanted to sort of "unroof" the kitchen by making the ceiling pale and bluish gray, like a cloudy day -- the light spill out the monorail lamp heads makes it look cloudy, and in a room that is so matte, I'm glad to have the slight gloss of the ceiling. At least, so goes my thinking, whether or not it works that way.

Staceyneil, the vertical grain fir stools were made in Rhinebeck New York by a company called Sawkille, which has a terrific website. I believe the wood is recycled, and they adjusted the height according to the dimensions of our island. I don't know how the price compares with Thos. Moser, though. I love their tractor-seat stools, too.

The floating shelves are fir veneer over MDF, with Kichler LED task lighting cut into the underside of the bottom shelves -- not easy to see unless the LEDs are turned on. Holes drilled in the thick shelves were slid over iron dowels that had been screwed to the studs before wallboard and tiles went up, and glued there for good measure. So the shelves aren't going anywhere. You can see the dowels in one of the pictures posted at the beginning of this thread.

CoCo, we actually cheated the aisle width between the island and the run of counters on the window wall: 34.5". The main aisle, between island and Aga, is 36.5" from Aga rail to counter edge.

Mtnredux, when I start color-coordinating the contents of the refrigerator I'll know for sure it's time to seek counseling. I have a little bit of a Tupperware sorting problem as it is. Even a relatively smooth kitchen reno was like a marathon psychoanalytic session. Kitchens are PERSONAL, aren't they?

Bagpipers, the kitchen ceiling is 9 feet tall.

Greenhousems, the kitchen is 25 feet long, and at its widest dimension it is 13.5 feet wide, but at the back door end it is narrowed because of the narrow back staircase, which goes from the second floor down to the basement.

Lisa_a, you are observant! That little ruby light over the back stair door tells us if we forgot to turn off the light in the basement laundry room.

Florantha, those gosh durn servants never do come no matter how often we ring the bells on the old annunciator! Erik of the Electrical Connection labored over that thing to restore it, while also installing monorail low-voltage lights -- that pretty much sums up the spectrum of technologies in here.

Before I lose this post I am going to put it up, and list the materials in a following post.
Grateful for your interest,

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 7:37PM
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It took me a while to give your beautiful space the attention it deserves. Although it is clearly a carefully designed and curated space it looks entirely artless--as though it sprang up organically--the natural contemporary offspring of your original pantry. You are so right about kitchens being personal. Who knew the renovation of a single room could cause so much angst and soul searching?
I have a slightly off topic question about the winders on your stairway. We're going to need at least one set of winders on stairway we're having rebuilt (our main stairs no less). Do you find them fully navigable? Do you ever need to traverse them while carrying a big laundry basket or some other unwieldy object? Are they a tripping hazard? We'd love the opinion of someone with experience.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:06PM
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Our kitchen renovation team and sources and materials:

Architect: Steven Marchetti of Peix & Marchetti in NYC

General Contractor: Allen Mathes of Hamden, CT

Cabinetry: Bryan Smallman of New Haven, CT -- the cabinetry and trim in the room are vertical grain fir. The style of the flush panels and their reveal were copied from the panelling of the Yale Center for British Art. The panels are fir veneer over MDF, for stability because of those narrow tolerances. The drawer slides are by Blum. The handles on the drawers and slide-out pantries are by Hafele, and under the Hafele glass-tambour appliance garage there is a Hafele Magic Corner 2, which we really like. The interior of the slide-out pantries are by Hafele, too.
All but one of the windows and the door and transom are original, and were restored by (incredibly patient and meticulous) Arlen.

Painting contractor: Arlen Haug of Hamden, CT, using Benjamin Moore Aura paint in the Affinity line (a well-edited set of colors).

Electrical work: Erik Findlay of the Electrical Connection (with his lieutenant/daughter Suzie)
Monorail Lighting by Edge Lighting, ordered through Klaff's in Norwalk, CT, using the Harley head with (for now) halogen lamps, but these are compatible with LEDs when their light quality improves. I'll be sorry to lose the "spill" out the back of the halogen lamp, though.

