Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kitchen Appliances!

One of the more interesting (and difficult) things we've tackled in our kitchen design is selecting new appliances that integrate with the vintage Thermador ovens and cooktop we found on Craigslist.

The cooktop is huge and has a built in griddle (for all those pancake breakfasts I plan to make... I don't know what it is about this cooktop that makes me think I'm June Cleaver and want to buy bulk packages of bacon!) The cooktop is in amazing shape, plus it came with a second cooktop (brand new still in the box). It's huge and will be a definite focal point of the new kitchen.

The matching double ovens (that's right we have TWO) will sit side by side next to the huge cooktop. It will be an impressive wall of Thermador bliss. Naturally, new appliances pale in comparison, but we had to find a dishwasher, refrigerator and microwave that would blend in and not break the bank.

Last year our dishwasher died. We replaced it with a
Bosch 24" Integra 800. It's simple lines and stainless steel front sit flush with the cabinets. It is really nice and nearly silent. My only complaint is that is does not have a dry feature... so our cheap plastic dishes are always wet and need to be towelled off when we put them away. This model has the hidden control panel and in my book is considered "expensive"... so we are keeping it in the new kitchen.

The refrigerator was a challenge. I want. I want. I want a built in refrigerator that completely integrates into the wall. I can't. I can't. I can't possibly justify an appliance that costs as much as a moderately priced car. RRRRRRR. Plus, every appliance dealer has advised us to stay away from the built ins. (I guess the compressor on the top can be a real problem.) With the cooktop, ovens, and dishwasher all stainless steel we were pretty locked in to finding a nice, reasonably priced stainless fridge.
I'm a side by side fridge girl... not real excited about the french door design with the pull out freezer that is so popular with the kids these days. Everyone I know who has one loves it, but it's not for me. So with a short criteria list in hand—stainless, side-by-side, ice/water in door, energy efficient, counter depth—we headed down to Riegelmann's, the local appliance store in old town Gresham. AND there it was... love at first sight. I instantly knew that was our fridge.

A beautiful
Electrolux Icon side by side with a big ding on the side... and marked way down. Everything works and it has a full warrenty, but that little ding knocked over $600 off the price. The fridge will be encased in cabinets, so the flaw will never be seen once it is install. We particularly like all the metal accents (not plastic) in the water/ice panel and the freezer baskets. This thing is built to last.

The new kitchen design has the microwave tucked out of sight from the main galley—around the corner in the lower cabinet that faces the breakfast nook. Since we typically ONLY use the microwave for melting butter, cheese quesadillas and popcorn it made sense to put it where the kids could easily use it—next to the TV room. After receiving a tip from one of our blog followers, we are very excited to add the Sharp Microwave Drawer to our appliance "must have" list.

I have yet to see this in person, but I will be hunting for a floor model in the Portland area to test out. (I've gotta kick the tires before simply purchasing online.)

The last (and certainly not least) appliance for this kitchen project is the
TCC Kitchen Center. This is the slickest thing I've seen in all my appliance research.

The basic power base (similar to the NuTone counter power unit) mounts right in the counter top. It has several attachments—blender, food processor, mixer, etc—which eliminates the need for several small appliances. Including this in the design adds the "kitchen of the future" final touch!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cabinets and Microwaves

Kitchen Update: Cabinet guy came out Wednesday morning (early) and took initial measurements. We discussed the cabinet style, hardware and wood finish. I think he's got a grasp of what we want. Can't help but worry when we get a lot of "this is a difficult project" and "if you want that it will cost more." I had mini anxiety attacks all day yesterday. Is this normal?

On a more exciting note, one of our followers sent us a link to an under counter drawer-style microwave. (Thanks Scott!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The plan... as of today.

The kitchen project seems a little daunting to our DIY skills, so we hired the expert builders at Home Makers of Oregon to help us. Our contractor, Mary Tongue, is amazing and understands exactly what we are looking for... which is HUGE because our ideas are not the typical "Tuscan-villa, granite drenched" designs so typical in today's kitchen remodel projects. We showed her our inspiration photos, discussed functionality, materials, and focused on how to blend modern appliances with our vintage finds. She brought in Kathy Fuller from Fuller Spaces to work up the final kitchen design, and we couldn't be more thrilled with how she transferred our ideas into one unified design... she even worked in side-by-side double ovens into our small space. Yay!

This is the elevation layout from Fuller Spaces:

With this I was able to draw up a new floorplan and perspective elevation. We made a couple of measurement adjustments (those silly beams really get in the way), but the basic design is the same.
Note from Steve- Dig Haley's mad Illustrator skillz! She's working on a living color version of the perspective elevation... the plan is sliding frosted glass doors on top, birch doors on the bottom (I wanted those to be sliding, too... but I think this design works just fine), white countertops (Formica today, maybe solid surface white later), white-ish VCT on the floor (matches the loggia), and happy people milling about. We're still not clear on what to do with the backsplash above the sink. Maybe mosiac tiles in mostly white with a random color here and there? hmmmm

Our new design includes unique features inspired by original Eichler/Rummer kitchen designs and Case Study #22's kitchen. Overall, we are pleased that the design appears to be a nice blend of then and now without losing functionality. Here is a quick punch list of a few specific features we are excited about:

1. Vintage Thermador double ovens and cooktop with built in griddle. Thank you Craigslist!
2. Built in spice cabinet above the cooktop with sliding doors. A common feature in Eichler/Rummer kitchens.
3. Electrolux Icon counter depth side-by-side refrigerator (built-in look without the built-in cost)
4. Microwave stainless trim package tucked away at the end of cooktop cabinet (with drawer underneath for popcorn!)
5. Wall between dining room and kitchen removed with pass through bar
6. Raised lower cabinets (stainless legs)
7. Remove walk-in pantry to allow more counter space
8. Floor to ceiling pantry cabinets (next to refrigerator and office nook)
9. Sliding frosted glass doors on upper cabinets
10. Up-lighting and down-lighting on upper cabinets (hidden as much as possible)
11. Built-in kitchen center by TCC (very similar to NuTone food center)
12. VCT flooring
13. White laminate countertops
14. Birch cabinets
15. Vintage drawer pulls (or cool ones from Rejuvenation)
16. Built-in office nook (lots of storage)
17. ...and ball lights, of course!

