Friday, November 6, 2009

Finally, The Kitchen Finale

So here it is, after months of take out dinners and BBQ’ing, our kitchen was truly and finally DONE. It was time to hang up my tool belt and put on an apron, I was finally ready for my inner chef to wok out with my spatula out. OK I’m getting carried away, but the point is we’re really happy with the way it turned out and at how much more storage and counter space we now have. The appliances which started us down this path are dreamy. Going from one working electric burner to 5 gas burners is like going from steerage to First Class. And we are just scratching the surface with the features on our new wall oven. It can bake, roast, broil, convect, microwave, steam and clean itself. That’s 5 more things than our old range.

Overall, the reno process went fairly smoothly and quickly, even with us doing much of the work on evenings and weekends. More often then not the availability of tradespeople became the bottleneck. I guess with the Home Reno Tax Credit, they’ve got more jobs than they know what to do with. But we were able to find some excellent trades through Homestars. We also saved a lot of money by doing much of the work ourselves. The first quote we got was for a turn key renovation of our kitchen and basement, it ended up at $50K-60K labour only. Much more than we were prepared to pay. That made our decision to roll up our sleeves an easy one. We did the demolition, framing, insulation, plumbing, flooring, painting, and finish carpentry on our own. In total we spent about 13K on trades for items that were beyond our abilities (mason, electrician, drywallers, and HVAC) and in that 13K number were a lot of materials embedded in their quotes, like bricks, wires, electrical boxes, drywall, switches and outlets. With all the money we saved on labour, we were comfortable splurging on finishes, like the deep undermount sink, marble counters and moonstone backsplash.

OK, this pic is just before i installed the grates on the cooktop, but hopefully you get the idea:

Christopher Peacock - eat your heart out!

I know, i know, i should have taken my Crocs out of the picture, and put my Guinness pint glass in the washer:

Here's the new powder room. Note to guests: please do not confuse the little sink for a urinal:

I installed marble counters in my old house, but that was in my bachelor days when I ate out more often than not, so the counters really didn’t see much duty. Now that we’ve had a chance to really use our marble counters in this house, I wanted to share some advice and feedback to anyone who’s considering them. We sealed our counters and backsplash with a product called TileLab SurfaceGard Penetrating Sealer, and we haven’t had any problems with stains at all. I’ve discovered spilt wine, coffee and other stains that have sat on our counter so long they actually dried. These come up with just a wipe from a damp cloth. The hardest thing I’ve encountered to get off was the red chalk line that the installers used to draw measurements on the marble, but those wiped off using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. We haven’t found any signs of oil or grease that’s been left on for a while. Marble does show a small blemish if you bang it with something hard and it does scratch if you drag something heavy and rough across it. In a kitchen that gets any use, these scratches and blemishes are inevitable, so we opted for a honed finish, rather than a really glossy one, which would have highlighted these imperfections. There are professional marble restorers that can buff out imperfections. They also repair more severe damage like cracks and chips. So if we ever wanted to, down the line we could always have someone come in and freshen up our counters, but we actually like the patina that marble gets over years of use.

What we love about our new kitchen:
- So much more functional and better planned
- The appliances are great, and they were a steal.
- The counters and backsplash make us swoon.
- The heated floors feel really good
- The abundance of natural, ambient and task light really makes cooking more enjoyable
- The wine fridge was a splurge, but it gets a lot of use.

What we slightly regret:
- Wish we had enough room to include storage for coats and for a step ladder.
- We wish we had chosen a lighter flooring stain, because dust really shows on it


Maggie@Okay, now what? said...

Looks amazing! I love the white cabinets with the marble counters & backsplash. Definitely worth the effort. Enjoy!

Willow Decor said...

What a great job! It came out fabulous!! Love the counters and the tile work!!

Kathy said...

Looks absolutely beautiful. Nicely done.

Wanderluster said...

Looks great! Enjoy your new space.

mer said...

I love your fabulous floor!

Amanda said...

What an amazing kitchen! I just love your cabinets. Where did you get them?

Roncie Vic said...

I really want to thank everyone for their compliments. Very flattering, especially when many of the commenters also happen to be bloggers that i follow and admire. While i don't respond to many comments, i do love reading them all.

Amanda, our kitchen doors are sprayed ( Benjamin Moore OC64 “Pure White”) mdf, and the cabinets are constructed using 3/4 inch particle board, so quality-wise they are about on par with middle of the road IKEA. IKEA has much better hardware though. Overall cabinetry costs came in slightly higher than an IKEA kitchen, but our price included installation, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison. We had them built by a shop in Mississauga, called Value Kitchen Cabinets (Jaswinder: 905-678-2282). We are happy with the cost, look and quality of the installation, but it did require a LOT of guidance and managing on our parts, to specify and often remind them about as much detail as possible. Let’s just say they couldn’t see our vision. In the end a few decisions were made without our approval, but these were things we can live with. For example, my design had bracket feet, I actually wanted them to be at the front of the cabinet (i.e. flush with the doors), with a plain toe kick behind. Because it wasn’t obvious on my 2D drawing, they decided to just put them both in behind. Another design decision they took liberty with was the placement of our cup pulls. We would have preferred them to be slightly lower, but they went ahead and made the decision without consulting us. At the end of the day I’m not a kitchen designer, and they’re not mind-readers, but true to their name I think we did end up getting pretty good value.

maloneyleonard said...

I adore your little powder room sink! Where did you find it?

Roncie Vic said...

The little powder room sink is called the "Pure-Indulgence 400 Basin" by Twyford. It was a bit on the pricey side, at $330 plus tax. Lately, stores seem to be carrying more variations of compact wall-hung sinks and at much better price points than i paid. We bought our sink, faucet and trap assembly at Downtown Lumber (172 Ossington Ave in Toronto). The Roman Bath Center (883 Caledonia Ave, Toronto) also has a wide assortment of little wall sinks for under $200. It is important to have enough wood bracing behind the wall to support the sink. During the reno, I had opened up the wall to re-do the plumbing and i put framing in at sink height before re-drywalling.

NOTE: If you choose one of these sinks, not all faucets will work, due to the side hole and the exposed plumbing. You will likely want a faucet without a drain plunger, since this apparatus won't work with the side hole or will look hideous with the exposed plumbing. Also the sink we chose did not have an overflow, which required a special tail-piece on the drain assembly. The one that comes with most faucets will not work. Because of the exposed drains, you will want either a chromed p-trap (around $20), "cup-trap" (around $50) or a "bottle-trap" (around $60). They are an additional cost to consider. Feel free to email me if you have any questions, i'll be glad to throw in my 2 cents. Cheers & Good Luck.

glow said...

I am oooohing and aaaaahing all the way to my nearest kitchen design store. Your finished product is gorgeous, and I think you did a great job with the details --- even if you aren't a designer!

Melissa said...

Hi, just stumbled onto your blog. Amazing job on the kitchen!!! Great tips too, thanks for all the closeup shots of the plumbing :)