• Old House, New Kitchen

    Kitchen Remodel (17 of 24)

    I grew up in New York City but I’ve lived a large part of my adult life in suburbs, and ended up raising my boys in a beautiful Pacific Northwest suburb.

    Kitchen Remodel (8 of 24)

    All that changed in 2015—I outbid 12 others for the honor of paying way over asking price for a house in the city. Seattle is experiencing growth, and the housing market is low on inventory, making for a challenging real estate market for buyers.

    My new home is a 1928 stucco colonial, with a Mediterranian feel. Most of it’s original charm is untouched, including cove ceilings, lath and plaster walls, vintage crystal and brass doorknobs, picture rail molding, and other vintage artifacts. And of course the other stuff that comes with older homes, like knob and tube wiring and many layers of paint.

    The one room that was a mishmash of past renovations and fittings was the kitchen. It was small, awkwardly laid out, and suffered from various period add-ons. It was converted at some point from wood to electric and gas.

    Kitchen Remodel (24 of 24)

    I saw the renovation as an opportunity and a challenge, and it has been both. In between selling a house, renting an apartment, and finding a new house, I lost momentum, time, and space to test and write recipes. I relied on the tried and true, salads, and greek yogurt to get me through the days. I also started eating more chocolate to charge me through the work week. So I’m now in the process of reversing this course, slowly.

    I thought you might find it interesting to see some before and after photos. The kitchen is more long than wide, and has two entry ways, with one leading to a stairway that leads to the backyard and then around the bend to the basement.

    To make the space feel wider, the entry between the dining and kitchen was widened and the appliances and cabinets were placed along the outer walls, leaving the inner space open. I opted to have the white oak floors go across the room as opposed to the length of the house, in contrast to the vertical white oak floors in the others rooms in the house.

    The only appliance I saved was the dishwasher, a Miele slimline model. I’m in awe of this European high-effciency, space-saving appliance. It fits 10 place settings plus additional bowls and extras in almost half the size of a regularly-sized dishwasher.

    It’s frigid today and has been for the past two weeks, but as soon as it warms up I’m looking forward to planting a garden.

    Happy New Year!

    PS Here’s my Pinterest board I used for inspiration in designing the kitchen.

    Kitchen Remodel (1 of 24)

    My only compromise was to do away with the arch and coved ceiling in the back corners for the sake of space and light.

    Kitchen Remodel (5 of 24)

    Exposed attic, showing knob and tube wiring.

    Kitchen Remodel (4 of 24)

    Layers of old floor tile were removed.

    Kitchen Remodel (6 of 24)

    Knob and tube attached to a set of light switches.

    Kitchen Remodel (7 of 24)

    Widening the doorway made a great difference in perception of space inside and outside the kitchen.

    Kitchen Remodel (13 of 24)

    Brass and crystal door knobs are throughout the house.

    Kitchen Remodel (16 of 24)

    An original Sargent door handle, lock, and doorbell.

    Kitchen Remodel (10 of 24)

    Cabinets are in.

    Kitchen Remodel (23 of 24)

    I’m much happier with my new kitchen, and I’ve begun to cook again!

    Kitchen Remodel (12 of 24)

    For the first time in my life I own a professional range. I haven’t burnt anything! I’m in love.

    Posted in Interviews  |  32 Comments

    32 Responses to Old House, New Kitchen

    1. Karen Baldwin says:

      It’s just beautiful! What a ton of work, enjoy every moment cooking in such an amazing space.

    2. Mother B says:

      Beautiful kitchen!! I love the character and charm of your new house!!

    3. Natalie Chern says:

      Dear Erica,
      Thanks a lot for telling us about your new home!
      My best wishes for Happy New Year and a wonderful life there! I want to thank you one more time for your great books. I use both and never failed cooking according your recommendations.
      SCD 3.5 years

    4. Nan says:

      I love your stove! – please share the product information.
      Beautiful job on rehabbing the space!


      • Erica says:

        Thanks, Nan. The range is a 30-inch Fisher Paykel DCS range, just gas. It’s so simple and solid. And every burner has a simmer mode! http://www.dcsappliances.com I was torn between the Wolf, Viking, and this model, but honestly this seemed the cleanest design and has 3 gliding racks which I much prefer for baking. The Viking has had some recalls lately so that scared me off, and the Wolf didn’t have gliding racks. All three are in the $4k price range so I splurged big time. It weighs over 300 pounds though which I had no clue about until the installers came and moaned about it. :/

    5. Dianna says:

      Neat and tidy yea, you!

    6. Looks fabulous and welcome back to Blogland!
      I live in the PNW too – that makes it extra fun to read your posts. 🙂

    7. It’s beautiful! Congratulations!

    8. Luana says:

      Your kitchen is beautiful, and I love the range! I bet the finished result makes all the upheaval you went through worth it. I have the same color Le Crueset usually sitting on my range, too!

    9. Kathleen Czinner says:

      Hello Erica, congrats on your new home. What a marvelous job you’ve done with your kitchen. Wishing you lots of happy creative cooking. We’ll all reap the benefits of your delicious recipes.

    10. Karen says:

      Glad things are going well and you’re back cooking. Kitchen looks great! I’ve been wondering where you (and your recipes) disappeared to…… Looking forward to future posts.

    11. Brenda says:

      Congratulations on your new home and kitchen. I use your cookbook if not every day then every week. I am amazed that you have produced such amazing work!

    12. patty says:

      Gorgeous! What an adventure! I love the range too. It looks like it’s going to make cooking and baking a lot easier. Did you have to rent an apartment short-term while you looked for a house? We have a similar real estate situation in the Boston area and I’ve wondered about that — if I’d be able to find a short-term rental if I decided to sell and needed somewhere to live while looking. Congratulations on the move and the remodel.

      • Erica says:

        The rental market was not a whole lot better. The only short term rental I could find was in an apartment complex and it was expensive $$. I had a few options – 3, 6 or 12 month, but no matter which I chose I had to pay a 2 month penalty when I broke the lease. Good luck!

    13. Elizabeth says:

      What a transformation! It’s just lovely!

      I hear chocolate has restorative powers which during such upheaval is not all bad. 🙂

      Well done!

    14. tali says:

      Love the post and the kitchen and so happy for you! Great way to start the year. Wishing you wellness, joy and creative kitchen delights : 

    15. Ann says:

      Lovely Kitchen. Great decision on the horizontal orientation of the floor. Makes the space look so wide. I was curious as to the source of your cabinetry. Was it custom or otherwise?


      • Erica says:

        Thanks! The cabinetry is from Pius, a company in Seattle. They worked with me to create the design, and fit various size of cabinets based on the dimensions.

    16. Ann says:

      Hello Again, I forgot to ask about the Miele Washer. Are you still loving it? I wanted to add a second dishwasher but didn’t want to give up the space of a full size or take on the expense of a drawer washer(of which I’ve not heard good reviews)

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