3.29.2010

The Kitchen: It's All Coming Together

The past couple weeks have been extremely productive! Our kitchen cabinets were installed last week, and look great. Our carpenter, Randy Ingraham, installed the plywood cabinets and solid maple doors unfinished (not stained or painted), as my dad offered to finish them for us. Everything fits just as planned and it is a great feeling to see our floor plans come to reality. Randy did a great job meeting our fast schedule and custom dimensions.
Initial installation shots:
We had the doors and drawer fronts built in a flat panel, full overlay style for a simple, clean look.
Later in the week, Marc Stone worked his magic and put the ‘finishing’ touches on our cabinets. They were stained with the same dark finish that Matt used on the beams. The maple doors look bold and modern now with their new coat on! We had some of the cabinet doors and open shelves finished in white, to create some visual contrast and give the kitchen more of a modern look. I can not wait to see everything put together!
All of the appliances and fixtures are officially on site or in transit. Our refrigerator and sink are in place while the rest of the appliances are sitting in the middle of the room, waiting their turn. We went with an under-mount sink with 90 degree corners, in order to work easily with the form for our concrete counters. I found a double basin, stainless sink for a great price from Signature Hardware and it shipped in three days! We also recently ordered our Moen faucet from Famous Supply, and it should be here very soon.
Before the staining was even complete, Matt started building the form for our concrete counter tops. I am sure he will want to post about this, with all the details of the grueling process, so look for that post soon!

3.28.2010

Rest and Warmth

When we moved into our house, one of the first things Matt did was rip off the existing brass and glass fireplace doors, and convert the fireplace from gas to wood burning. Removing the doors revealed damaged stones around the opening of the fireplace. Ever since then, we have been brainstorming what we could do to cover the damaged stones and finish the fireplace with a clean, modern look. Our fireplace is rather big, with a 48w x 30h opening, so it was impossible to find anything workable at a local fireplace supply store. We soon realized that this was going to be a custom job by some type of metal contractor.
We ended up finding Rik Tig, a welder out of Peninsula, to create our custom look. He suggested we go with an angle iron frame, as it will hold up against years of heat and soot. After a few hours of welding the pieces in place, right on site in our living room, our fireplace frame was complete, better looking that we had even planned! We were originally thinking that the frame would have a wrought iron look to it, in a dark finish. Instead, the angle iron shined up to a stainless steel looking finish. Our stainless steel refrigerator was delivered while Rik was installing the frame, and it was the perfect timing! The refrigerator and fireplace are along the same elevation. The pieces complement each other and help the space come together.
The state of the fireplace at closing:
After Matt removed the doors and converted it to wood burning:
The welding process:


The fireplace with its new look:
We will be painting the hearth in Sherwin Williams Iron Ore and installing a wire mesh screen. Then the fireplace will be complete!
The built-in sofa is another project that has progressed in the same area of the house. We previously posted about our Foam 'N' Fabric adventures, and now the pieces have come together to create our cushions. My mom is an excellent seamstress and agreed to make the covers for the foam. She did a superb job! The cushions look beautiful and fit perfectly in the built-in. Thanks to the wonderful Maharam reps, this week we were also given the perfect accent for the Maharam cushions: a Maharam Pillow!
The lovely existing cushions:
Our new place to convene:
Soon, we will have to finish that built-in so it can do these cushions justice! But for now, we will enjoy finally being able to sit on our sofa and admire our fires.

3.20.2010

Design Really Can Be Within Reach . . .

. . . at least, that is, during store-closing clearance sales!
As we complete more and more of our renovation, the furniture wish-list is quickly becoming a reality. We are building a bar, so of course we need bar stools. We ripped down every light fixture in the house, so we must replace them. Spring has arrived, so we must furnish our patio. We should probably get a dining room set and stop using our office furniture as the dinner table. And the list goes on.
Unfortunately, expensive taste married expensive taste, so everything Matt and I want is far from our price range, or so we thought. The local Design Within Reach store is going out of business and had a crazy two-day sale this weekend--everything 70% off! This morning I was waiting at the doors as they opened, ready to claim the best deals before anyone else. Matt couldn't join me, as our kitchen cabinets are being installed today (which are looking great--more to come next post). So I was frantically calling him and having him check the DWR website to make sure he agreed with my selections before someone else swiped them.
Goal #1: Bar stools - Check!
Within five minutes of entering the store, Xavier Pauchard's Marais Stool caught my eye. I knew I liked the style, but the only color they had was Lemon. Matt and I had discussed getting brushed aluminum bar stools, to contrast with our white Corian bar top and darkly-stained cabinets. Lemon? I liked the idea of this pop of color, but this was going to take some coercion with Matt. Fortunately, after a persuasive discussion, he liked the idea of the color as well! Did I mention 70% off?
Goal # 2: Light fixture for the stairway - Check!
This week our George Nelson Bubble Lamps arrived. We ordered the Saucer lamp for our dining room and the Cigar lamp for our entry way. Now all we needed was a pendant for the stairway. We wanted something with a unique design for this area because the stairwell is one of the major focal points in the house. The Random Light, designed by Bertjan Pot for Moooi, seemed like the perfect choice, and once again, Matt agreed.
Not a goal, but purchase #3: Dining room table
I had hoped to find a killer deal on a beautiful, classic dining table, but I definitely didn't think it would happen. Well, the early bird catches the worm. They had one Cross Extension dining table left, and it was on major sale as it was a floor model! It was designed by Matthew Hilton and won the 2006 Elle Decoration Best in Furniture award. This table, even on sale, is a pretty penny so that phone call to Matt was a very serious one. I stood over the table, guarding it from any other potential buyers, as we tried to make a decision. We decided to go for it. You're welcome, future grandchildren who will inherit this table (because that's how long it'd better last).
I tried my hardest to talk the price down even more, but they wouldn't budge--which is understandable as it was only the first hour of a two-day sale. To ease my pain they said, "Pick out something else you want and we'll give you a smokin' deal!" I pointed to an Arne Jacobsen Banker's clock, just to test them. It was originally $288 and they sold it to me for $20! Thank you, DWR sales staff.
But for now the time has come to finish the kitchen . . . you'll see it soon!

