the kitchenening, part zero


This is the original dining room of our Sears-built four square house. We put an addition on two years ago that includes a dining room, and since then this space has been mostly used for storage. We’re about to have it remodeled into a kitchen so I wanted to document how it used to be.

Above is the view looking west towards the front of the house and the doorway into the living room. We’ve got both rooms emptied out so that the living room can get a new ceiling at the same time (goodbye, crumbling stucco!) so please just imagine a couch and a stereo and a long coffee table full of books and knitting projects through there. This doorway is going to be closed off up to backsplash height, with a window opening left looking through. We’ll put a grillework into that opening later on, but it’s something we’re planning to make ourselves at the makerspace (link: Meta Makers Cooperative) to which we belong, so for now it’ll be finished off as an opening. Eventually there will be counter and lower cabinets across this whole wall, the fridge with cabinets above it on the left, upper cabinets (yellow!) to the right, and a high open shelf across the gap between them, above this opening.


Looking north, our beautiful window is one of the few original bits we’re keeping, along with the trim on the opposite wall door that faces the old kitchen, and the hardwood floor. We’ve opted to keep the original finish as is, even though it won’t match our teak finish lower cabinets, because we want to maintain its connection with the rest of our 1911 house.

This wall will also have counter along most of its length, with a gap for the stove towards the right and the sink centred below the window just as nature intended.


Looking east towards the back of the house, you can see the rough unfinished opening we left heading into the addition and our new dining room beyond. That doorway used to be a beautiful window with a bench seat where my houseplants went to die. The new room beyond it has eight windows and the plants now grow too quickly for me to keep up with. To the right of this doorway will be a floor-to-ceiling pantry in the slightly 1970s-ish yellow we’ve chosen for our upper cabinets.


To the south here’s a better look at the hideous fake brick that lines this corner where a wood stove was installed when we first bought the house 20 years ago. I go back and forth on which feature of this room I’m most looking forward to never seeing again, the stucco or this fake brick. I wish I had a photo to post of the pieces of mismatched marble (gray, black, and brick red) that were glued directly onto the hardwood under that stove. Most of those pieces got tossed into the pile of junk that got sealed up inside our concrete porch (RIP ugly marble chunks).

This wall will have a built-in bench against it, right from the door trim to the new pantry, where we’ll put a table. It’s going to be lovely to have room for a table in the kitchen again after 20 years, and I’m very much looking forward to having people over to play my family’s weird old German card game here. That doorway, which looks into the old kitchen, will also keep its original trim, breaking up the midcentury vibe of the new design but hey, that’s old houses.

We’ll clean up and repaint that iron grille over the heating vent, which will be underneath the bench. The front of the bench will be left open to accommodate it, so in winter whoever gets coldest (ahem, it’s not me, the middle-aged lady of the house) will be able to sit here and have heat directly onto their feet. At least until the cats find this cozy spot.


Here’s the current state of the floor in that corner, with glue blobs from the marble floor and finish burned off from the wood stove. For the time being we’re leaving the floor as it is, including this damage, because it’s part of the history of the house, I kind of love it, and most of it will be underneath the pantry, bench, and table anyway.

2 thoughts on “the kitchenening, part zero”

  1. You must have moved into this house just before I found your blog! I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out because you always have such a cool vision, I struggle to pick a paint colour,

    1. We bought the house in 2003 and I believe I started blogging in mid-to-late 2004, when I was in my last year of my BFA studies. We’ve made a lot of improvements already but this one is the most exciting because the kitchen in this house is BAD. We chose such a good designer and the way she made sense of our weird ideas and kooky preferences is amazing. This isn’t going to be any gleaming white showroom, that’s for sure. But, we too have difficulty with paint colours. Our M.O. is to talk about it for literally years and then make a snap decision that’s a 90° left turn from our original vision. Which is how we’re ending up with yellow cabinets, hah!

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