Plumbing: George Porto

Sinks and faucets from Torrington Plumbing Supply in New Haven, with the help of Noelle:
Dornbracht Tara Ultra with handspray and Tara Ultra Profi faucets, and

Porcher fireclay sink (rotated so the drain is on the right side, since we both are right-handed, so the label is actually on the inside front of the sink. We went with Porcher after the Rohl biscuit fireclay turned out to be a weird kind of pinkish biscuit that absolutely clashed with the Aga and the fir), and

Julien custom 24" x 24" J7 stainless steel sink, built to be accessible from both sides of the island, with the drain at the right upper corner (thanks to Dino Rachiele and his ergonomic consultation). The Insinkerator Compact Pro just fit in that corner, and the arrangement leaves a lot of usable space under the utility sink.

Subzero Pro48 is 5 years old: we like the drawers, but nothing, not even a glass door and a beeper, keeps a teenaged boy from standing in front of an open fridge while leisurely surveying its contents. We've had no problems at all with this refrigerator, except when our builder friend Allen had to waltz it around a kitchen renovation!

The dishwasher is a Miele La Perla. Got off on the wrong foot when it only wanted to speak to us in Slovenian, but ever since I mastered Slovenian everything has been great. As usual we were the ones who were malfunctioning.

The cream "conventional" 4-oven Aga is 15 years old, and we love it, moved it here from our old house. We thought it would be nice to be able to turn it to pilot for hot summer months when we don't cook so much, so we were delighted that the Module has since become available, and can be retrofitted to an extant Aga, and that Aga will match the Module enamel to your old range as long as you have the paint code. Which, incredibly, we did. We're thrilled to have a wok ring for the first time, and a real broiler, but won't use the Module much until this summer.

The range hood is by Rangecraft -- they were terrific to deal with, and didn't seem flapped by the oddball dimensions imposed by our unusual range set-up and off-center venting requirements as well as existing B-vent from the Aga.

The floor is DuroDesign glue-down tile, in Baltico, from the Green Living Centre in Westport, CT, expertly installed by Karl.

There's a pull-out trash and recycling bin to the right of the utility sink and opposite the fireclay prep sink, but I put another Vipp trash can to the right of the Aga so I wouldn't have to run around the island to throw something away. That second trash bin is easily moved to wherever. I have always liked their design.

Hope this is useful to someone! Making a kitchen is like building a mechanical watch.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:24PM
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Fabulous butler's pantry. Bless your heart for not touching it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:31PM
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Your whole space makes me so happy. We are fridge twins, and my kids do the same thing as your son, stand in front, door open, despite the glass. I used to work in the YUAG, another Kahn building across the street, as an undergrad. The BAC was my favorite building on the planet. I think half my architecture school projects were stolen from it in one way or another. You did a fabulous job of capturing warmth and scale juxtaposed with geometry and clean lines. I am so impressed.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:31PM
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I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, but WOW!

The butler's pantry is amazing to have such a space.

Always loved that style of SZ.

The Aga on on it's own wall--well, it deserves it!

Congrats! It looks like such a great place to cook.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:22PM
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Daaaang, the best superlatives have been used on this kitchen already!! I'm jumping on the "all-time favorite" bandwagon with the others.

I love everything about your gorgeous kitchen. But the best thing is, even though we haven't met you, it is so clear to all of us that the space reflects you and your tastes and fits so well with the rest of the house. (How can we tell, since we have not seen the rest of the house? Dunno-but we can tell.)

You have fabulous taste and managed to make your kitchen look effortlessly cool and sophisticated, stay true to it's vintage roots, AND make everyone want to come hang out. There's nothing precious or overdone.

I ESPECIALLY like the glossy painted ceiling, btw. (-8

Beautifully done! Enjoy.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Thank you so much for the pantry pics!! What a gorgeous space as well!!

I'm a fridge twin as well and what's ironic is that I often find my DH (who is no where near as OCD as I am about keeping the house clean) arranging sodas and yogurts on the shelves so that everything looks good and organized through the glass... now if only he'd care so much about all the other spaces in the house ;)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 10:29PM
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You can relax. I approve.

