[the finished kitchen; photo by Kim]
Last week, in our post on Greentea Design, I made a quick mention of
one specific old-house kitchen remodel using their cabinets. Since
then, Mike Ramsey at Greentea was kind enough to supply me with
comprehensive background information on this particular project, and I
thought it would be of interest to all of you - not just those
considering a kitchen remodel, but anyone interested in how this
Asian-influenced cabinetry can work in a Craftsman home.
The kitchen in Kim's turn-of-the-century Ottawa bungalow was originally attractive, I'm sure, but long before she moved in there, someone with a surfeit of love for Formica ripped out the original cabinetry and, unfortunately, expressed themselves all over the room. Fast forward to the both modern and at the same time classic finished product - but don't worry, we'll spell out the whole process for you below; you can read even more about it on Kim's own blog.
Kim had already decided to remove the non-bearing wall that separated the kitchen from the living room, which made the previous owner's kitchen cramped and difficult to use. In doing the demolition, she found all sorts of interesting things - layers upon layers of wallpaper and newsprint dating back to 1903. Other demo-related discoveries included what appeared to be horse hair - possibly used for insulation in the ceiling - found when removing wood paneling to allow for can lights,
Next, Greentea interviewed Kim regarding what she wanted and what she needed from the new kitchen, and produced a rough sketch of what would be possible in the new room. Kim picked out which pieces she wanted, and Greentea rendered them in Google Sketchup for confirmation of sizing before they submitted the order to their factory. Pieces included 2 single and one double Mizuya upper cabinets, three Mizuya base cabinets – two 3 drawer versions and a smaller one with chopstick drawers in place of the third drawer – and finally a standard 4 foot Mizuya Pantry. Google Sketchup, the (free) savior to the design/build industries and with a learning curve that allows anyone to pick it up, is again called into use, this time to generate a full render of the finished kitchen.
Soon after the demolition and basic structural changes were completed, Kim received the (very well-packed) cabinetry from Greentea and began to put things into place. Appliances were brought in, base cabinets were installed, and whatever minimal modifications that were needed for plumbing were made, then sink, lighting, and countertops came next; at this point, it was really starting to look like the kitchen she'd been waiting for - certainly a feeling we've all been very happy to have as a remodel starts to actually resemble the picture we have in our heads. One neat addition at this point: Kim had a cat hole made in the hatch to her basement, which was mounted on shock absorbers to let it move up and down smoothly - a really nice feature worth emulating.
And voila: it is done! Finally, you can see how well everything fits into the new cabinetry; her four-foot Mizuya pantry is especially spacious. Kim even made a short video tour of the finished product, which really shows how well these cabinets define the tone of the room, but don't overpower the rest of the house at all.
Again, if you're at all interested in a really good deal on step tansu - my single favorite piece of cabinetry - note that Greentea is running their Step Into Summer promotion, with large discounts on all step tansu, for another two weeks (it ends on June 15!).