The kitchen in our 1886 cottage (yes, 1886 is the year I think, not 1887. More on that later.) has a stained glass window and an old tin ceiling. We suspect the stained glass window was added by an owner in the 1980's, probably purchased from our business in the days prior to our tenure. It fits the general time frame of the house, but not the style, which is a very simple workman's cottage; and a stained glass window would not have been installed in a kitchen at that time. But we love the window and the ceiling is lovely too. 

The problem with the lovely window was the location. The kitchen is tucked onto the back of the house which faces south. There is an exterior door with a single pane window on that wall to let some light in but that was it. The stained glass sash was installed on the east facing wall, which faces the house next door, about 12' away. When I first suggested we move the stained glass window to the south wall, Jim laughed, thinking I was kidding. Two weeks later, this happened:

And what a difference that made! On a sunny day the window glows from the southern exposure. On a cloudy day it still glows, letting in much more light than when it was on the eastern wall. The added bonuses: when sitting on the couch in the living room you can see the window glowing in the kitchen both day and night, thanks to an outdoor light mounted right next to it outside. And when you are outside on the deck, right off the kitchen, or in the backyard on the new patio we installed, you can still see the window glowing from the lights on in the kitchen. So this was a win on all counts. 

We last updated the kitchen in 2010 between tenants, when it was a long-term rental. We upgraded with new appliances and countertops and natural finished cabinets. 12 years later, we decided the floor, the cabinets and refrigerator were fine and the rest was torn out. After getting some estimates for having the cabinets painted, we did it ourselves. 14 cabinets, 15 cabinet doors (!!!) and 5 drawer fronts took far longer to paint then we imagined. We used a Sherwin Williams/Valspar cabinet, the color is Naval, paint with rollers made for that purpose. Prepping was important, sanding down the original finish thoroughly front and back of each door and all over ach cabinet took time. The painting itself took time. When we finally got them back up and installed we were very happy with the result, until the thing happened. 

The thing involved the countertops. My ideal kitchen included white quartz countertops, after struggling with stains on our salvaged Carrara marble countertops at one of our short-term rentals and struggling with everything about our honed black galaxy granite countertops (also salvaged) in our other short-term rental. However, the price tag of $3500 did not sit well with Jim, so he suggested poured concrete instead. He has done this before, on a bathroom vanity in one of our other houses, and we liked the result. So after research and oodles of videos we decided to try white poured concrete countertops. It is a very involved process, to say the least, and Jim was studying the techniques and edge profiles and colorants and framework and mesh for months before we pulled the trigger and ordered the materials to do it. We got everything from Concrete Countertop Solutions. They shipped quickly, their website is very informative, and they have many instructional videos to walk you through every step. It took a few days for Jim to get the forms put together and the surfaces reinforced and the mesh in place. Finally he was ready to pour! I was not on hand that day to see it but I got plenty of photos:

So, that happened. Evidently it involved the mixing process and the texture of the concrete when he poured OR SOMETHING. All I know is our beautiful blue cabinets were trashed. Completely. Cleaning them is actually not done yet, and we have spent an awful lot of time trying to clean up the mess. Why we did not cover them you ask? That is a question we ask ourselves daily. The second pour, of the larger side of the kitchen counters, went pretty much the same way, astonishingly, even though they were covered this time. Unsure why it again got all over everything. But it did, and we are also still cleaning this. 

It started out just fine.

However, I do love the solid, beefy look of these counters, and the somewhat rustic white finish looks fantastic with the backsplash we used. We used the Bright White Color Pack from Concrete Countertop Solutions. 

We used the Chester Collection Bianco 3" x 6" subway tile as a backsplash, not your average big box store subway tile. This has a handmade look and the variations on the surface catch the light and reflect it in a beautiful way. Our epic huge Kingston Brass stainless steel sink (aka baby bathtub) and Kingston Brass pre-rinse faucet in brushed brass add a contemporary touch to remind guests they can really cook in this kitchen even though it is tiny. 

The Top Knobs cabinet hardware I selected are also in brushed brass, and look great against the navy blue cabinets. Here are the Peak cabinet knobs and here are the Channing drawer pulls. 

We have a lot of cleanup left and some touching up of the cabinets, plus a floating shelf is going up over the sink. I'll update this when all of the pieces are done. 

Posted on Categories : Antique Items, Kitchen