The Finished Kitchen
The Finished Kitchen
Kim's Kitchen before the remodel. "There was not one thing in the kitchen I wanted to keep. The cabinets, island, the floor, the appliances, door and window all had to go."
Welcome to Part 1 of our interview with Kim Johnson, co-author of the blog Desire to Inspire. In Fall 2008 Kim remodeled her kitchen using Greentea Mizuya Cabinets, and covered the entire process on her blog.
This first part covers the initial stages of the project, starting with the rough plans drawn up by Kim and continuing on to the 3D Sketchup and design issues before the remodel got underway. Part 2 covers the installation and demolition process, while Part 3 features the finished kitchen.
Greentea Design: What were your initial goals with your kitchen remodel and what were the main issues you considered first?
Kim: My initial goals for the kitchen were to have adequate storage and plenty of counter space. I also wanted to have the kitchen open to the living room, and have a dining space that could seat six, where I could work at the dining table and watch the living room TV at the same time.
The main issues I considered first were whether or not I could remove the wall between the kitchen and the living room. An architect friend came by to inspect it and said the wall could come down. That was a big relief because that meant opening up the main floor and having a great view of the entire kitchen.
Another issue was a door that was in the old kitchen that was previously my main entrance. I knew this door had to go to allow the cabinets to run L-shaped as opposed to galley style. The cabinets are so beautiful I thought L-shape would allow them to be more visible. The window in the kitchen was another issue for L-shaped cabinet layout because it was set far too low to allow cabinets to run across the wall. I knew that would have to be replaced with a smaller window placed higher on the wall.
Above is Kim's old kitchen's layout.
"The cabinets are so beautiful I thought L-shape make them more visible." > Click here to Enlarge
GT: What appealed to you about Greentea Design's cabinets? What choices did you make in the rest of your design to work around the cabinets?
Kim: I loved the natural wood of Greentea's cabinets. The stains they offered could give a variety of different looks. I also thought they had a great range of cabinet styles to choose from. I particularly loved the sliding doors - that is a touch that is unusual to traditional cabinets. I was also intrigued by the other cabinet unit options they carry such as pantries.
When I knew my cabinets were going to come from Greentea, I knew my initial idea for galley style would not do the cabinets justice. I wanted to be able to see all of the cabinets from any angle in the space.
I am drawn to modern kitchens, and knew straight away that I could mix modern elements with the cabinets, particularly stainless steel, and have this play off the Asian vibe of the cabinets.
GT: What parts of the process of ordering the cabinets from Greentea Design did you find most helpful?
Kim: This being my first kitchen renovation (or renovation of any kind), I was really concerned that the ideas I had in my head and had drawn on paper would not be able to be executed as I had hoped.
When Greentea was able to model the cabinets for me via Sketchup, I was ecstatic. It was amazing to see all my ideas come to life in 3D. It even included the style of appliances I had selected and the countertops and flooring I wanted. This proved to be extremely useful to my contractor as well, who referred to the sketches often.
"I loved the natural wood of Greentea's cabinets. The stains they offered could give a variety of different looks."
"When Greentea was able to model the cabinets for me via Sketchup, I was ecstatic."
GT: What did you look for when choosing your other kitchen elements?
Kim: I wanted all of the other kitchen elements to be modern and sleek, and in the case of the countertop, as light as possible. I wanted stainless steel appliances because I think black would have been too dark and white would have stood out too much against the cabinet colour.
I wanted the countertop in a man-made stone for durability, and in a shade as white as I could get. The walls would be painted in a very pale grey that I had used for the rest of the main floor, and a bright white counter would work well with it, while keeping the kitchen bright. I wanted modern lighting and looked for steel to blend with the appliances.
"I wanted all of the other kitchen elements to be modern and sleek."
Welcome to Part 2 of our interview with Kim Johnson, co-author of the blog Desire to Inspire. In Fall 2008 Kim remodeled her kitchen using Greentea Mizuya Cabinets, and covered the entire process on her blog.
Part 2 covers the actual installation and demolition process, and is meant to help potential kitchen remodelers. Part 1 covered the design and planning process and Part 3 features the finished kitchen.
Greentea Design:What aspects of the demolition and initial construction work did you expect and plan for? Were there any surprises and how did you deal with them?
Kim: To save on contractor costs, my boyfriend and I had planned on doing the majority of the demolition ourselves. It turned out that much more of the old room needed to be demolished than we thought, as the contractor found that the walls and ceiling consisted of tongue and groove paneling covered in drywall, all of which needed to be removed.
The ceiling was a big job that none of us expected to have to demolish, but the electrician assured us that he was unable to install the pot lights within the tongue and groove as it was against regulations.
