Dexter Kitchen Renovation Part 2: the Reveal

THE DEXTER HOUSE

This is part 2 of a series on the Dexter House kitchen renovation.  Part 1 (the Renovation Process) can be found here.

After months of hard work, it’s finally time to share the renovated Dexter House kitchen with you.  And let me just say that no one is more excited about the finished space than me!  I love this kitchen – it is simple, elegant, efficient, and totally approachable.  And best of all, it’s 100% done!  Well 95%, but who’s counting…

I already told you guys about the renovation process in part 1, so lets get down to the main attraction.  The ‘after’ photos of the Dexter kitchen…

The Grit and Polish - Dexter KitchenThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel northThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel south

Early in the design process, I decided to go with a ‘decidedly-not-white’ approach for this space, opting instead for a tuxedo plan that called for black lower cabinets.  The look is quite a bit different then our previous all-white kitchens (like the kitchens at the Ravenna and Bryant houses), but one that we really like.  In fact, this is both Garrett and my favorite kitchen renovation to date.

It took us a good 5 months to complete this room in tandem with the rest of the Dexter House renovation.  We did all of the work ourselves with some help from family and friends.  And by ‘family’ I mean mostly Papa, my father-in-law, and by ‘some’ I mean all of his nights and all of his weekends for the better part of half a year.  I know, you’re wondering where to get yourself a Papa right about now…what can I say, you’ve got to marry in 😉

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel open shelvesThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen AfterThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen After Sink BigThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Renovation Details Collage 2

There’s a lot that I love about this kitchen.  I love the warmth of the wood, the sleekness of the stove, and vintage-feel of the sink.  I love that we can fit two adults plus a sweet baby and a toddler nicknamed “the tornado” in here and still manage to cook dinner.  I love that the kitchen is open enough to the dining room that you can sit and have a conversation with the chef (aka Garrett) but it’s not open so much that it feels like your whole house is a mess if there’s a bowl left out on the counter.  There’s also something not too precious about this space (as opposed to the Ravenna kitchen, which always felt a bit on the precious side), like you could render a duck in here and that’d be cool.  But what I love the most is that the kitchen feels cohesive with the rest of our 1905 Spanish-style house, which was my number one goal.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel AllThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Renovation Shelf Details CollageThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel mudroom

At the end of every renovation, I like to take a look at the before and afters.  It really puts into perspective just how much work we’ve done.  So without further ado, here’s a look back to the Dexter House in May 2015 compared with how it looks today.

The Grit and Polish - Before and After Collage EastThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After South The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After North Wall

Back in June, I wrote this description of what I wanted this kitchen renovation to turn out like:

“…I’m going for something a bit more cozy and rustic and old world.  A space that may look a bit more chaotic, but always feels like the heart of our family.  Basically I want the Dexter kitchen to feel like the kitchen of a 50-year-old Italian/Spanish/French mother of six, where you roll out biscuits right on the countertop, stir boiling pots of homemade marinara with your kids (your great grandmother’s recipe, obviously), and wear a cotton apron all day long.  Or perhaps an efficient, newer version of that.  Do you feel me?”

I summed it up as a “warm European feel” in August.  And while I think we achieved that generally, along the way, we also drifted off the mark a bit (like painting the lowers in high-gloss and installing an pro-style range).  But ultimately, we ended up with what we wanted.  Something efficient, welcoming, and ‘decidedly not-white’.  And most importantly, we ended up with a kitchen that we love!

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel W and Mama

And in case you’re wondering why I said we’re only 95% done, well there’s still some paint touchup and caulking left to do.  But if you didn’t notice, I’m not going to point it out! 😉

Here’s a recap of all the Dexter kitchen posts… Campaign hardware | Butcher Block Countertops | Tuxedo Kitchen Progress | Cement Tile Backsplash | Tuxedo kitchen plan | Drywall and Cabinets | Rough In | Dexter Kitchen Plan | Framing and Final Demo | and all about the Mudroom

Next up is the budget and resources for this renovation.  But in the meantime, lay it on me.  What do you guys think about our tuxedo kitchen renovation?  I’d love to hear it…the good, the bad, and the I-would-never-ever-EVER-do-that!