It's a lovely space, but it is also a terrific example of doing a renovation that is decidedly not a period reproduction yet is very sensitive to context. It has plenty of nods to vintage forms and traditional workmanship, but is unmistakably modern. Obviously it is also sensitive to the context of its city. I have spent many hours in the BAC doing research for vacuous and highly unoriginal undergraduate papers on Turner, and I recognized the reference from the photos even before I read your post. However, you will rather spoil the parallel if you are a good cook, since the BAC is a famously a far more interesting work than most of the paintings in it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Oh sorry, but on my monitor the ceiling appears bright white - if it's really pale cloudy blue I can definitely believe it works. We painted the ceiling in our addition that color, and while it works in the old part of the house, the recessed CFLs in the new room make it feel like a dungeon. That's one thing I love about your kitchen - the monorail lighting looks so good and doesn't take away from the rest of the room. We were planning on recessed lights, but with CFLs they just don't provide enough light; seeing your room I no longer fear that monorail lighting will become a distraction.

Also, looking at the pics again, I really LOVE that you tiled the entire stove wall. That is one thing I love about antique kitchens, but even in a more modern layout like yours it really works because it allows the eye a place to rest so you really get to appreciate the entire space as a whole. Same on the sink wall - I love the tile going all the way up to the Fir trim above the windows. And above that, on my monitor the upper wall actually does look blue - and beautiful!

And the sliding glass doors in the pantry are to die for!

Oh and I love that you broke the aisle spacing rules and it works! I think a lot of people will be relieved to hear that!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 11:35PM
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Ah, I didn't realize the cabinets had a pedigree.

They do look better in these photographs than those at the YCBA, which is very much of its time---not such a memorable time, and so from a distance the panels look suspiciously like Formica.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Of course, I knew I would from the glimpses you've given us previously. It's a real masterpiece, and some place I could live 24/7! First of all, to start with the great SZ and the Aga...What a combo. Love the fir and the countertops. Love how the trim wraps from the wall around the tops of the cabinets. REALLY love the mix of contemporary and traditional/older items and home. The table and the pantry really top it off for me. Sleek, clever, sharp, and homey at the same time.

But, for his health's sake, I don't think I can show my dh the fir ceiling... painted. ;-) But I agree it is brighter this way and it would've been a lot of wood.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:27AM
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Just beautiful.

I love the counter-ceiling bookshelf.

There is a section of countertop that is lower than the rest to the right of the non-island sink - I'm interested to hear the story of this please?

Thanks for giving us a glimpse of such stellar craftsmanship.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:10AM
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What a beautiful, unique kitchen! I love the ceiling along with the lighting you picked out. There is a lot of subtle interest there. The cork floors yeild a lovely warmth to the space. I also like how the entire wall behind the AGA is tiled. Very neat. This kitchen is designed well and fits perfectly in the space!

Enjoy that lovely space!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 6:48AM
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collins design

Thank you so much for the answers. Sawkille makes some gorgeous pieces and I've emailed them for pricing.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 7:28AM
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Just another admirer to say what a fantastic job! I love this kitchen so much. The colors are very similar to what we are doing. On that note, would you mind sharing the wall color :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 7:29AM
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Whew, marcolo, my husband just said it was safe for me to come out of the closet where I'd been cowering all night, sniffling "he didn't like it!" I'll bet your Turner papers were good and that you had a rare undergraduate sensibility. You'll be relieved to hear that the parallels hold: nothing I cook in this kitchen will be as good as the kitchen itself, which deserves a cook like johnliu's friend. But modern kitchens aren't just about cooking, are they?

senator13, the wall color is BM Aura "Tranquility" and the ceiling is "Constellation" in the same line.

aliris19, the dropped counters under two of the three northern windows are meant to interrupt the long run of countertop and make things feel less "fitted", but it is also true (?shocking) that we and some of our friends are countersitters, and had the cabinets under the reinforced so that the stone could take the weight without fear of cracking. Also, it meant we didn't have to seam the soapstone at all.

Rhome, you and rococogurl have been major sources of inspiration!

natschultz, the tiled Aga wall was originally supposed to have a cork inset behind the kitchen door (which hasn't yet been rehung in the photos) and my DH and our builder friend Allen, when they realized we had enough tile left over (oops, I forgot to credit the tile to Pratt & Larsen!) at the last minute decided to bag the cork plan and go all the way on the wall with tile. I'm glad you like that decision. Sometimes I wonder how it would have looked the other way, and we would have had a place to pin up flotsam and jetsam. But now I think I'm glad that flotsam and jetsam are minimized.

