Monday, February 13, 2012

How we're making old into new in the kitchen

There's something special about that first time in a project when you see an actual, finished surface.  So it was pretty exciting when Dad brought over some actual, finished cabinet end panels.

We thought long and hard about how to integrate a new kitchen with the very consistent style of our old house. The old kitchen left us very little to salvage - we're pretty much stripping the trim, hoping for the best on the floors, and that's about it. Everything else is/will be new, or at least new to the house.  But we really love all the old stuff in the house, specifically the original, never painted woodwork throughout the house.  The fact that all the woodwork was never painted presented a conundrum when considering how to match, or at least be consistent with, the rest of the woodwork.  When paint's involved, you can build new stuff out of whatever you want and make it all the same color.  But if you're in Maine looking to coordinate with 87-year-old Southern pine, you've got a challenge on your hands....

...unless your mother has secretly been hoarding a stash of the very same stuff from her grandmother's house, built in the same era not 25 miles from here. (You knew there was going to be a punchline.)

Sheesh, it looks like it came off the same train! When my mom finally sold the house I grew up in last spring, my brother identified this stuff in the attic of the garage and knew we had to have it.  When I saw it, I knew our long-awaited kitchen renovation may finally be within sight.  Of course it was filthy, but it was the right stuff and never painted.  Some of it is even autographed, so we'll have a third signature to add to Fred & Frank's.  This particular piece was made out of cut-down beadboard cabinet doors in a frame made from thick door jambs.

Here we have the end of the cabinet to the left of the sink...

The side of the upper cabinet...

The other end of the island...

and the piece de resistance...the dishwasher!

The dishwasher apparently took some extra work.  How's this for dedication: when Dad ran out of Memere's beadboard, he simply went to Lowe's, spent two hours looking through Douglas fir two-by-fours, and made his own.  Then he framed it in teak.  Yup, we've got a teak-front dishwasher.

So that's the beginning of the story about how my father took my great-grandmother's kitchen and re-made it into ours, in Gabe's grandparents' house.  I guess it's official - we can never move.  I think I can deal with that. 


  1. Beautiful!! You're lucky to have such a talented father.