Presto-Chango! A New Kitchen Revealed

We moved into Maple Hoo two and a half years ago. We knew before we moved in that we were going to remodel the kitchen. You’ve been hearing us talk about the waiting to start, the being in the remodel process, and the gradual everyday use of the increasingly completed project. You’ve seen glimpses of it in food-styling glamor shots. You’ve heard us rave about how much better it has made our lives. And now, Gentle Reader, the time has come for the reveal; here it is — 99.5% finished, our New Kitchen!

Okay, we don’t have some fancy panorama camera that can take in the entire scope of our gorgeous and enormous kitchen, so let’s take a little tour through all the high points, bit by bit. We started out with a dinky, dingy L-shaped space that combined the internal kitchen proper and an added-on, many-windowed breakfast nook that we used as an open-air, walk-in pantry space into which we could not walk because we’re slobs:

Old Nook

The first step in the remodel was the (admittedly sad) removal of that side window, to make room for a vast wall of stove, vent hood and upper cabinets. Goodbye, view of our garage, and hello, storage space that keeps us from having to stow our supplies on the floor!

Old Nook From Old Sink

After a brief, painless interval (HAHAHAHA!! We crack ourselves up), this is what the view from that same spot looks like:


Yeah, we know. You can take a minute here to compose yourself after that shock.

Here’s another view into the old nook:


And here’s the same view now:


You’re probably wondering what the kitchen part of the kitchen looked like, right? Well, here it is — with a Boomer sighting!


What does that space look like now? Behold:


But… what’s behind that door? Where the old drop-in, nasty-assed range used to be? Oh, nothin’ much. Just… our amazing, awesome, peerless pantry, is all.


Shortly after we moved in, our designer very kindly did a mini-demolition, taking out a bit of useless, skanky cabinetry and a refrigerator surround that our fridge didn’t fit in, and put in some stop-gap remainders cabinet boxes to let me have my 36-inch oven and five-burner cooktop. The end result was, while appliance-happy, sorely lacking in aesthetic appeal. We lived with this arrangement for over a year and a half.



Fortunately, things are a lot better now!


Now, the most expensive part of this whole project was turning a weird little alleyway of deck between the exterior walls of the breakfast nook and the sunroom that a previous owner had added onto our dining room into something a bit more useful. The L-shaped kitchen has now been squared off, with about 56 square feet of interior space added to our lives:


Creeping a little further around the room, you can see that we’ve put a “hutch” of built-in cabinetry along the wall that used to be outside of our sunroom:


One of the biggest problems for the old kitchen was that it was essentially a hallway in a circular floorplan; the front hall opens into the living room and the kitchen, the living room opens onto the dining room, and the dining room opens into the kitchen. With the nook as well, the kitchen had doors opening onto three different rooms, and had to accommodate traffic flow. That left little room for actual kitchen utility. These last few pictures have shown what the kitchen looks like from the front hall, and here’s a view of the newly utile space from the dining room:


When we moved into Maple Hoo our most frequent complaint was that the kitchen was too small — we didn’t have room for all our stuff, because of our inefficiency and disorganization there wasn’t enough room for any complicated food prep, and there wasn’t enough room for more than one of us to function in the kitchen at a time. As soon as the demolition began, though, we realized that all the times our designer chortled to himself in disbelief while looking at our plans, “This is going to be a huge kitchen” hardly prepared us for exactly how huge it is. Yeah, the island is 8×4. That’s eight feet by four feet. Here in the dead of winter, waiting for Spring, it looks pretty bare. But this is what the island looked like late last September:


Yeah, we need every inch of that space.

So that is the glancing overview of our Unicorn Kitchen. Extravagantly expensive, ridiculously long in coming, but fantastically worth it in the end. In the interest of not writing the longest blog post in the history of the universe, we’ll stop here now, but this is only the beginning. Stay tuned for some closer looks at the things that make our kitchen completely and utterly perfect.



Filed under Unicorn Kitchen

38 responses to “Presto-Chango! A New Kitchen Revealed

  1. Working in kitchen-related retail hell, I must say…I am hugely impressed with what one can do with a dingy old kitchen when one has the time, money, desire, and wherewithall to do so. Well done -Ookies! I like. I like alot!

  2. Wait, Josh — can you get us discounts on nice kitchen stuff? :D

    It takes so long to go from dingy to wonderful that you kind of forget the dingy. It was quite a shock to pull these pictures out today and realize how far we’ve come. We’re so lucky to have had that time, money, desire and wherewithall you mentioned!

