This Old Kitchen

While owning an old house and restoring it is a rewarding undertaking, let’s just say it is easy to get into a rut and to grow so accustomed to what you see everyday that it doesn’t bother you anymore.  Unfortunately, everyone around you isn’t equally compromised in terms of perception.

Several years ago, a local designer was generous enough to do a free walk-through and give us advice on prioritizing the mind boggling amount of work we needed to do on the house.  He summed it all up when he unceremoniously said “NOBODY wants this kitchen!”  I couldn’t have agreed with him more.

It was official–we were roused from our state of inertia to finally come to grips that even the beautiful Pottery Barn Fishing lights we installed were not going to deceive anyone, including ourselves, about the sorry state of our kitchen.

Before: Kitchen and wall adjoining back hallway

The dishwasher is under the island next to the sink.  Pretty close quarters for the appliances and even cozier for the person navigating the space.  While we had no kitchen cabinets, we did make good use of the pantry.

Before: Kitchen with view of pantry

The popcorn ceiling was stained from our leaky roof and then patched.   I don’t even want to count the number of door openings!

Before: View of side kitchen entrance from back hallway


Finally,  after 7 years of living with the status quo—we mustered the courage to attempt a kitchen remodel.  While we had a general idea of the layout we wanted, we weren’t sure it would work with  the space we had available.  We had the original footprint of the kitchen to work with, a back hallway and a long and narrow bathroom.

First, we consulted with an Interior Designer and a Kitchen Planner to see if what we had in mind was possible–opening up the entire space to make room for a functional kitchen, eat-in banquette area, and a possible pantry/mudroom combination.  It looked liked the plan would work in the space, but it would require some good planning and the help of an architect and general contractor to make it happen.

After months of planning and the actual work itself, we were finally rewarded with the end result–a wonderful and functional kitchen that we enjoy every day.

View of kitchen, former side entrance & pantry eliminated


New double doors open view and let in light–let’s grill!
New banquette and mudroom!

A closer look

Finally found the perfect sized hutch!

Now how about that bathroom remodel?



Not This Old House

I was so excited to learn that my favorite DIY show This Old House (TOH) was coming to Rhode Island for the first time in its history! On top of it, they were seeking a project house to renovate in the Fall. Be still my heart. In our old house Kevin O’Connor, Norm Abrams, Tom Silva and company are more of a happening than Brangelina. Honestly, I can’t think of bigger fans or a house that is more chock full of unfinished projects than ours. If that is what they wanted we were in good stead. After some discussion with my husband we decided to submit an application.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time we applied to TOH. Some years earlier we applied for the This Old House Kitchen Remodel. Ultimately they selected a Chicago location and we were left to fend for ourselves. At least this time we had better odds with RI’s eligible population of just over 1 million (although a less compelling case since we bit the bullet on our kitchen remodel). The hardest part of the application was moving clutter from room to room to get respectable-but-not-embarrassing photos of our perpetual work-in-progress. Once that was done we just needed to wait…and wait…and finally we heard the news…they selected a deserving project house in…..neighboring Barrington.

The upside–we have a complete list of unfinished projects, some of the house did get cleaned up for the photo shoot, and there is still time for celebrity sightings this Fall. Stay tuned!