Small 1928 Kitchen Reveal - Before/After Photos and ALL the Details

5 years ago
last modified: 5 years ago

I spent 12 years,
literally, dreaming about updating the 10x10 kitchen in our 1928 bungalow. I
went through various phases of talking to contractors, picking things out and
planning to pull the trigger…only for something to happen in life that put it
on the back burner again and again. But finally it has happened - almost 12
years to the day that we closed on the house, we finished remodeling our
kitchen. I am a bit ashamed of how many hours I've spent on Gardenweb and now
Houzz pouring over everyone else's questions, pictures and advice so I wanted
to contribute to future small kitchen remodelers out there. Thank you to
everyone that has been so helpful whether you realize it or not! So here's my
old kitchen made new again and all the details it took to get there:

The "Before" Space - Last updated in
the mid-80s! A 10x10 room with 3 doors - one to the hallway, one to the dining
room and one to a small 5x6 "mudroom" that leads outside. The mudroom
was an old porch that a previous owner had closed in (badly). It had a 2nd sink
that made no sense, a badly sloping floor and an exterior door so warped that
it barely closed. We wanted to tear it off and start over but the budget didn't
allow so we took out the sink, leveled it, put in new sheetrock, a new door and made it
very useful space with new cabinetry.

The view from the dining room, looking towards the kitchen:

I had already started testing new cabinet colors at this point. Mudroom in the background.

The "After" Space - We drew up many plans that included expanding
the space but we couldn't justify the expense involved in moving an exterior
wall based on the size of our house (1450 sq ft). So we settled on leaving the
footprint as is and focusing on opening it up and optimizing the space as much
as possible. We took down the wall between the kitchen and dining room to
increase natural light, create a feeling of spaciousness in a small space and
entertain more easily. Layout-wise, we moved pretty much everything since the
refrigerator felt like it was in the middle of the floor and the
dishwasher/sink/stove crowded each other and prevented simultaneous cooking and
cleanup by 2 people. We also exposed an old brick chimney flue to add a bit of
character. That was a big tradeoff as it meant sacrificing much needed pantry
space but we are so glad we did it - the brick keeps the new space connected to
the home's 80+ year old roots and is the first thing everyone comments on. The
size of the pantry has been fine.

Cabinets - Custom
shaker cabinets by the very talented Jeff Witherspoon and team at Witherspoon
Woodworks. I highly recommend them if you are in the Raleigh, NC area. The
cabinets are lacquered. Uppers are color matched to Benjamin Moore Super White.
The lowers are color matched to Sherwin Williams Cyberspace, which is a dark
gray with blue undertones. My dh doesn't
see the blue undertone in it (which is good because he would have vetoed
anything blue) but I do and I love it.

Countertops - Honed
carrera marble. I have always loved the look of marble but didn't think we were
the right kind of people to put it in our kitchen. I'm a bit Type A and my
husband is the messiest man alive. So I went in search of options. I probably went
to every sizeable stone yard or quartz dealer in a 30 mile radius. I tried
really hard to fall in love with something else. But the quartz quotes were
insanely expensive and I never found one (despite all the great posts on this
forum) that was what I wanted. Then one day I walked into a stone yard and they
had just finished unloading a new shipment of honed carrera. Embarrassingly, my
heart literally skipped a beat. It was stunning. I wanted to hug it. I agonized
over how I would handle it when, inevitably, dh would leave salsa or lemon or
who-knows-what on it over night. I tried to talk myself out of it but in the
end, it was the least expensive material I looked at AND it was gorgeous. So we
did it. It has been in for about 2 months. It is already stained and etched a
bit here and there but you know what? I do not care. You have to be staring at
just the right place, in just the right light to see the flaws. And it makes me
very very happy every time I see it. Completely worth it.

Tile - I have a
thing about how white subway tile and the white cabinet color in white kitchens
go together. I know many people recommend not matching them because it gives
the room depth to have different whites, etc. but that drives me crazy. It
seems like so often either the tile or the cabinets look "off" (to my
eyes) in those scenarios. So I tried really hard to match them the best I
could. Of course they don't really "match" per se, because one is
painted wood and one is tile, but they are darn close and I love how they go
together. The tile is the "Vintage Studio" line from Best Tile. It is
not their cheapest white subway but it was worth it since we had such a small
area to tile. The grout is Mapei Frost. I wanted a very light gray that just
barely outlined the tile without being too dark. I've used Mapei Warm Gray and
Mapei Silver before and they were darker than I wanted for the kitchen. I tried
Laticrete Silver Shadow but it read too blue. My tile installer strongly
suggested I go with something from TEC and I tried…really, I did…but all the
TEC colors looked too warm for my taste. So Mapei Frost it was and I really
like it - it was exactly what I was going for. The tiles did not have built in
spacers so they were butted against each other for the thinnest grout lines

Hardware - Colonial
Bronze style 663 in satin brass
. Ordered through Homeclick with a coupon.
Still expensive, but worth it. The brass adds a hint of warmth that nicely
balances out the otherwise cool colors and materials in the space. And I love
the simplicity of them.