What I didn't initially plan for was the wall cut out by the basement stairs. During the removal of the walls, it was brought to my attention that removing a section of the wall would open up the space more. It turns out that it would have been such a tight fit to try and get around the dining table (tighter than I had anticipated) had that wall been left standing.
Being without a kitchen throughout the renovation was pretty difficult. A lot of fast food was consumed, as well as sandwiches from a deli around the corner. I was without a functioning kitchen for one month. It was a VERY long month.
"A hole was cut in the top of the cabinet for the sink..."
"...and the drawer fronts were removed and glued in place."
GT:What changes to the cabinets were made on-site for things like your sink and plumbing?
Kim:2 of the 3 base cabinets required modifications. Greg from Greentea suggested we do this on-site as opposed to having the holes cut out at their cabinetry shop, so we could change our minds in case the plan had evolved.
The cabinet next to the fridge required a hole cut out of the back for a furnace duct as well as a hole for some plumbing to the adjacent bathroom. I requested that the sink be placed to the left of the cabinet it is housed in, in order to salvage one of the 3 drawers in that unit.
A hole was cut in the top of the cabinet for the sink, and the drawer fronts were removed and glued in place. A hole was also cut in the back of the cabinet to accomodate the plumbing for the sink.
I decided after ordering the cabinets to use under-cabinet lighting. To conceal the bulbs, my contractor bought wood, stained it to match the cabinets and installed it along the bottom of the upper cabinets. Greentea does offer totally custom cabinetry, and if I had planned on under-cabinet lighting from the beginning I could have had an extending beam conceal it - but hey, you live and learn!
GT:Can you describe the process by which the cabinets were fixed into place and the countertop and backsplash then installed?
Kim:Because most of the cabinets I chose were base cabinets and a pantry, there was not much securing required. My contractor insisted on screwing the base cabinets to the wall, but it really wasn't necessary. We did not fix the pantry in place, but had considered mounting a bracket to the back to hold the top and bottom parts together.
My contractor screwed the upper cabinets to the wall, which was a simple process as the room has tongue and groove boards behind the drywall so he was able to screw directly into wall. He also mounted some pieces of wood into the corner between the 2 base cabinets to support the corner of the countertop.
The countertop was simply placed in position and siliconed to the cabinets and the wall. The backsplash (which consisted of strips of the countertop) was siliconed to the countertop.
The kitchen before the countertop and backsplash were installed
"The countertop was simply placed in position and siliconed to the cabinets and the wall."
Welcome to Part 3 of our interview with Kim Johnson, co-author of the blog Desire to Inspire. In Fall 2008 Kim remodeled her kitchen using Greentea Mizuya Cabinets, and covered the entire process on her blog.
Part 3 covers the final kitchen, and is meant to help potential kitchen remodelers. Part 1 covered the design and planning process and Part 2 covers the actual installation and demolition process.
Greentea Design:Did you find that the storage space suited your needs?
Kim: I am amazed at the storage space in these cabinets. I was initially a bit concerned that there were too many drawers and not enough space for large items but that turned out to be not the case at all.
I have plenty of room in the base cabinets to fit everything. And I am having so much fun with the amount of drawers I have (27 to be precise). I have never had a kitchen with adequate drawer space, and this one is overflowing with them! I even have one I converted into a spice rack!
The drawers are what keep me so organized. It was a blast filling them all up.
GT:What finishing touches do you think best brought the space together?
Kim:I think the lighting played a big part in making the room come together.
I found the most amazing pendants at a local interior design shop that look incredible over my dining table, and I really love the lights I purchased and had mounted on either side of the range. They are a great feature on that wall.
The chairs are an unexpected touch that added a bit of retro modern to the space, to mix up the overall look. And to warm up the whole space, I found an antique kilim rug that had gorgeous warm tones that work so well with the cabinet color.
GT:Looking back on the project what advice would you give to people thinking of a Greentea Design kitchen?
Kim:The best advice I can give someone considering Greentea cabinets is GO FOR IT! Really, I think that's the best advice I can give. I think a lot of people prefer to select cabinets from big-box stores because they assume it's easy and that is so uninteresting. These cabinets are gorgeous, and stand out so much compared to any other cabinets I've seen.
Greentea has many options for stains and sizes and door fronts and hardware that you can customize to your heart's content and I guarantee you will be thrilled. I am. And the Greentea guys are so accommodating and helpful and it's nice to have such great contact with people who know so much about the product.
GT:Were your initial goals met with this kitchen remodel?
Kim:My initial goals were certainly met. I have more than enough storage space and I have plenty of counter space. I have a kitchen that is bright and open to the living room and I now spend most of my time working on my laptop at the dining table.
It's hard not to spend time in the kitchen - it's the prettiest and most comfortable room in the house. I adore every single part of my new kitchen and every time I set foot in it, I can't help but smile.
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