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Our Ladera Heights Kitchen Remodel

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The full remodel of our midcentury Ladera Heights home is complete and I can now walk you through the scope we covered this past summer through a series of blog posts. Yay. Starting with the kitchen, which in my opinion went through a stunning transformation. It wasn't the most complicated part of the remodel for us, but we didn't have a functioning kitchen for about 3 months. So when it came online, it felt like a BIG DEAL. 

 Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

 Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

 Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Its hard to tell what is going on from the photos but the "Before" included a partial wall that enclosed the kitchen and blocked it from view with a groovy bar height counter and overhead cabinets with the smallest peek through to the kitchen. The architectural ingenuity of the house was obstructed by the shades and the dark wood cabinets that were beat. The full size refrigerator at the entry into the kitchen wasn't helping either. Due to the wall's location it created a too small informal dining area near the fireplace. It just felt crowded and wrong. When we walked the Open House, I was praying no one else would really notice the exposed beams in the dirty ceiling hiding underneath the noise, just waiting to be revealed. I blindly thought I was the only one. Ha.

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I knew I would demolish the partition wall and open everything up so that the large window and beams could shine. Google Sketch Up is a wonderful tool for playing around with sizes and mass until you get everything just right. The sink location stayed put to avoid plumbing reconfiguration but I swapped the location of the refrigerator and the gas stove. This meant I had to extend the structural wall separating the kitchen from the den by about 5' to make it all work. In place of the wall, a new low central island now sits. 

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First up was demolition. Getting the kids involved with a few hammer swings helped them feel more connected to the house. Even though they were wearing the totally wrong shoes for the job.

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Waiting for the walls to get patched, then the ceiling and walls painted, then the wood floors installed while the custom cabinetry was in production felt interminable. All this happened over the course of 4-6 weeks which isn't terrible but feels terrible when you are using a toaster oven, microwave, and coffee maker in your living room as your main source of provisions. 

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The day the cabinetry went in was a happy day. But we still had countertops to measure for and fabricate. Tile back splash after the counters. Appliances to deliver and install before we could call it a functioning kitchen. Its a process for sure. 

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Our builder had guys cycling through to every part of the house at this time so sadly the backsplash tile got effed up because no one was "owning" this portion, if you know what I mean. They rushed the grout and didn't do a good job of cleaning it out of the textured tile before they sealed it. It looked dirty and terrible close up. I was heartbroken and had them rip it out and redo it :( Which delayed things a little longer and cost a little more. Oh well, if I'm going to live with it for years and years, I did not want to stare at a bad tile/grout job and get upset about it over and over again every time I was in the kitchen. Which is A LOT.

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At last, my beautiful kitchen was complete in early August. I did shiplap accent on the island front that mimics the accent wall we did in the master bedroom and dining room. But here, I painted it in semi-gloss dark grey for durability. The window and architectural beams are accentuated because we have no upper cabinets installed. I could get away with that since there is a walk in pantry close by to hold all those items.

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On the other side of the island I have my dishes and a wall oven and that great view of the original lava rock hearth.

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Everything feels more open and bright with the minimal white oak cabinets and white Ceaserstone countertop. I did modern woven pendant lights in two different shapes and one of my signature vintage Persian rug to give the room earthiness and warmth. 

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I was never going to do upper cabinets, but I really couldn't do them on this blank wall because of how the window met the wall. Instead, I was saving this wall space for a large piece of art and I knew I found it when I saw Denise Crew's Big Magic.

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Opposite the art wall we have our range and built in hood with wabi sabi floating shelf to the left. We went with Bosch appliances which I felt were a step up from the Frigidaire and GE appliances I was used to, without being absurdly expensive. I'm really happy with them all so far.

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Along with my annotated drawings and renderings, this was the design board I gave my builder to guide him in what we were hoping to accomplish. I feel like it helps them to see the big picture and understand what the concept is before they start the mechanics of building out the space. I think we nailed it and this kitchen is the perfect fit for taking our midcentury house into this century thoughtfully.

Natalie Myers1 Comment