A Gregory Street Kitchen Project
-- by Paul Haggett
This kitchen project was for the same family that I built the white deck with the pergola just a few years ago. We began discussing the new kitchen in January in sort of a "what if" mode. I started the process out by suggesting that the client begin collecting kitchen magazines. I told her to begin compiling a "Kitchen Folder" of kitchens that she saw that appealed to her.
This is a view of the wood stove before we started. The client wanted to keep the stove because they really liked the ambiance it provides in the winter. We talked about possibly moving it back under the chimney but the cost was prohibitive so we left it right where it was and designed around it.
Our first design meetings began in February when we discussed the characteristics
of her ideal kitchen. One of the first topics was "does she need a kitchen designer?"
I have a background in kitchen design from my retail days and I've done a fair
amount of cabinetwork so I felt totally comfortable and qualified to advise her
on design. I learned quickly that as I gave her technical information on cabinet
selection, she was more than capable, of making design decisions on her own. We
wound up designing the kitchen together
without the expensive services of a kitchen designer. She was in complete control
of where her kitchen design was going. I knew that when the kitchen was done we
both would have a sense of pride knowing that we were responsible for every aspect
of the rooms final outcome.
This shot is to the left of the wood stove showing the primary entrance of the kitchen from the back door and hallway. We changed this door from a six-panel door to a fifteen light French door.
At one point when we were pretty much firmed up on the size and placement of the island, I constructed an exact size cardboard mockup of the proposed island and brought it to the kitchen. This gave the entire family the opportunity to feel the island concept for the weekend. Not only did this process work very well but the cardboard model allowed us to determine the island's exact placement, and the exact size of the granite counter top. When we reached the point where the cabinet layout and overall design scheme was completed it was time to settle on a cabinet style. At this point Kathy had picked a cabinet door style and after reviewing all the wood choices in conjunction with the flooring selection (see below) she chose quartersawn red oak for the cabinets.
The house is essentially Victorian in style and quartersawn red oak was relatively popular in this era. I proposed that we use a custom cabinetmaker vs. retail for several reasons. The first being that it would be difficult to get a retail cabinet in quartersawn red oak with the ability to choose the stain color that she wanted. The second being that our design was totally custom in nature since some of the sizes were not even close to standard cabinet measurements. The island was entirely custom and would not have been available through a retail environment.
We interviewed a couple cabinetmakers and selected J.D. Custom Woodworking in Peabody. They were extremely flexible and were totally willing to build exactly what we wanted. "We can do it whatever way you want!"
Here is the view of the corner where we always intended to put a French door. Since we planned to install radiant heat in the floor the radiator could go. During the design process we were open minded on whether we would put the door somewhere else but it would up being right here. The dining table was right there before and wound up there in the new kitchen.
The next decision was what to put down for the floor. We found a picture of one kitchen with all oak throughout, cabinets and floor. This picture alone helped us visualize oak cabinets with an oak floor. Our client wanted to use quartersawn white oak on the new kitchen floor since other rooms on the first floor had it and with radiant heat installed underneath, this was a quick decision. She went to a lot of trouble going back and forth to Waters & Brown to select just the right stains for the cabinets and the floor, hoping for just the right combination. The final color selection and the effort expended to arrive at this combination was well worth it.
The last item to select would be the countertops. She wanted granite but wasn't exactly sure what type of appearance to lean towards. We went to Ital Marble in Lynn and Charlotte took us out back to look at some slabs. She decided on a swirling grey and black/white stone with a honed finish as opposed to the more popular polished finish. I had never seen this before but now that it is installed I love it. Its softer more subtle look makes it very appropriate in this Victorian style kitchen. My favorite characteristic of the honed surface is that scratching literally goes unnoticed. Any other color or
Here is a shot of the old pantry. When we measured the room we determined that the right wall of the pantry (left of the stove) was ten inches thick. We couldn't understand why since there weren't any pipes running through it that we could see. The picture (right) shows the reason, a previous remodel left coat hooks and a pull chain light socket mounted to the wall inside. We intended on incorporating the existing tall double hung window in the new kitchen inside the pantry.
more "active" stone would have drawn the eye from the beauty of the cabinets. You'll notice in the pictures that we removed the large radiator under the picture window and installed a pair of Anderson Frenchwood Outswing doors with a transom window above. We didn't do this when we built the deck because there was the inevitability of the kitchen remodel and at that time we had no idea what size door we would ultimately want or what its final location would be. Now that the door is finally in it provides immediate access to the deck from the kitchen which was a great change for the family. While looking at the completion pictures you should notice the beautiful green marble slab under the wood stove. It was such an incredible finishing touch that adds tremendous character in a room already rich in appearance. We framed it with a 4" wide border of quartersawn white oak that trims it perfectly.
Here I am framing in the new French door opening.
Lighting is another area that I was concerned about so rather than randomly place lighting we brought in Rick Macomber of Macombers' Electric. Our client had a pretty good idea of what she wanted and we drew out a few configurations on the ceiling to study the options. The very first day Rick arrived the three of us reviewed all the pros and cons of what should go where and how it should be switched. Rick's expertise here was invaluable and he helped us solve many potential problems. The exchange of ideas brought us to the final solution that offers any kind of lighting ambiance desired.
One of the worst aspects of a kitchen remodel for the customer is the inconvenience of being without a kitchen! A kitchen renovation can go on as long as 8 to 12 weeks depending on the extent of the remodel. Where do you go during that time and how many take out and dining out meals can any family endure? This family was fortunate that they could setup a make shift kitchen in the dining room. They had all the necessities, paper plates, plastic cups, plastic silverware, laundry sink, hot plate and refrigerator (with the icemaker hooked up). This removed a lot of pressure from me and saved them a fortune in dining out expenses.
This was the beginning of the project after all the cabinets were removed and a layer of sheetrock was removed. We found lath and horse hair plaster behind the sheetrock which gave us an additional inch of room on both walls so all the cabinet dimensions were adjusted.
If you look at the plan for the project you'll notice that we added a half bath just outside the kitchen. With all the bathrooms in the house there wasn't one on the first floor so this new addition of convenience has been greatly appreciated. We reproduced the beadboard already in the kitchen and ran it around the walls of the bathroom. The floor is also quartersawn white oak to match the kitchen. Originally we had planned to have a broom cabinet near the entrance to the kitchen but realized that it just wouldn't fit. The solution was to insert a small broom cabinet in the half bath to keep the brooms near the kitchen. This worked out great.
Here is the light we found left inside the pantry wall.
As the project approached final completion it was a bitter-sweet experience for us at Haggett & Co. We had such a quality experience working on this kitchen that we knew we would miss being there. It was a great pleasure to have worked with this family from start to finish, detail to detail. Being completely involved in all the planning stages and to then see it through to completion has been very rewarding.
We had to break up the old hearth, which turned out to be 2" thick with cement and thick terra cotta tiles. It didnÕt come up easy!