Thursday, November 25, 2010

Are you in the kitchen?

2008: my kitchen was remodeled. This is one of the "after" shots.
I have a feeling I know where many of you are today - in the kitchen. That's not a bad place to be on Thanksgiving Day. This year, my friend Roberta has invited me to dinner. I always love a good home-cooked meal, but won't be spending as much time in my kitchen as usual. Although I'm planning on making a big pot of stock and Ina Garten's famous French Onion Soup over the weekend, today my kitchen will get the day off. Not cooking on Thanksgiving made me realize I've become very attached to my kitchen since remodeling it two years ago.

2000: A "before" shot of the kitchen, as it looked just before I moved in.
The house was built in 1980 in the hilly northwest Cedar Mill neighborhood of Portland, and when I moved in the kitchen was workable but in need of an update. Many of the appliances, including a scuzzy Jenn-Air cooktop, were original to the house. The cabinets, floor, and countertops had been redone at some point, but it wasn't really my style. There was bad fluorescent lighting, whitewashed oak cabinets that looked pink, a white linoleum floor with little pink flowers - impossible to keep clean - and difficult-to-maintain gray tile countertops with dusty rose and teal accent tile. 

I made do for a while, and after many years of watching the Food Network and HGTV, I had some ideas about what I wanted to do. I decided to have the space remodeled in 2008, and it was a dramatic transformation. In July, the whole space was gutted to the beams. Windows were removed, the floor plan flip-flopped, new windows and doors were added, and all new appliances, cabinets, countertops and floors were installed. The whole project took about three months from demolition to move-in.

The new floors are hickory, the cabinets are maple, and the appliances are all stainless steel. The countertops are two types of granite, backsplash is slate with bronze and frosted glass accents, and the way we reconfigured the the floor plan really opened up the space. The remodel was actually more like a half-house remodel and included the dining room, front foyer, powder room, roof, a new heating and air conditioning system, and entertainment area connected to the kitchen. There is a built-in desk and bar with cabinets, a whole wall with bookshelves, gas fireplace, and plasma TV, and a large wall designated for displaying quilts.

In 2009, the remodel was showcased on HGTV's Rate My Space with Angelo Surmelis. In 2010, the house was featured as part of Portland's Tour of Remodeled Homes, and was highlighted on the local morning news in two segments of "Out and About with Drew Carney" on KGW channel 8, Portland. 

The remodel was a game changer. I can cook most anything I want, from Spanakopita to homemade thin crust pizza to braised pork shoulder roast carnitas. I've even roasted a turkey or two. It's a dream kitchen, easy to work in and easy to clean. So, while today may be a quiet day in my kitchen, it has served me well and definitely deserves a day off. Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. It's lovely. I see you are a serious coffee person! I love the stone you've used as a splash back.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. Nice remodel. I particularly like the bench top. Granite, you say. What sort? I have been looking at a variety called capolovaro - I want something that has a coffee/black accent. So easy to maintain. I feel like I've joined a home dec blog! Ha Ha. I hope you have a meaningful and pleasant Thanksgiving.

  3. Wow! Gorgeous kitchen. I particularly love the lighting. Michele

  4. Beautiful kitchen I remember watching that rate my space episode!
    LOVE your kitchen and your home. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Isn't Ina's soup just yummy! We are making a few of her dishes today.

  5. Love the backsplash!

  6. It's gorgeous Bill. It sure doesn't look outdated any longer!! I'd have a blast cooking in your kitchen!!

  7. Great job!! Nice to work in nice spaces.

  8. Glad you all enjoyed the blog. One of the things I wanted to achieve was the feeling of being in the Pacific Northwest. I'd seen many remodels that went other places (Tuscany, etc.), but I love where I live and wanted the space to feel like that. No need for escape.

    Yes, I am a coffee person. It's Portland, Oregon after all. Portland is a wonderful place for "foodies" because of our proximity to so many of the world's great fresh food sources. We have amazing restaurants here, but since this remodel, I haven't gone out to eat as much as I once did. :)

    The golden colored granite on the island is from Brazil, but that's all I know about it. The black granite is called Mesabi, and I got a "honed" finish with less shine - it's so wonderful! The honed finish turned out to be a great choice for the perimeter countertops. It is not as reflective, and doesn't have glare from the under-cabinet lighting.

    Forgot to mention lighting - it's everywhere - under the cabinets, etc. There are no plugs or switches on the backsplash. All the plugs - 14 of them!! - are hidden under the base of the upper cabinets. There are waterproof, stainless steel "air switch" buttons for the ISE disposals and main sink light mounted right into the countertops. It's one of those finer details that people don't necessarily notice, but gives a clean look to the backsplash. If you think about it, who would want a switch cover or plug cover invading that beautiful slate? Not this guy!

    Very cool that someone saw the episode of Rate My Space. I didn't get to meet Angelo, but it was a fun experience. It's definitely a trip to see your house on TV. :)

    Hey Lori - next time you're planning to visit Portland, c'mon over for dinner. We'll cook. Friends welcome, too!

  9. Fabulous space!

    Have you seen the "Give Thanks" contest running over at The prize is a gift bag overflowing with sewing goodies - and you have until Sunday to enter!

  10. Thank you, Miss Sews-it-all. I'll have to learn how to sew! :)

  11. Spanakopita is one of my all time favorite things to make! Isn't living in a foodie town wonderful...can't say I do now which means lots of time in the kitchen for me! We are about to undertake a kitchen redo...thanks for some inspiration! (And hope you had a great Thanksgiving!)