We haven't said much about the family room, but in a nutshell it will have VCT tile that matches the kitchen, new trim, and a media cabinet of some kind (I'm thinking maybe an Eichler/Rummer "coffin" style cabinet mounted low on the wall, or something cool from Kerf or maybe IKEA).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The tragic BEFORE photos

This is our kitchen. These photos were taken by the previous owner before we bought the house and for the most part still looks pretty much the same today. The view from the loggia looks through the kitchen, out the glass wall/slider and into the green space on the side of the house... too bad the huge breakfast bar peninsula add-on blocks it! (Note: see previous post on lattice removal!)

This pic was taken from the opening of the office nook. You'll notice that there is something of a pass-thru over the cooktop into the dining room. That opening will be enlarged and those over-cooktop-cabinets will be removed. The microwave lives in a hole above the oven.

To the left (where the plant shelf is) was originally a doorway from the family room into the dining room. It was closed off for some reason. Since this photo we have opened it up again and plan on keeping it that way. The Italian tile will be replaced with VCT as in the loggia (maybe with a color added... maybe not).

This picture of the family was taken from the same spot as the above pic. (Note the hanging plant shelf that is now the location of a re-opened doorway into the dining room.) No that's NOT our big-honking TV. We'll be hanging a flat screen on the wall above where that couch is. Since most of the other living areas are predominantly Danish or at least warmer, I think we'll try to make this space have a more modern look with with some steel, some brighter colors, a FLOR floor covering... y'know, sleeker. The beams will be re-painted Oxford Brown (of course) and I think something needs to happen with that unsupported beam intersection, it just looks weird to me. Those two elCheapo light fixtures will be replaced with
ball lights similar to what's in the hallway. The breakfast bar/peninsula will go away as well, restoring the feel of the original galley style kitchen and making room for our Burke breakfast table & chairs.

Here's a better view of the peninsula and the sink area. See how the sink and shelf above it are not centered in relationship to each other and in relationship to the overhead beam? This drives Haley bonkers. Those funky fluorescent lights will be replaced with more
ball lights. This is the wall that we are hoping will be most inspired by the kitchen in Case Study House #23... but as you'll note, we don't exactly have a breathtaking view of the LA Basin. Hmmmm.... (in fact, the garage is on the other side of that wall... there will be no window there, only backsplash).

Here's a close up of the existing cooktop and the pass-thru into the dining room. This will be enlarged... a lot. Also the
Thermador cooktop we picked up on Craigslist will replace the Jen-Air. It's actually a good cooktop and we've enjoyed the BBQ grill feature but it's white, and it's gotta go.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Let the great kitchen re-do begin!

Yup, it's true. After living here for 2 1/2 years and collecting ideas for the kitchen, we are ready to dive in and rip out the non-original, 80's- oak kitchen in our Rummer. Luckily, we have found loads of inspiration from blogs and books about Rummer and Eichler kitchen restorations. (Note: I've been collecting photos for nearly 3 years and can't remember where we've snagged these from, so if any of these beautiful kitchens belong to you please write in and tell us your story and we'll give you photo credit! Thanks.)

This is the ultimate inspiration kitchen... Case Study House #22! If I could pick this up and plop it right down in our space, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But since that is not a possibility nor legal (I'm sure someone would miss it!), we'll have to recreate the elements we like and try to keep the feel of the original Rummer home while adding some modern functionality. It's a fine line we walk here...

Here are a few examples of things we love and want to incorporate into our kitchen. I'm hoping that our final kitchen will be a mixture of all of these with a few added surprises of our own.

Here is a view of a typical, fairly stock Eichler/Rummer kitchen with the section of wall between the stove and the dining room removed.
On this one we like the traditional ball lights and the use of frosted glass on the upper cabinets.
Really like how the cabinets are lifted off the floor with simple metal legs. Don't know how practical this is, but it reminds me of the kitchen in Case Study #22.
We're not crazy about everything in this one, but do check out the tapered supports for the counter bar. Do you think we could incorporate this on the bar between the kitchen and dining room? Hmmmm.
OK, this is a strange one, but we need to add extra lighting above the cooktop... what do you think of a track lighting options? I could live with it as long as it was really subtle and hidden behind a beam.
Like this, period. White floors, green counter top, vintage oven and cooktop, glass upper cabinets, built-in fridge look, but lose the flower-power throw rug. Nuff said!
This is nearly the exact layout of our new kitchen design (sans the open shelves and window above the sink.) Interesting lighting effect waaaay down there over the fridge. Not sure if I love the whole bump-out lighting effect, but we desperately need more light at that end of the kitchen.
NOTE: These are FADO 14" ball lights from IKEA. We started with these in the loggia & hallway, but Steve shortened ours for better head clearance, painted 'em black and replaced the teacup bases with flatter ones.