What happens when you get two optimistic home chefs into a newly owned house with an outdated kitchen? Nick and Kiko's first renovation!
When we moved into our Bloomingdale rowhouse in 2014, we knew there were some fish to fry before we could build the kitchen of our dreams; 2015 was mostly occupied with getting hitched. But with that joy behind us, we moved on to the next one, feeling so lucky that we could create a space to anchor our home our way, and hopefully grow a family in.
So we began meetings with fellow Crispus Attucks neighbor Charles Warren of Teas Warren Architects. This being a first renovation for both Nick and I, we were open to his (and let's be honest, our parents') wisdom, based on the following sure-fire goals:
- Bring the outside inside, and re-orient the kitchen to open up towards the greenery of the park out our back door, through knocking down a structural wall and installing big old casement windows. This is the wall we would lose:
- Re-orient how we move into and out of our house, with most of that happening through the back of the house. This would involve creating a mudroom-like portion of our new kitchen, and some kind of bike shed for the back yard so we could stop hauling them in and out to commute to work every day.
- Replacing EVERYTHING from the old kitchen--from the appliances, to the cabinets, floors and countertops, it all had to go. Literally the only thing we kept was the garbage disposal.
- Replace our big black "disco bathroom" and its unnecessary bath with a smaller powder room.
- Open up the pathway between the kitchen and dining room to let that great light flow from the park towards the front of the house.
We chose to work with Something Different as our contractor, based on a recommendation from our neighbor down the block, and navigated through the contract negotiations as we learned about concepts like "allowances" and "punch lists."
We were told four months, but did add a couple elements like a skylight on our roof, so six months later, we are able to move into our new kitchen!
Spring is really here, and we celebrated last night by cooking my buddy Samin Nosrat's Persian Kuku--a frittata stuffed with chard, dill, cilantro and leeks. Like a champ she of course uses the chard stems and leek greens. Here's the dramatic flip moment--success! Delish, and next time we'll try adding mozzarella.