Monday, October 02, 2006

After All........

Since I know you've spent the entire weekend in suspense, wondering what the after pictures of the kitchen look like...........wait no longer. Below is the same view of the same corner of the kitchen as the before picture from friday's post. Little different, huh? And you see how the mauve and teal pineapples would have been all wrong with my dishes, right??? The melange green room you see through the left door is the playroom-which is the very center of the chaos, er, I meant to say the center of our house, of course. And the windows and french doors you see in the kitchen open into the brick, screened-in, southern style patio.

Read on below, as I've copied in red text all the writing (and more pictures) that I sent to BHG as my official entry. I figured if I wrote my kitchen description in mag-lingo they would pick me, because it would just make their job sooo easy when to go to write the feature. Right?? Thought so.

As you can see in the before picture, the original kitchen was only half useful for a family of seven, because of the peninsula dividing the room in half. Although there was room for a breakfast table in front of the sliding door, it wasn't a table that would fit all of us. It also made it very difficult to use the door when there was a table right up against it. So that space in front of the door was essentially unused. We also have 2 acres of wonderful open and wooded yard that we couldn't see because it was completely obstructed by the wall. You could see through the sliding door, but only to the immediate left wall of the porch.....not the view we were looking for!

The new layout above encompasses the entire room for all of its functions, cooking, eating, visiting, and watching the kids play outside. We completly tore down the outer wall and rebuilt it to have french doors in the center and 2x6 windows on either side. Now we have a great view of all the happenings in the patio and outside all from the perch at the sink.........or anywhere in the room. It sort of feels like the patio and the kitchen became one space, and the light that comes through is wonderful.

We did find that it was too difficult to put 7 chairs around the island, so we opted for 5, as I didn't want to sacrifice the size of the counter for food prep and buffet style serving. These 5 stools suit our weekday schedule perfectly since the 5 kidos are on 3 different school schedules and breakfast is served in shifts. For dinner and weekend meals we are ususally gathered around the 10ft farm table in the dining room or the park style picnic table on the porch. I love having the kids saddle up to the island to do their homework or color while I cook dinner.

When we first moved into this house in May of 2004, we knew we would eventually remodel the kitchen. After patiently living in it for two years, we learned more what we wanted, how we used the space and therefore how we should do the redo! As with so many kitchens, there were several doors coming into it and they got tough to design around. So we just decided to eliminate two of them! We eventually figured out that we could reroute the traffic to my studio (left door in before picture) out of the kitchen and through the dining room (right door in before picture) where it could also go across the landing at the top of the garage stairs (center door in before picture).

The new shiny fridge sits in the spot where the studio door and the garage door used to meet. We also opened up the dining room entrance by about 18" which really modernizes, connects and enlivens the two spaces. Our old, yucky, carpeted garage stairs that used to hide behind the door are now rebuilt and painted with porch paint and are open to the rest of the house. We relocated the door to the garage to the bottom of the stairs.

Keeping all the cooking at counter height or below is awesome and lets me have a bigger counter space. The center drawer to the left of the oven is actually a warming drawer in disguise. We even put the microwave under the counter to the right of the that grubby little hungry hands can push the popcorn button without teetering on top of a stool.

Here's Isabela enjoying a quiet moment out on the patio. There are a few more deatil shots and nooks to share in the coming days. I certainly hope you've enjoyed reveling in the redo so far. It was so much hard work and planning and definitely stressful at times. One thought that sticks out to me when I look back on the experience is something that has nothing to do with any physical, financial or even artistic element of the kitchen.......but its this little happening:

The first day of having Geoff (wonderfully talented builder) and his workers Pat and Peter (wonderfully kind men) all here drilling, sawing, and doing other incredibly loud things, happened to be the last day of the kids winter break. The workers showed up at about 6 am and I was still in pajamas even though I swore to myself I would make an effort to get up really early and be really ready for them, dressed, brushed teeth and everything.

Well I muscled through it, trying to keep all the little ones out of their way, trying to keep the baby (Eleni, 2) from being terrified of power drills and laying down with her an extra long time at naptime so she could sleep over the noise. I spent alot of time with the kids, cooking them lunch in my campsite kitchen in the dining room, playing with all their new Christmas toys, even letting the boys (Nicolas 8, Joseph 6) kill me at round after round of Monkey Ball on their new Game Cube, laughing their heads off. I sort of felt like the whole day was squandered just trying to manage the cold hard facts of no kitchen, 3 workers and 5 kids. It crossed my mind that these guys must think I am such a nesty little homebody and that I have no life outside daily domestication. But on their way out after a long work day, Geoff said the kindest, simplist, greatest thing I've ever heard. He said, speaking for himself and his workers, "we all decided we wanted to grow up in your family".

I don't think he has any idea what that meant to me, what it still means to me and how I've sometimes used that as a scale for balancing the work, the home, and the family. There I was, feeling as though I had the bare minimum to take care of everyone, and it turned out it was still more than I needed to keep everyone happy. Its also a good reminder not to let the beauty around me exceed the beauty within me.

After all, thats the good part. xoxo,AnnaMaria


  1. I LOVE it Anna Maria! What a transformation! You have got to win with that one! It is lovely! I am so glad you shared the new pictures:)

  2. Anonymous1:05 PM

    wow, this is amazing!! loved how it all come together.girl ,you've got
    so glad i found this blog.
    ~danni p

  3. Your kitchen is amazing! It's the kind of kitchen I've always wanted but never knew I did!

    Love your blog…ps you look way too young and fresh to have 5! kids!

  4. Anonymous9:46 PM

    I'm so glad to see you finally have a blog! I love your work and website. I heard that you live in Nashville--me too! Can't wait to see and hear what you're working on. Happy blogging!

  5. LOVE your kitchen!
    You have got to win! But wait, you sorta have... cuz you get to enjoy your kitchen every day!
    Keep posting!

  6. Anonymous10:44 PM

    I love the transformation. It is gorgeous. I love the colours you use together. It makes your house look like a happy place!

  7. Anonymous4:22 PM

    those before photos are just hideous! so bible belt! well done


  8. Anonymous11:15 PM

    Who painted the gorgeous painting in your kitchen?

  9. I love your blog, I love your new kitchen (wow!) and I love that construction worker's comment. Truly, I can see how that meant the world to you. What a wonderful post.
    who is having the best time reading through old posts