YOU GUYS: A STOVE!!!! WE HAVE A STOVE!!!!
And other things! Like cabinets! And counters!
Phew. Let me back up a second…
(A shot of Steve last week installing our crown moulding.)
When last I left you, we were gearing up to finish our lovely white box. This meant adding crown through the entire space (kitchen and breakfast area) and new base boards in the kitchen.
(A shot of me priming the corner blocks we got for the crown.)
Steve asked if Manny and I were interested in using corner blocks for the crown to make installation easier. I had seen them before online and liked the look a lot, so we jumped at the opportunity. It’s so crazy to me that they simplify crown installation (because you don’t have to miter the corner edges) since they look so absolutely cute.
See what I mean? Adorable moulding. Btw, that’s the area above the washer/dryer — a space which, incidentally, until recently looked like this:
Yeah. Our old kitchen wasn’t great.
Moving on… Our Ikea Sektion cabinets and counters arrived a few weeks back in, um, 53 separate boxes / pieces. We went with the GRIMSLOV doors in off-white. The nearest Ikea is 3 hours away from Savannah — so while I’d seen them in the store last fall when Manny and I made a pilgrimage to get a few essentials after moving into our house, we hadn’t remotely assumed at the time that we’d be ordering them and completing the entire kitchen remodel ourselves (indeed — those were the heady, naive days when we assumed we’d hire and pay a professional contractor to do it all for us). I’m glad to say that we love them! No buyer’s remorse here.
Manny is *ridiculously* good at putting Ikea furniture together. Like, RIDICULOUS. It must be due, in part, to his Swedish blood. Last weekend, he put everything together so we were ready to go when install-time rolled around.
Since a bajillion people have written extensively on the Sektion wall-rail installation system, we had plenty of internet back-up whenever we got stuck or confused.
My overall verdict is that Sektion is a great, fairly simple system. Still, I suffered at least two mild emotional and psychological breakdowns during the process of hanging the cabinets on the rails. Not too bad — but definitely not *this easy* :
I mean really… I can’t help but comment on these two obnoxiously perfect DIYers from the Ikea installation instructions. They’re having a coffee break! That guy is wearing a collared shirt! And telling a joke! Damn you, cartoons!
Thankfully my husband is very calm and collected and doesn’t get stressed about stuff like this.
Boom. Kitchen. (Sort of…)
Let me jump ahead now and mention that having a stove again is divine. We cooked the very first night after setting it up — just a simple pasta, but *hallelujah* was it great to boil water again. All of our new appliances are wonderful, in fact — we went with a suite by Whirlpool. (We ordered them all on Black Friday, actually, so they’d been sitting in our dining room since December.)
The stove is a gas slide-in model with convection oven — not the vintage Wedgewood I was dying for, but as far as modern conveniences go, pretty stellar. Funny story: We turned on the oven after installing it Saturday and immediately noticed a foul-smelling smoke pouring forth. We were ready to call the fire department — and Manny got out the fire extinguisher. But according to the interwebs this is fairly common with new ovens. Huh. Who knew? Anyway, we persevered through the grip of our sheer terror and soon enough it stopped misbehaving and smelling and became a normal oven.
Also, Tilly was kind enough to accompany us to Home Depot yet again on one of our 15k trips there this past weekend (only a mild exaggeration — I went yesterday alone three times before lunch). During this particular trip we procured a hose to connect the water-line for the ice-maker on our lovely new Whirlpool bottom-freezer fridge. So now we have ice! #wefancy
Then it was time for countertops. Steve to the rescue again! This is a shot of him cutting a notch into a small section that will sit on one side of our sink, beneath the pass-through. We went with the Ikea single-bowl DOMSJO model and it requires some mild configuration. Anyway, I wanted to take lots of pictures during counter cutting (Steve, btw, used a circular saw to make the major cuts), but it was just the two of us as Manny was at work and I needed my hands to help. Womp womp.
(A first look at the kitchen with counters! We haven’t yet finished installing the cabinet doors, the hardware, the backsplash, or the floating shelves… but it’s a good idea of how things are shaping up.)
Seeing the wood counters installed is so great. In part, this is because the counters are the single concession we made to our grand “dream-kitchen” plan from way back when. We had originally planned to go with a quartz counter, similar to one we installed in our master bath right after we bought the house. But quartz is, um, super pricey and it was not in the budget this time around.
We also grew concerned that a white counter, pretty as it would be, could overwhelm the space with, you know, white. Of course, there are many who would say you can never have too much white in a kitchen (Swedish people mostly, though I don’t knock the Swedes when it comes to kitchen design) — still, we were worried it wouldn’t look right in our house.
Wood is not only a super affordable option (a 98″ KARLBY beech countertop from Ikea, like ours, is $139) — it’s period appropriate to a 1920s house. And Manny and I love the look.
Wood probably would have been at the top of our list to start but that we were worried about maintenance. The quartz counter in our bathroom seems practically indestructible. It’s been doubling as our coffee bar since we started the kitchen reno a few months ago and you’d never know. Stains? What stains?!
Wood is a different beast, of course. But after reading up, I’m starting our maintenance-regimen with Howard Butcher Block Conditioner. People rave about this stuff, and while time shall tell, I’m pleased by the appearance after the first two coats.
Now for the conundrum portion of the post, folks. For as much as I have obsessed and planned (and obsessed and planned some more) when it comes to this little kitchen, I have not yet been able to decide on a backsplash over the stove. You can see that wall from the front door via the pass-through, so it’s a PBD (i.e., pretty big deal). Manny is also at a loss at the mo.
We started out rather convinced we’d go with small, square white subway tiles; however, I saw the above online via Home Depot and ordered some, knowing I can return them. The color is a nice, subdued green — even if here it looks gray. Also, they’re handmade in Spain, and the quality is really nice. My mom votes we go with the green, but I’m still not convinced… thoughts?
And I will add that the sink, garbage disposal, and dishwasher are not yet installed. In fact, the dishwasher is another conundrum — this one purely practical — as Ikea doesn’t make it easy to place a dishwasher at the end of a row of cabinets. We purchased end panels from Ikea so we can place one on the outside of the dishwasher to finish the space, but it will need to be placed above the floor in line with the cabinet sides that are suspended on the legs that the Sektion system uses. Hmm. Updates on that to come — for now, we are dreaming of the days (hopefully soon) when we won’t have to wash dishes in the guest bathtub anymore…