We renovated our kitchen over the summer, going for a contemporary Moroccan-style vibe. It meant completely gutting the previous kitchen down to the studs to start again. There were 7 layers of flooring below the lovely linoleum flooring that was there when we moved in nearly 5 years ago. Being an older house everything had to be leveled off and straightened so the contractors would have a nice even box to start with. Looking back on the ‘before’ pictures, I can’t even believe how ugly it was! Yuck! Pea green chipping cupboards, pointless ‘breakfast table’ and magnet for random clutter that cut into the walkway, no back splash, cheap counter tops, oven with a broken door and a broken missing cupboard door (this was the snack cupboard that the boys tried to get into too many times). Functionally it was frustrating as all the cupboards were just a little too small to fit in bigger pots and pans and small appliances. so everything was crammed in and hard to get out. With the counter tops being black and the lower cupboards dark grey it was also quite dark and for a small room we wanted to brighten it up. Here are the ‘Before Pictures’…
DESIGN PROCESS & SOURCES
I’ve been using Pinterest to pin inspiration to a Kitchen board for the last couple of years. If you scroll down through my board you can really see how the final look came together. There were are so many beautiful inspirational kitchen out there, so it was really about narrowing down what we liked the most and seeing how we could make it work with the existing style of our home. I picked out most of the design elements which my husband Darin had input in too as well as working out most of the practical concerns as he took on the role of general contractor. We tweaked our choices to have them all work together. We also had to consider was how the patterns and colors would sit next to the dining area in the open plan dining/living room, and then through to my studio on the other side. The color grey is modern and neutral so as we already had shades of grey in the dining/living room we decided to use grey throughout both spaces as a unifying element. We used Fernando Aleman and his contractor’s for the building work, and have used Fernando for our home and rental property projects for the last 7 years including our Vintage Modern Bathroom. He’s the nicest guy and his team always do an amazing job.
I always loved Moroccan tile so knew I wanted to feature some into the design. I thought we needed light colored cabinets as the tiles I was looking at were so colorful and because the space is small. My husband Darin really wanted grey quartz concrete-look Caesarstone counter tops, so when picking the tiles we went for ones with a little grey and white as well as blue. I found the cement tiles on Overstock.com, but they originate from the Moroccan Mosaic and Tile House brand. We ordered the back splash tiles early and then took a few with us to look at the cabinets, counter tops and flooring. We had considered using the Moroccan tile on the floor instead of the back splash, but this would have been too much pattern next to the grey and white patterned peacock wallpaper behind the dining table.
We used Builder’s Cabinet Supply in Chicago for the simple, modern Shaker-style cabinets in an off-white color that matched the creamy white of the tile. They provide drawings so we planned all the cabinets and drawers with them, and we now have much more streamlined and useful storage, including a Lazy Susan, large sliding drawers and built-in dividers in the cutlery drawers. They helped us come up with a better layout, flipping the sink to the opposite side so you face out the window when washing up and moving the oven to where the sink used to be. We had to change the size of the doorways on either side to accommodate these changes but the flow is much nicer now and I am particularly happy to get rid of the obstructive breakfast table.
The flooring needed to be pretty low-key because of the busy back splash. I also wanted to ground the white of the cabinets and light grey counter tops so I picked dark grey Kripton tiles from Imola Ceramica, purchased from Century Tile. My husband picked the Stainless Steel Viking appliances including a new hood and maybe my favorite new feature, the griddle in the center of the oven which make perfect pancakes due to the even heating throughout. Our boys are very happy as I’m making a lot more pancakes now! The ceiling light and clock are both from Rejuvenation Hardware and the Stainless Steel drawer pulls are from Probrico and bought in bulk from Amazon. We pickled a Vapsint Undermount Stainless Steel sink to keep with the sleek and streamlined feel. Darin picked the Mirabelle faucet which I was unsure about at first as it is huge but once I saw it with everything put together I like it and now after a few months of using it I love it. We also added an Apec Water Reverse Osmosis System to the plumbing so now we have a tiny tap on the sink just for purified drinking water. We have used the Windy City Router Plumbers for our last few house projects and they have been excellent.
The final touch was adding LED strip lighting underneath the cabinets. The lighting can be dimmed and is controlled with a remote. Our friend Jason Whitworth did all the electrical work for us, including adding all the electrical outlets. The LED lights are so nice for doing cooking prep and also fabulous for creating a subdued mood at night time, when you want some light but not the main bright light on. The LED lighting is from Armacost Lighting.
All in all the work took about 5 weeks. We left for our family vacation for the messiest and most disruptive stage at the beginning and then went out to eat way too much. Always factor eating out and take out into your kitchen renovation budget! Now that it’s all complete and we have been using it for the past few months we eat out much less as it’s so enjoyable to cook in an efficient attractive kitchen. I hope you like it as much as we do! Please contact me with any questions.