Friday, January 25, 2013

Guest House: Kitchen & Fireplace


The old kitchen cabinet was a rectangular wood cabinet topped with peeling yellow Formica. To save money and resources, we decided to adapt the cabinet to a new farmhouse sink, install a wood counter, and add an under-counter refrigerator. 

This farmhouse sink is actually the second one we bought. The first one was too small and modern. So we opted to use one from the same company that had we used in our main house. 

You can see how the cabinet is slowly being adapted to the new sink. 

You can also see that I originally intended to use an antique French dish rack (which I LOVE) over the counter, but in the end it just didn't work. Due to the slope of the ceiling, the dish rack came out too far and interfered with the use of the refrigerator and counter. 

I am the kind of renovator that cannot move forward confidently without a lot of visual mock ups. Here, Mike created a fake counter so that I could get an idea of how the kitchen would look with a new ell. Also, he cut out a piece of fiberboard to mimic the size of the table we were thinking of using. 

The mock up also allowed us to determine where the new pendant light would go. This new light would replace the light over the sink which was removed when the new window was installed. 

Here, the new Ikea counters are in and the cabinet for the refrigerator has been built. We had to find just the right size of refrigerator (width, height and depth) to be able to run the cabinet surround evenly across from above the adjacent drawer. We wanted the refrigerator to look as built-in  as possible, so this detail was important to us. 

Once the cabinet was painted, it all started coming together. Here, the cabinet drawers and doors were removed so that we could fill old holes, paint and adhere new nickel-plated hinges. 

The last project on the 'to do' list was to build the electric fireplace. The depth and width was dictated by the size of the electric log heater, while not having the fireplace protrude into the room too much. Mike then built from there. 

He used our fireplace in the main house to determine a lot of the detail, although we decided to make it a much more simple design. 

When we were at Home Depot getting some supplies, I came across these shower tiles. They came in square packs and looked like small bricks. I thought it would be a good way to simulate a hearth. I suggested just throwing them down (I'm not the handy one in this house) but Mike gave me a look that said, "it might be a bit more involved than that." He gives me that look a lot. 

He did take a few short cuts just due to the nature of the installation (glued the tiles directly to the floor for instance) which did make it less involved than a proper tile installation. 


We bought a large sheet of faux brick paneling at Lowe's (it was a classic 60's-style red) that Mike cut down to fit in the firebox. After he spray painted it black, he came to me and said, "this is too black, don't you think?" 

I had to laugh because that was something usually I would say. I agreed of course, and so he repainted it in a grey black (you can see the difference between the two colors above). 


The opening has been cut out at this point, with the trim pieces installed. The hearth is nearly complete, with just the faux-brick installation remaining. 

I'll post after photos next! I thought I'd share the renovation phase first for those who are interested in the process of it all. 

Country Living AFTER photos. 

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