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. I’ve been pretty obsessed with “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” lately.  Not that obsession is a bad thing.  Have you seen it?  In another life, I think I might have married Phil and weighed 300 pounds and laughed so hard every day that I had a wrinkly face and killer abs.  ps It’s on Netflix!

p.p.s. Need a home tour fix?  Here’s another great Amber Interiors project, and check out how these newlyweds redid Grandpa’s Hollywood home.  And for something a little more sophisticated, check out this Brooklyn townhouse!

p.p.p.s. Planet 9.  The never seen, newly discovered planet in our solar system.  And shucks, they want to name it after one of my favorite nephews! 😉

p.p.p.p.s. I’m going on 30 days of clean eating and I’m loving it!  Actually the whole family has been loving it…our 2-year-old included!  Have any meal suggestions or tips for sticking with it?  I’ve got a small collection on Pinterest but would love more recipies!

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Dexter Kitchen Renovation Part 1: the Renovation Process

THE DEXTER HOUSE

This is part 1 of a series on the Dexter House kitchen renovation.  Part 2 (the Reveal) can be found here.

When we first toured the Dexter House in October of 2014, one of the things that stood out to me the most was the kitchen.  It had to go.  Complete with black mold and a horrendous layout, the kitchen was going to be a gut job. And that was exciting for this renovation-loving gal.  Kitchens are my favorite!

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel - Before

We got the keys to the Dexter House on a Friday and Garrett and I spent our first evening at the house demoing the kitchen.  This happened to coincide with filming our mini-TV pilot, so producers caught all the action on film, adding a bit of extra excitement to the event.  With or without the cameras there, it was a pretty awesome night.  I love those first few moments in a house, when all that potential is there staring you in the face before demo starts and turns everything dusty and messy and looking like a ton of work.  So spending the first moments at the Dexter House with Garrett (and Brooks in my belly) was perfect.  Here’s an iPhone picture that the producers took of us on that first evening.

The Grit and Polish - Demo night 1

Once demo was complete and the camera crew went home, I spent some time coming up with a layout for the kitchen.  This remodel is unique because in the end, we decided to remove square footage from the kitchen.  I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but hear me out.  As I mentioned, the layout was horrendous.  The kitchen had four doorways and very awkward geometry, and there just wasn’t any room for cabinets or prep space or even a dishwasher.  So, we made the kitchen smaller, enabling us to recapture wall space.  We closed off the attached eating nook (and converted it to a master bathroom…!), framed in the doorway to the hallway, and demoed a small closet that encroached into the kitchen.  This got us the wall space we needed to bring in more cabinets and create a nice workflow.  The kitchen is now an efficient 10’x11′ square, with only two doorways.  You can see the general floor plan here.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel - Progress 3

It seems like I try to save original cabinets in every kitchen remodel we take on.  And by ‘seems’ I mean ‘do’ – like at the Bryant house and the Ravenna house and now, naturally, at the Dexter House.  Right from the get go, we discussed saving the bank of original cabinets on the south side of the kitchen, but as time and planning went on, this was widdled down to saving just the floor-to-ceiling pie safe and the upper cabinet next to it (seen in the photo above).  Sure it would have been faster and easier to just demo everything, but what’s the fun it that?

The Grit and Polish - kitchen demo completeThe Grit and Polish - Kitchen DemoThe Grit and Polish - Kitchen Cabinet demo 2

With demo complete, a layout established, and a tuxedo design plan in the works, it was time to start building the kitchen back.  We began by framing in the old entrances to the hallway and dining nook and then enlarged the opening to the dining room, exposed the brick chimney, laid a new hardwood floor, roughed in electrical and plumbing, cut in skylights, drywalled and installed cabinets, vented the hood, tiled the backsplash, added butcher block countertops, installed the sink and faucets, painted everything, removed the door to the mudroom, added lights, brought the appliances in, built a dishwasher panel, hung the open shelves, and installed the cabinet hardware.

The Grit and Polish - Progress Collage

Phew!  That was a lot of work.  We spent the better part of the summer renovating this room (along with the rest of the house) and finished the project just after moving into the house at the end of September, which happened to be about a week before baby Brooks was due.

I’ll show you the entire finished kitchen on Thursday.  But for today, here’s a peak at the kitchen and the family that built it.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Family 2

I’ll tell you what, renovating old houses is a dusty job, but I’m really glad we get to do it!