Paint - There isn't
a ton of painted wall in the kitchen but the small amount there is is painted
Benjamin Moore White Dove. The dining room and den had been painted white dove
within the past year and I didn't want to repaint those areas. So it was an act
of laziness and trying to save some $$ in some regards but turned out nicely.
All the trim is Benjamin Moore Super White. For the record, I'm a huge Super
White fan - it reads so clean and pure in my house. No gray, no yellow, just
clean, crisp white.


Refrigerator -
JennAir JFC2290REM00. Love the internal water dispenser and layout! Also, this
is one of the few french door refrigerators that can open to 90 degrees without
needing additional room for the hinges. This is important for anyone that is
installing near a wall like we were and needed every inch they could get.

Range - Bertazzoni
. We've been very happy with it so far. It doesn't have bells
and whistles but it is a solid gas range that we enjoy cooking on.

Hood - Bertazzoni
. It is only 400CFM because we didn't want to deal with the
additional cost and requirements of make-up air. We cook, but nothing crazy, so
it should be fine. And best of all, the hood came free with the range thanks to
a deal from Bertazzoni that is running again in 2016. We mounted it at 30"
from the top of the grates (the highest recommendation for this hood) to
accommodate my 6'4" DH.

Dishwasher - Bosch
. We have a small kitchen and going with the recessed cup handle
helped streamline that row of cabinets visually. It cleans great so far and I
love the 3rd rack for silverware.

Sink - Kraus KHU10123.
We only had room for a 24" sink cabinet so I worried that the sink would
feel too small but it turned out great. The depth and the straight lines (as
opposed to sloped corners) makes it feel much larger than it is. It feels very
high quality - even the GC and countertop installers commented on it. The only
thing is that I sometimes feel like I'm "chasing" every last crumb to
get it down the disposal with the sprayer. I don't remember doing that with
other sinks so not sure why that is.

Faucet - Delta
in chrome. The gold/champagne faucets out there are beautiful and I
considered going in that direction to match the satin brass door hardware. But
it felt like too much and I'm really happy with the more eclectic feeling from
the mixed finishes. I also really wanted
a faucet that had a pull down sprayer that would stay docked and the strong
magnet in this Delta does the trick. Plus, you can change it between spray and
stream with a click of the button and it stays that way without having to hold
it. Very nice when you need to quick thaw shrimp or something under a constant
spray for a few minutes.

Soap Dispenser -
Kraus. I read a good bit on this forum about the pros/cons of having a soap
dispenser. My GC tried to talk me out of it, saying that he believes in
minimizing the number of holes cut in the stone. But I went with it anyway for
2 reasons - 1) the sink is in the peninsula and very visible from the front
door and dining room. I wanted to reduce the visual clutter of the area and I
think the eye disregards permanent fixtures like this dispenser much more so
than a soap bottle, no matter how pretty the soap bottle is. 2) I've never had
a soap bottle by the sink that didn't result in a little ring of soap
underneath it that had to be cleaned periodically. I pictured that little ring
of soap on my nice honed marble and knew the dispenser was right for me. I did
make sure that the dispensing end was positioned well over the sink in case of
drips. I've loved it so far and will never go back to the bottle.


Can Lighting - OMG,
I obsessed over the lighting. I know WAY too much about lighting at this point.
Thanks largely to this forum, I ended up with four Cree 4" cans with 3000k
bulbs. We love them! The light is warm, but clean and bright - exactly what I
was going for. The CRI of 90 really makes a difference in that regard. Note
that having a dimmer on these lights is absolutely imperative - we only use
them full strength when I'm cleaning at night. It is nice to have the option to
go full bright for certain tasks and dimmed for a little ambience.

- Again, I obsessed. And in the end, I spent way more than I wanted to
spend on the UCL but I'm glad we did. I needed something with a very low
profile, 3000k and a high CRI. We ended up with Tech
Lighting Unilume LED Slimline
. I love them. Local plug - if you are in the
Raleigh area, please consider working with Griffin at Accipter in Cameron
Village on lighting. He was fabulous!

Pendants - After
searching high and low for something unique yet affordable, with a touch of
brass but not too much, I ended up with just Crate and Barrel's Landerpendants. I like them much more than I thought I was going to. They do the job
without drawing too much attention. I have PAR16 bulbs in them which I don't
love the look of when they are off but love the light they put out when they
are on. We tried several other options, including a myriad of edison style
bulbs but the light they gave off just didn't work. They were way too warm for
my taste (I wanted them to be close to
the 3000k in the ucl and can lights) and were not practical in this particular
application (over a sink).

From the dining room, same view as second "before" picture above:

The new and improved "mudroom" in the background:

Same view as the "before" refrigerator picture above.

Still looking for a new dining room light if anyone has suggestions...

I think that is
everything! If I missed something that would be helpful to you, let me know
because I certainly want to pay all the great advice I got forward. Thanks


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