renovation photo-story: the kitchen

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While researching "before and in-progress" photos for our Renovation Style magazine feature I realized how much of the process and the pain I had forgotten ( blocked ;) and if "I" had forgotten, then I was sure you had too!  I know there is a wonderful, crazy;), amazing, crazy;), lovely, crazy;) bunch of you who have gone back and read through each and every post (I really need to send each of you a merit badge :), but I also know some of you have only seen the finished photos of rooms.
So, in case we've made this appear too easy, or made you think renovating an antique farmhouse is fun and romantic I thought I'd show a little reality check!  I have decided to pull the "photo-story" of each room together in one post and I'll start with the kitchen.  Having over 10,000 photos of the renovation (literally) this is no small feat- this post took me about 7 hours to research and compose!
If you have a weak stomach I suggest you look away in the middle of this post, or maybe just come back next time;) cuz... it ain't pretty!  Some of my posts are a sentence, some a paragraph, .... this one is a novel ;) 
So... grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or maybe some Pepto Bismol.....

here we go!

The farmhouse had been for sale (and vacant) for 4 years by the time we purchased it.  For a brief couple of months there were renters in the house (later evicted for not paying rent) and they decided to stay at the house during our showing.  As I recall they were making.... meatballs  - lovely.  These first photos are from that very first walk through in the house.  (please note the built-in cabinet seen in this photo for reference throughout this post)
We combined the original small kitchen in the farmhouse and the ell (the connector between the farmhouse and the barn) to make our new kitchen.
When we found the house, the whole kitchen (except for the refrigerator) was in what is now our kitchen dining area.  The original room was too small for the frig, so that was in the ell as you can see in this photo.  This transom would one day be moved to over the pantry door!

View standing in the original kitchen looking into the ell.

These original (very steep) stairs came down from what is now our master bath (specifically the shower) into the ell on the first floor.  They were removed in Phase I of the renovation.  The countertop area you see in this photo is where the range is now.

Behind the closed door was an oddly placed full bath on the first floor in the ell, right behind the kitchen.  The radiator is where my kitchen sink is now.

The original kitchen after the renters moved out- view from kitchen into the ell.  While they might "look" okay in the photo, the cabinetry was extremely flimsy and cheaply made.  I think the granite was an attempt to put lipstick on a pig!  To recap, we took this room with the cabinets, knocked down the wall the cabinets are on and included the space (the ell) behind it to make our new kitchen!

Through the doorway where the range is in this photo will become the see-through fireplace from the kitchen into the formal dining room.  You can see a hint of the hardware from the built-in cabinet.  The wall to the left of this door is approximately where the kitchen island sits now.

Directly behind the range is the fireplace for the formal dining room.  (Ironically I had this very range in Dallas (which I loved;) , I took it as a "sign" when we found the house, even though I knew I would be replacing it!)

This is the kitchen to the entry (looking into the reading room).  I show this photo as I love the painted piece of plywood wall on the right;)!  Are you starting to think we must have been crazy yet?!

We take possession (or maybe, more accurately the house possessed us;) and the very next day the walls between the small kitchen and the ell start coming down.  Notice all the plumbing and pipes which are now in the middle of the new room and must be moved.  The two windows on the left will be replaced with french doors.

The other side of the room facing the barn.  You can see the stairs that we removed in the left corner of the photo.

The kitchen "mock-up" before plans are given to the cabinet maker.

My future windows over the sink are outlined in blue tape.

Future Sub Zero corner of the kitchen.  The door that is covered up is then moved to "kitchen mud room" that is directly behind the refrigerator.  The 6' x 7' mudroom and the half bath (photo to follow) was the only square footage that we added to the original footprint of the house and barn.  The mud room square footage is two-storied, housing the master bathroom washer and dryer closet and toilet upstairs.

But, first....
due to structural issues the whole ell was taken down and rebuilt on the original foundation.  Windows are being removed for demo.  Photo was taken from the now courtyard!  You can see the foundation footing for the half bath in the left corner.


That upstairs closed door on the left is the door from the master bedroom into the master bath.  The opened door on the right is the door to the guest bath.

Note the built-in cabinet in the corner.  Are we having fun yet?!

It's gotta get ugly, really ugly before it gets pretty!


The re-build begins.  Oh- and don't forget the snow! Doing a full-house renovation in the middle of a New Hampshire winter is, well.... crazy.

Then, to make it really sporty- right in the middle of the project there was the little event known around New Hampshire as "the ice storm of the century."  
This is our drive up to the house.

We were soooo grateful that our one hundred-year-plus maples that line our drive were spared.  The hole on the upstairs of the house is where the electrical lines were ripped off after a tree fell.  Electrical lines have since been buried;)  These photos still make me cringe.

The ice melted.. work continued.  View from the courtyard.

View from the back of the house.

Framing for the new kitchen facing towards the barn.

The range has been removed and the fireplace has been taken down.  Originally the fireplace only opened into the formal dining room.  There was significant damage to the fireplace, so we decided to remove it thereby opening the space to fit a see-through gas fireplace.  This decision also allowed us to take down the chimney upstairs that sat in the middle of  two rooms allowing us to then open the master bedroom into one large room.
Having a fireplace in a kitchen has always been a dream!

The original bricks were then reused to face the fireplace on the kitchen side. The original mantel on the formal dining room side remained intact.

The hunt for countertops began...  Stone fabricators partner with other fabricators who carry different stock, so there is a network of locations to visit to find your perfect piece of stone.  We even made several trips to Boston to look for marble. This is a daunting task since you can't compare them side by side when they're in different states and I'm one of "those" people who want to look at every single "X" the store has to make sure I'm getting the best one!!

You can see the framing for the kitchen mud room in this photo (right side.)   The mud room has a downstairs washer and dryer.

Here you see the added half bath for the first floor. This is the other square footage (along with the kitchen mud room) that we added to the original footprint of the house.  This bath is accessed from the barn room.

The new fireplace.

Fireplace being faced using the original brick.

Shingles being applied to the exterior.

The courtyard shingles are next.

Custom kitchen cabinets sit in the dining room awaiting install.

The wood ceiling going in, or rather "up";)

Cabinets being installed.

The farmhouse sink has arrived!

Electric going in.

My bianco Venatino marble at the stone fabricators with the template I placed for cutting.


I designed the custom french doors- signed off on the spec sheet to my exact measurements, only to have them show up wrong (left side....bottom panel way too small for scale.) They remade them.  You can see how the door on the right has much better scale.

Wood beadboard backsplash and brackets added.

The top pull is original to the house, an antique iron pull from the built-in cabinet.  After much searching, I found the exact reproductions, only in brass.  I painted them matt black to match the iron of the originals and used them on the island.

Cabinets had board inserts for glass until the cabinets were painted.  My cabinet maker always sprayed the cabinets for a "perfect" finish.  I didn't want a perfect finish- I wanted the cabinets to look original, so I had them hand-painted on site.  We used antique glass for the kitchen cabinets that came from original windows removed in the renovation- one hundred and fifty year old wavy glass!  love!

Eastern white pine floor boards stained and with first coat of tung oil.

 The Wolf arrives! 

The fridge arrived about two weeks later as it was on back order.  Renovation fun!!

First occupant in the Sub Zero.... a bottle of Veuve Clicquot!  Cheers!

The freshly painted kitchen.

The unpacking.

The finished kitchen:

the end....
or rather,  the beginning!!