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. I gathered a lot of inspiration for this tuxedo kitchen remodel on Pinterest.  Here are all of my favorite kitchens!

p.p.s. Did you catch my DIY on coco+kelley yesterday?! We photographed this project right here at the Dexter House and it was a blast!

p.p.p.s. So much truth about renovating and collecting and marriage is wrapped up in Victoria’s post.  Seriously though, read this!  She will have you laughing out loud.

p.p.p.p.s. And one more because this is pretty dang awesome…an extinct species is found again!

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Our Tuxedo Kitchen Progress

THE DEXTER HOUSE

It’s funny how completely my focus has shifted from the Dexter House renovation to the baby.  He’s now 8 days overdue and needs to come immediately, or I will go insane.  I’m all about walks, squats, acupuncture, and anything else I can do or eat to get this kiddo moving.  Wish me luck!!!

So the kitchen.  You might remember that I went in a decidedly-not-white direction for this kitchen, as opposed to the Ravenna and Bryant remodels (you can read about those here and here).  After hours of Pinterest “research” and daydreaming, I came up with a tuxedo kitchen plan that is primarily black and white with some natural wood elements thrown in to soften the overall results.  The kitchen has white upper and black lower cabinets, butcher block countertops, and a cement tile backsplash, ala this:

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Progress 6

But let’s rewind a bit and look at the work that got us here.  We bought inexpensive stock cabinets from a place in south Seattle and painted them.  Painting cabinets is nothing new for us, but it’s always a bit of a process.  First we gave all of the cabinets a good sanding with 150 grit sandpaper and a palm sander.  Then we removed all the doors and drawers and lined them up in the basement.  I made sure to label all the hinges I pulled off so we could rehang them in the right place when the paint dried.

The Grit and Polish - Kitchen Sanding CabinetsThe Grit and Polish - Kitchen Paint Prep Cleaning

After a good cleaning, we masked off the countertops (I know, I know…I haven’t even shown you those yet, but they deserve a post of their own!) and the backsplash and primed everything.

The Grit and Polish - Kitchen PaintThe Grit and Polish - Primed Cabinets

Looking good right?! Yeah, not so much.

Next came the paint.  We started with the uppers since those cabinets are the same color as the trim (Benjamin Moore’s Simply White).  We didn’t worry about masking the lower cabinets and walls since those would be painted later.  After the uppers dried we masked them off and painted the rest of the kitchen, notably the lowers in Benjamin Moore’s Onyx, high gloss.

The Grit and Polish - Cabinet Masking The Grit and Polish - Wall Paint Kitchen Paint

When we pulled up all that floor masking there were a few spots where paint had soaked through onto my newly-refinished hardwood floors.  After trying a number of products and putting in a ton of elbow grease, we finally tried Goof Off, which worked like a charm.

After another good cleaning, we put the cabinet doors and drawers back in place, and Papa hardwired my swing arm lights.  Gorgeous, right?!  I bet you already figured this out, but a couple of open shelves will hang under those lights.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Progress 7The Grit and Polish - Dexter Progress 10The Grit and Polish - Dexter Progress 9

I’ll tell you what, we have the worst luck with appliances (I wrote a whole post about it at the Ravenna House here)!  When we finally installed the dishwasher that we had bought at a warehouse sale last March, it had a hole in the main compartment and leaked all the way through the floor to the basement.  I got on the phone with customer service, and they got us a replacement dishwasher in a couple of days (happily a dishwasher with a custom/panel front!) but it showed up with a dented door.  We were able to make it work, but still frustrating.

For all our appliance woes, I’ll tell you that Blue Star range and Bertazzoni hood vent (both bought for a steal at the warehouse sale) make up for it.  They are AMAZING!  Garrett and I have been fighting over who gets to put the oatmeal on every morning.   It is just that much of a pleasure to cook on these appliances!

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Progress stove and potfiller

Next up for the kitchen: finishing the countertops, installing hardware, and hanging those open shelves.

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Have any good suggestions on how to get a baby moving? Send them my way and I will be eternally grateful!!!!

p.p.s. These guys are downright awesome!  I love the idea of building a little house on a trailer and adventuring full time!

p.p.p.s. Want some eye candy??!  Check out the Cooper Lounge in Denver!  Seriously unbelievable!

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