  3. Amy

    What a gorgeous kitchen. I really like the light fixture above the island.

  4. HG

    Wow. WOW. WOW. WOW!!!!!!!
    If I knew how to make the font bigger, I would.

    I am so pleased to see that your kitchen is complete! I know how excited you must be! Room to move! And create! Yay!

    And to celebrate a new blog name AND layout?!?!?! Holy smokes!

  5. Thanks, Amy! We picked that chandelier out long before we even started on the designs for the kitchen. I like to think of it as the cornerstone of the whole thing. :D

    HG, bite your tongue! This isn’t complete! We’re still missing two drawer fronts and 12 inches of crown molding. But… someday, right? :P It’s a very exciting day here, though — Pookie’s been beside herself about the new format, and the header, and the new name (she felt left out with the more cooking-oriented “Eats” title). The thrills and chills! It’s almost more than we can bear! :D

    And seriously, I don’t even know what to do with all this kitchen space now. Lots of creating, I guess!

  6. Room to move!

    We love, on the rare moment that all three of us are trying to be in the same space at the same time (like by the sink or something), shouting, “This kitchen is too small!”

    And create!

    It is a really inspiring space. As you know I’m not much into the actually cooking thing, but I adore being in there and making cookies or helping Schnookie chop stuff for dinner. I was worried it would seem like someone else’s space, but from day one it’s felt so comfortable and welcoming.

    I really like the light fixture above the island.

    Thanks! A home can never have too many funky chandeliers, right?

  7. UN-FRICKIN’ BELIEVABLE! What a beautiful kitchen! I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been loving the backsplash for months. The windows are beautiful, the cabinets are so pretty.

    I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have a nice pantry like that.

    And you’re right. It’s huge – bigger than my living-room/dining room put together. But I don’t have trouble believing it’s necessary.

    Absolutely beautiful.

  8. Thanks, Patty! Just wait for our post about just the pantry — we’ve got some very exciting pictures of the shelves of lazy susans! :P

    I have to admit, I’ve been staring at these pictures and thinking, “That’s someone else’s kitchen, right?” It just looks so swanky in pictures. I think it has everything to do with the backsplash.

  9. Thanks, Patty!

    The backsplash was originally going to be subway tiles that were a dark, dark green. Then we showed up at the showroom and the designer was like, “Here are the tiles!” and help up these really ugly light washed-out green tiles that were… just so wrong. So the green glass tiny tiles were a last minute change that could not have turned out better!

  10. Your backsplash is made of several things I like: Glass tile, subway (shaped) tile, tiny tile, white grout, and subtle yet striking color.

  11. One of our best friends hates, hates, hates things with tons of little details. Her family had a duck decoy that was covered in colored seeds rather than painted, so she invented the term “seedy ducky”. When the tiles went up we were like, “Ooh, better not show Sarah!” It’s like we wallpapered with seedy-ducky! Hee!

  12. Ooooooh!!!! It’s so beautiful! It’s Matty like :p But seriously. Nice job ladies! It must be a joy to hang out in.

  13. Meg

    That’s beautiful. I have crazy apartment-living-based jealousy right now. My kitchen could probably fit in your pantry. And it’s ugly.

  14. “Matty-like”? That’s the highest possible compliment!

    Meg, I have so much admiration for people who can make do in NYC kitchens. Next time I’m practicing ballroom dancing in our pantry (what? I totally do! It’s just THAT BIG. :P) I’ll give a sympathetic thought for you.

  15. I have crazy apartment-living-based jealousy right now.

    Yes but I have “Meg-can-get-Burittoville-whenever-she-wants” jealousy, so it all balances out.

  16. My jaw literally dropped when I saw that first picture of the completed project. Wow. Just, wow. What a gorgeous space. Well done, ladies!

  17. Cat

    My jaw literally dropped when I saw that first picture of the completed project.

    Ditto! My GOD, -Ookies! That is one gorgeous kitchen. That is a kitchen I aspire to have one day.

    …First, I should probably learn how to cook something beyond, like, macaroni and cheese, though, shouldn’t I?

  18. Holy flirking schnitt. *grabby hands*

    The pantry alone must be as big as my kitchen!