3.05.2010

Enjoying the View

The week after we closed on the house, we had an intense work weekend with family and friends. Before the day was over, our master bedroom closet was demolished, leaving an open, damaged wall as a place holder for our new, space-efficient dream closet. Might I remind you that our house has no basement or attic, so storage space is hard to come by here. I welcome this lack of storage, as I do not wish to become a pack rat. No room for it? Get rid of it!
When we moved in, we began working on other, more important projects (that is debatable), and the closet project was pushed to the back burner. As I dug through the boxes of my clothes over the past couple months, the regret of tearing out the existing closet began to set in. In place of our new closet, sat three mismatched dressers, with two bare light bulbs dangling from above; an Interior Designer's nightmare.
Our original plan was for Matt to install built-in cabinetry where the previous sliding-door closet was. The estimated timeframe for this to happen was predicted for late summer, so we shifted gears and contacted a friend, Jason, who works at the Closet Factory. I started off by sending him a drawing of my closet design and asked him to quote it in solid walnut.
Learning experience: that is very expensive. When our quote came back at almost $6,000, we looked to him for guidance on how to achieve our goals for more like 1/3 of the estimated costs. He suggested we use a laminate or melamine instead of solid walnut, and limit the amount of door and drawers. At first this discouraged me, but then I saw this picture on the Contemporist of built-in cabinets, with floor to ceiling doors . Hello, gorgeous.
If we could achieve this modern look with the floor to ceiling doors on the outside, and the drawers and shelves on the inside, we could sacrifice the solid walnut request. So our compromise on the design turned out like this. Thanks, Jason!
After agreeing on the closet design, Matt and I had a couple tasks on site to complete prior to our custom closet installation: lighting and painting. We wanted to replace the hanging light bulbs with four recessed cans, to provide accent lighting on the closet doors. This task required some careful planning. We have radiant heating in the ceilings on that level of the house, and the last thing we wanted to do was drill through one them. Thankfully, we have the original blue prints for the house. We were able to measure how far out on the wall we needed to install the cans, in order to avoid hitting a copper pipe. Matt has experience in electrical work, so to him this was a simple task. He attempted to start and complete it in the middle of the night one Saturday when was on a role working at the house. Unfortunately, we failed to notice the connecter pipe that feeds the pipes we were so carefully planning on missing. At 1am, we accidentally had a small waterfall pouring down from the ceiling! Matt has a friend who was able to come out the next day and solder the hole in the pipe, as well as move it over so we could still center our recessed cans as we desired. Matt had quite a bit of patch and repair to deal with after that hiccup, and here is mess in the bedroom we lived with for the time being.
For the finishing touch, we selected brushed nickel trims from Whitmer's Lighting. The end result turned out beautifully, and it was definitely worth the effort! Nice work, Matt!
There is nothing like leaving for work one morning, with no closet, and then coming home that night to a new, custom closet, completely installed by someone else. Matt and I spent the evening over a bottle of wine (that Jason left for us), putting away our clothes that had been packed away for months. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings we have had for a while, and it will definitely be one to remember for years to come. I know I sound superficial about clothes and closets, but until you experience this, no judging.
The final task was installing the door handles. We purchased handles to match the ones we picked out for the kitchen cabinets on our road trip to IKEA last weekend. Matt installed these a couple days ago and here are the final results of our closet!
The master bedroom is almost complete. It still needs a final coat of paint, as it is currently just primed. We also need to paint the doors, touch up the ceiling, install base boards, and install new hardware on the doors. That will all have to wait as the kitchen is the current focus. So for now, I will just continue to be patient, and enjoy the view.