I forgot to credit the tile to Pratt & Larsen! And to say that the cherry kitchen table, which has a leaf hidden under the top, was built 15 years ago by Phil Brunwin of Bethany, CT, inspired by a picture of a worktable from a Lutyens kitchen. The kitchen chairs have been collected over the last twenty years, three of them are L&JG Stickley and one is a Gustav, so quartersawn oak, all. Whole lotta wood going on! And design by accretion. We never could have done this renovation all at once, and we can't restore this house all at once. Lucky that we enjoy the process and the people who have done most of the work. Lucky to have met you all on the Gardenweb, too!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 8:46AM
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Lynn, thanks for all the extra pictures, especially of the shelves by the fridge. Yes, that's what I had in mind. Just lovely. And the butler's pantry with the shelving and copper sink, oh MY!

I'd say "enjoy" but I know I don't have to...


    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 10:22AM
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inspired by a picture of a worktable from a Lutyens kitchen

Oh my dear lord. Is the entire theme of your kitchen famous artists and architects I wrote awful papers on? Next I'll hear that your landscaping was designed to recall tree imagery in the Inferno.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 10:44AM
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I keep coming back to this thread and notice new things all the time. I had wondered about the lowered parts too, and the explanation makes perfect sense ;) I designed without seams too and can totally understand your reasoning. I think the visual break of the long counter is a good reason too. I like how it seems to set up your sink as a semi feature.
I also want to put in how much I love the shelving over the stove. It adds so much to what is already great.
Your cutting board cubby is also a nice idea.
I am so glad you ended up with the tile wall even if it was by accident. It just gives it a perfect look.
So much to admire... it is hard to take it all in ;)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 11:37AM
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I'm with Dianalo. I keep coming back to this kitchen, over and over. And, the additional photos, especially of the butler's pantry, keep the drool running! My goodness what a special work of art this kitchen is; a quiet roar of perfection. I did not see you mention your soapstone in your list of credits. Did I miss that? Whatever. Like everything else in your kitchen, it's gorgeous.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 11:51AM
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I can imagine Julia Child, Lidia Bastianich and my little Italian grandmother happily bustling about in this kitchen, effortlessly turning out heaping platters of delicious meals. It simply oozes warmth, love and good food.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Yikes marthavila you're right: the soapstone counters came from Dorado stone, "Jucca". They are pretty soft, but scratches and dings fade away with a little time and a dab of their dry wax. Wish the same could be said of my own scratches and dings.

Dianalo, I waited for nine months for Aga to send that additional run of Aga shelf for the Module! And in fifteen years, the design of the cast iron braces has changed. But we can't face the ruckus required to improve that set-up (bolting together the shelves, replacing some tiles, rearranging the distribution of braces) and will kick it down the road. If it doesn't disturb you, it won't disturb me.

Marcolo, I will look at tree imagery in The Inferno and landscape accordingly!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 6:31PM
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Thanks, Lynn, for answering my question. What a smart idea! We could have used such a handy light in one of the houses I grew up in. We were forever opening the basement door to discover that someone (ahem, no names, please) had left the basement lights on. All night, of course.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 7:33PM
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Finally got a chance to look at these---your kitchen is beautiful! So fun that the butler's pantry has survived intact, too. It's also making me seriously regret that we didn't explore fir cabinets and tiling up the wall more...*sigh* Thanks also for the description of your floating shelf mounting, since I had the same question, though unfortunately our tile and wall are already up so I guess we can't go that route at this point. Ah, well.

I also love that it's BAC-inspired---I grew up and went to college in NH, and one of my best friends worked there while we were in school so we got to go to the grand reopening when they finished its big renovation in the late 90s (when we were still some months shy of being old enough to have the wine at the reception, as I recall---yikes, that was a long time ago!) Still one of the most incredible modern spaces around, and love that it still has influence in today's design!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 8:04PM
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Lynn, I don't have anything original to add to what has already been said but I wanted to join the chorus and tell you how much I LOVE your kitchen. It's absolutely beautiful, and perfect in every way.

Like marthavila, I keep going back and looking at the photos over and over, seeing new details every time.

This is a new GW classic and one that you must promise to put in the FKB. There can't be enough photos of this stunning kitchen.