  19. Thanks, guys! It’s so nice to hear such kind things about a kitchen about which we’re almost ridiculously proud. This must be what it feels like to hear nice things about your own baby or something! (But with much lower maintenance than a baby. And probably more emotional investment. :P)

  20. …First, I should probably learn how to cook something beyond, like, macaroni and cheese, though, shouldn’t I?

    Personally, I think you need the fancy kitchen first, Cat!

  21. Oh, no question about it. A fancy kitchen makes cooking at least 85% easier. You can’t learn to cook without a fancy kitchen. :P

  22. I just drooled all over my desk…

    Words can’t describe how nice your kitchen is! I think it’s bigger than my whole apartment.

    -ookies, I’ve been to ask you whether you’ve seen the show “Down Home with the Neelys”. Sometimes they’re a bit too much but at least they’re entertaining. Although yesterday I saw an episode where she used cottage cheese in her lasagne and I remember we had a discussion on IPB about whether cottage or ricotta cheese should be used in a lasagna.

  23. This kitchen is way bigger than I ever thought it would be. The old one was just so small, and it hardly seemed possible that squaring it off would make it so ginormous! I’d be lying if I said I don’t have to pinch myself every day — I never thought I’d ever have a kitchen like this! :D

    I’ve never seen “Down Home with the Neelys” — we’ll have to check it out! And while I am now a strict ricotta-in-lasagne person, I did originally learn how to make it from a Betty Crocker recipe that used cottage cheese, so if I was feeling really return-to-my-roots lowbrow, I wouldn’t frown on cottage cheese. :P

  24. I am all kinds of about that beautiful green tile with the dark wood cabinets. So absolutely gorgeous.

    Why did my kitchen have to get all water-damaged and sad? Why? Why?

    I’m so envious! You -Ookies and your nice things! ;)

  25. Pam

    wow…boss kitchen

    and can we get this ginormous font on regular IPB too?

  26. I’m so envious! You -Ookies and your nice things! ;)

    Hee hee! I really do love nice things! (Actually, it’s one reason I don’t ever want to have kids. I like nice things too much. :P)

    I get very, very scared at the thought of anything happening to our kitchen, so Caitlin, you have my utmost sympathy for the water damage thing. That just sucks so hugely.

    Pam, I’m glad you like this GIANT FONT! It is TOTALLY cracking me up. I feel like I’m reading the “For Senior Citizens” version of my comment while I’m writing it!

  27. Pam

    you’ve seen the show “Down Home with the Neelys”. Sometimes they’re a bit too much but at least they’re entertaining.

    I’ve watched it. I think sometimes they try to hard to fill the “sassy” role. But when they’re more focused on the cooking they act a little more naturally and it’s better. Overall, I’d say I like them. Aside from the bbq, I’ll pass on most of their food though.

  28. Iain

    Hee hee! I really do love nice things! (Actually, it’s one reason I don’t ever want to have kids. I like nice things too much. :P)

    Preach on, Sister Schnookie!

    And I am insanely jealous of your kitchen. It is beyond awesome.

  29. Iain, it’s so good to know we’ll have someone else to talk to someday at the “I Didn’t Have Children Because I Love My Material Belongings Too Much” conventions! :D

    And I cannot tell a lie: I’m insanely jealous of my kitchen too! I think we proclaim at least three or four times a week, spontaneously, “I love this kitchen.” I truly can’t believe I ended up with something like this.

  30. hgee

    Look. To celebrate, I have a picture!

  31. Wait, Josh — can you get us discounts on nice kitchen stuff? :D

    Not so much the hardware, but if it’s pots and pans and gourmet dips and drink mixes and stuff like that, I got ya covered! ‘Course, my discount SUCKS, but y’know…better than nothing. Slightly.

  32. Are we talking Williams-Sonoma? Because if we are, I would like to marry you. :P

  33. thelastonealive

    While I appreciate the marriage proposal, we’re not talking Williams-Sonoma, we’re talking Le Gourmet Chef…Williams-Sonoma’s rowdy, party-happy younger brother. Haha. I’ve tried to get into a W-S numerous times over the last few years but the one closest to me closed awhile ago and I don’t want to have to drive to Westfield or Short Hills to work.

  34. thelastonealive

    Oh wow, I’ve totally reverted to my usual name without even noticing. I should probably make that change.

  35. Oh, well, yeah, I take my offer of marriage off the table. What a disappointment, Josh. :P

  36. (And we can all see right through your disguise!)

  37. I know, I’m pretty good at being pretty disappointing.

  38. Pingback: The Getting From There To Here « IPB Living

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