It’s me! Orlando! Writing from the safe confines of my parents’ house! I have some super sad news though. I HAVE TO LEAVE ON SUNDAY AND I AM FREAKING OUT. Sadly, work calls in LA. I’ve had to go down a few times since I came up here to #livewithmyparents but now I have weeks of shoots/meetings so I gotta go stay in my own house (IN MY OWN BED!) for a while. Please feel free to feel super sorry for me. I’ve had literally the best time up here hanging with my parents and my siblings, their partners, and my niece and nephew when they’re around (I hope you’ve been following on my dumb Insta stories). Oh, and I’m pretty much done with my book. Just some editing left and like a million design decisions but it’s the fun part now, not the crazy existential part where you’re like WHY AM I WRITING A BOOK?? DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE SENSE???
Okay, so onto today’s topic of conversation. I’M RENOVATING MY PARENTS’ KITCHEN! Bertazzoni, the incredible family-owned Italian appliance company, reached out to me about doing a collaboration and I immediately thought about my parents. They moved a few years ago and their kitchen needs an overhaul (read the whole sob story about it over on my blog today).
Here’s what the kitchen looks like now:
It’s right next to the family room. This is the room we all hang out in and watch TV and talk about our feelings. It’s a great space but the kitchen definitely lacks in terms of storage and is definitely not the kind of room anyone wants to spend any time in. It’s super dark (there’s like one light in there and at night you can’t see anything at night). My mom loves cooking and we do many a family holiday there, so this kitchen gets used A LOT. My brother lives about 20 minutes away and my sister and I are over here all the time, so this kitchen gets a lot more use than you’d imagine for a house only two people live in. Well, two people and sometimes their grown up adult male son.
For my whole life, my parents have had a tiny kitchen. It’s always been something that annoyed my mom. I don’t want to pretend this is like the biggest hardship ever or anything, the current kitchen is fine. But my parents gave me a pretty great life, “fine” isn’t good enough. So, the goal with this project is not only to upgrade their appliances but to completely transform the entire space from a tiny blah kitchen to a luxury chef’s kitchen my parents can enjoy. I want it to be a space they can hang out in. And that we can all gather in when we’re around. So I want to transform it from a little nook for cooking to an actual room with some gravitas.
The most expensive part of the renovation is going to be expanding the kitchen onto a deck that is right outside the kitchen/family room (see full house plans, including how we’re expanding, over on my blog). To be honest, I got sticker shock when I found out how expensive this project was going to be. The bid from the contractor came in over 100K and that doesn’t include the appliances and finishes I’m getting sponsored, which will likely add another $50K if not more. Kinda makes the $23,000 kitchen renovation nightmare I was whining about sound like pennies.
Finding a contractor was insanely difficult up here, as for some reason everyone we called was super busy and had very little interest/hunger for work. Sonoma County, where my parents live now, is getting more and more expensive by the day because of its proximity to the Bay Area and the absolutely insane real estate of San Francisco. It’s a very desirable place to live and apparently there’s a lot of rich people up here waving money at contractors, because every contractor we met with was like “I CAN HELP YOU IN 2018” (we were having these meetings in February). We finally found a great contractor we liked after meeting with about a million, so hoping to break ground in the next few weeks.
Okay, so here’s what we’re doing. On the left is the existing small kitchen, and on the right is the deck. The plan is to expand the kitchen all the way to that exterior wall to square off the room and make the kitchen almost twice its current size. I have no idea why the architect who built the house didn’t do that in the first place. In my opinion the simplest answer is usually the best one. Not sure why the room is this weird shape…
The general design plan involves a peninsula extending from the exterior wall into the room. We thought about making this an island but the layout of the adjacent family room would make the space between the island and the wall a bit useless (I’ll explain this in a subsequent post about planning the family room, which I’m also doing a light update on). We’re still working out the exact style/configuration of the island but this shows the general idea.
I’m also playing with different chair and lighting options, because we now have this amazing, glamorous breakfast bar that I know is going to be the most popular place to hang out in the house. SCROLL DOWN AND TELL ME WHICH ONES YOU LIKE!
My design plan really started with this Bertazzoni range, which I fell in love with the minute I saw it. It’s definitely more ornate and complicated than any range I’ve ever used, but I think it’s just lovely. I got to tour the factory in Italy and it was totally magical. The range is the centerpiece of the room, so I’m happy that this one looks like a beautiful Italian work of art.
Obviously you can’t have a house in Sonoma County, America’s wine basket (bottle?) without a wine fridge. I chose this glamorous double-doored option from Summit because it can store seventy bottles of wine and I loved the simple design and wooden pull out drawers. I also liked the double doors because you can have one side for red, one for white. EVERYONE WINS! Just thinking about that wine is making me happy right now.
The existing windows all over the house were just replaced with simple white windows, so we’re going to match those in the kitchen. I’m excited about all the added light these are going to bring in. The large picture window above the sink will be a casement window that opens outward, the perfect place to zone out while you do the dishes.
You guys, SURFACES! This is one of my favorite parts of designing a kitchen. I wanted them to be pretty, light, and easy to maintain (my parents are no-fuss kinda people). The backsplash is from Fireclay, a fun pattern called Hexite (the color is Crater Lake). The floor is lovely, warm grey concrete tile from Rustico Tile (the color is Clam). I looked at a million countertop options before finally settling on a simple white one from Cambria (the color is White Cliff). The overall color scheme is pretty pale and washed out. Blue is my mom’s favorite color so it’s the accent amongst mostly neutrals.
Okay, one final thing I want you to weigh in on before I let you go. HARDWARE CHOICES! If it were me, I would just go brass. I love brass hardware in a kitchen and think it’s a way to add warmth and a bit of color. BUT my mom’s not as into brass. She initially wanted chrome (or nickel or any silver finish) but also expressed interest in black. She seems to be fine with brass for lighting, but was less into it for sink and cabinet hardware. Anyway, WHAT DO YOU THINK???
I’m hoping we start demo in a few weeks. My goal for this was to be done with this project by my mom’s birthday, which is September 27, so keep your fingers crossed for that. The contractor said it was a six week project, so I’m expecting about two months or more, but you never know. I always tell clients to double the time estimate a contractor tells them. I’m just antsy to see something happen. Like even if it’s just someone coming over and kicking a wall down and then leaving.
And GET EXCITED! I’ll be sharing updates on demo, construction, and further design conundrums here and on my blog, Hommemaker. Bye!