Delicious meals are prepared in your kitchen and you can spend quality time with the family. Running to the Kitchen’s Gina Matsoukas transformed the kitchen into a brighter and more vibrant space with The Home Depot. Check out their entire remodeling process and the new device that modernized their kitchens.
After living in our house for 10 years and having to spend the whole day in the kitchen halfway through my career, we finally bit the ball and decided to renovate. The dark cherry cabinets that closed off the room on either side of the kitchen had to go. In order to maintain the open feeling and additional light that came first on my list of priorities, a large structural wall had to fall. It was a big undertaking (and if I never see a microwave again it will be too early), but many months later the room is exactly as I imagined it to be: bright, light and airy. It is the perfect balance between function and aesthetics.
The kitchen is in the middle of the house. The only window above the sink faces east. The dark cherry wood cabinets and the wall that separated them from the south facing formal dining room (right in this picture) were a very dark room. On a rainy day it would be pitch black in the kitchen in the afternoon!
The “must-have” list was long. I thought if we did this renovation and spent all the money it would be exactly what I wanted. But in the end there were really only four things that mattered most:
- Remove the wall that separates the dining room
- Upgrade to 36-inch dual-fuel cooker with hood
- White closets
- Fewer wall units
Remove the wall-separating dining room
Removing this wall was not an easy task. It was an essential structural part of the house. It was not just support beams at the place where they originally stood (hidden in a soffit clad with ship hatches), but also Another Support beams and structure posts in the basement below to distribute the load correctly. This part required cutting through our concrete slab foundation, which resulted in quite a mess!
Almost half of the renovation time was devoted to this important task. While the demo lasted only one day, progress seemed to stall for weeks as all the “boring” structural work was done.
The moment it was removed, with the beams and the temporary walls, I knew it was worth every penny. The extensive Mediterranean light from the dining room now flowed into the kitchen area.
Upgrade to 36 ”dual fuel range with ventilation hood
As a food blogger, recipe developer and freelance food photographer, I’m in the kitchen all day. A professional range of gas and electric stoves was very important to me. After never cooking with gas in my whole life, I can finally do this with this renovation.
The old kitchen had a 30-inch area with a microwave above it, like most standard kitchens do. I knew I wanted a hood over the new stove. This raised a new question in the renovation and one that I didn’t know would become such a big part of the project. Where’s the microwave going?
A drawer microwave
Drawer microwaves were a new concept for me. When I initially planned the renovation, I assumed that we would either install just a countertop microwave or a small microwave in the lower cabinets. I had never heard of drawer microwaves.
After a lot of research and back and forth movements as to whether the investment for such a small device was worthwhile, we decided on a stainless steel microwave drawer. There are some competitive models on the market. But I liked the sleek, unbranded look and easy-open function.
The control panel opens at an angle so that the buttons are easy to read, and can be pushed flat with the device when not in use to achieve a nice, clean, minimal appearance.
I was concerned that the automatic opening and closing would bother me or that the interior space of 1.2 cubic feet might be too small. After months of use, however, neither was a problem. In fact, surprisingly, the microwave has become one of my favorite things to do when renovating.
It fits so well into the finished room. It has a professional appearance, but is remote and somehow forgotten. The guests even saw the new room and asked where the microwave was!
The newly found light from the dining room was inherently exciting, but choosing white cabinets brightened the room even more.
We chose a cabinet brand in full overlay quality that works with a local company and patiently guided me through all design iterations to really make the final space more visible.
In addition to the brightening effect, I think it’s great how the white cabinets go well with all cladding work and accents in the house. The contrast to the dark wooden floors also makes me so happy that we decided on the simplicity of white.
Fewer wall units
By default, removing the wall to the dining room forced the final design to have fewer wall units. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate some natural elements into wooden shelves instead of just closets alone.
Getting the recovered floating wooden shelves from a local wood restoration company was an entertaining experience. Everything was tailored specifically for the room. I love how they open the area around the kitchen window. It is also something special to know the old building they come from and that they are unique only in our room.
We decided not to replace / enlarge the kitchen window during the renovation. Using shelves instead of cabinets on both sides had a big impact on how big the window feels.
We also opted for a glass front for one of the cabinets on the left side of the kitchen, where there is more upper material. This is said to help interrupt the flow and keep the airy feeling.
The other part that I love about the decision not to have closets by the window is how much more you can see of the backsplash tile with the floating shelves.
I never thought that choosing the backsplash tile would be such a difficult decision, but frankly it was the only one that I struggled with the most during the entire renovation. It was tiring to choose something that was “fun” but not “too fun” as it could possibly look out of date in a few years!
Finally, I chose a concave hexagonal white shiny tile that I absolutely adore. The way the light is reflected from the concave three-dimensional aspect is the perfect amount of “fun” that I was looking for while still having a timeless shape and color.
Our new open kitchen
The renovation was exhausting in many ways. Including the part where the wooden floors had to be refinished twice in the entire first level of the house, which was a week-long process each time. However, the result was more than worth it.
Working with The Home Depot on the purchase of the microwave was a welcome change in the crazy decision-making process of the four-month project. I was able to go to my shop and answer all my questions about the drawer microwave. I order online and have it delivered directly to my home. Its functionality has been perfectly integrated into the design and flow of the new kitchen space.
The kitchen is a room where I work all day. It is really a place I like to spend time now.