Congrats and happy cooking!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 7:00AM
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Luytens too? Now you have totally brought me back to New Haven. If I could find a picture of my little BAC garden pavilion model from junior studio I would post it. Sounds like Marcolo and I could put together a book of overwrought academic treatises.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 8:05AM
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Histokitch, wish we could bring lots of people back to New Haven, and not just to share in the tax base! It's a wonderful/gritty/frustrating/beautiful/culturally rich/peaceful place to live, a well-kept secret in our opinion.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Not to hijack the thread, but just FYI for any Lutyens fans that help is needed to help save Castle Drogo before it leaks its last,

I don't do Facebook, but a friend sent me this,

To get this back on course, if you have a Lutyens table in the kitchen, you need to conjure up Gertrude Jekyll in the garden!


    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Just wanted to resurrect this in case anyone else besides me is in need of a push to stay motivated and inspired. I just love this kitchen...

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 12:25PM
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sjerin too.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 7:09PM
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This is one of my favorite kitchens. It's so wonderful, and it looks like a cook's kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 6:13PM
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Stunning! Gorgeous! Full of character and personality!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:29AM
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It's nice to have another look at this beauty.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:04PM
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Thanks for pulling this one back - this was posted before I ever heard of GardenWeb!
I wonder if FarmGirl ever comes back to visit. If not, I might have to go visit her!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:33PM
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If you are still "around", how do you like your soapstone?

I am considering one but the hard ones are too dark for me. I am not sure if the lighter ones would hold up.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:52PM
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Love it!

I'm getting the Sub-Zero 48" pro. How do you love it?

Everything looks gorgeous!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 8:10PM
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How the hell did I miss this the first time around?? I really need to start coming back more often.

I LOVE IT! It's absolutely phenomenal. That Aga! Wow...just beautiful. You must be so happy. Enjoy it!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 7:21AM
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Seriously? I just did an internet search looking for "Farmgirlinky Gardenweb" and read the whole thing (came out right before I started GW) only to see it was brought back and commented on as recently as TWO DAYS AGO? Oy.

But oh my, what a lovely, classy, peaceful space. Bravo, Farmgirlinky!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 4:47AM
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Very unique wow factor pretty kitchen. I love your Soapstone! What is the upkeep on the Soapstone? Do you have to seal it frequently? I love your farmhouse sink and your beveled glass cabinets. Your cork floor is very nice and goes so well with your kitchen. So much light that it sure looks like a kitchen that is enjoyable to cook in as well as relax in!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 6:41PM
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This is one of a couple of kitchens I have to look at every time it pops up.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:59PM
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Yeah I remember this one when it went up and all I could say was WOW WOW WOW!!! Love it. Just supremely beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:09PM
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Wonderful kitchen! How has the cork floor held up? Is it hard to care for?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:09AM
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This is the kitchen that has been in my brain for at least 10 years, and here you have gone and done it perfectly!!! I'm going to Pinterest the bejebbers out of it as inspiration photos for the coming renovations (as soon as I finish all these pesty bathrooms!).

Seriously, I have wanted a 4 oven Aga plus a module for ages. I already have the full 601 fridge & freezer (so a little bigger than your Subzero.) And I plan to put a big barrel hood over it all. And you have a big island with not huge aisles! And you have soapstone! I really think we're channeling the same frequencies.

I'm totally in love with your butler's pantry! We didn't inherit one, but I may use the cabinet sliding door idea for the walk-thru pantry I'm planning. It solves my problem of a tight space and not really wanting all open shelves!

Ok, I'm off to study this kitchen more deeply! Truly, I know this reveal is several years past now, but wow just the same! Great job!

Always ;-)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:19PM
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Stumbled across these questions recently: Lynn2006, we never seal our soapstone, just wipe it down with some mineral oil occasionally when we want to restore the matte dark grey look. In between there are occasional scratches and dings, which don't bother me: they disappear with oiling, and after the accumulation of years we can always have the counters rehoned in an afternoon (not too fine a grit for that velvety soapstone look/feel!).

Sonnie the cork floors are holding up just fine -- this in spite of the fact that our kitchen aisles are relatively narrow and so the same path is travelled again and again.

Hunzi thank you for those kind words! Gardenweb members have made the whole project that much more fun.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 12:46PM
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farmgirlinky, thank you for letting me know how easy the soapstone counter is to keep clean! Your kitchen is beautiful!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 1:42PM
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