Kitchen Reno

Rainy Day Reflections

Kitchen Reno

Nine years ago, on the September day Hurricane Kyle was upgraded from a tropical storm and blew in from Bermuda, Mark and I were married on Portland’s Great Diamond Island. Watching the weather forecasts inch closer to “100 percent chance of precipitation” during the week before the event, I fell into a deep despair. How […]

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The Reveal

Kitchen Reno

Last Saturday — precisely four weeks after Mark and his brother demoed our kitchen — Ben and Mike put in a 10-hour day and largely wrapped up the renovation. Once again, they had plenty of help: Here’s how things looked before and after: Note how we used to use the top and sides of the refrigerator […]

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Stealing the Show

Kitchen Reno

For my first job after college, I worked at In Style magazine in New York as an editorial assistant — a role that encompassed answering phones, ordering lunch, fact-checking, writing short pieces, and covering celebrity events. At 23, I didn’t excel at these tasks, and routinely hung up on callers when attempting to connect them, […]

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Progress Report

Kitchen Reno

I have never created a space of my own. In the apartments I’ve inhabited, and in our current home, I’ve decorated, of course, but when it comes to the layout and structural components of a room, I’ve largely lived with other people’s decisions. And so, after Ben and Mike spent 12 hours on Saturday installing […]

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A Clean Slate

Kitchen Reno

So this happened over the weekend: Mark and his brother pulled everything out of our kitchen, revealing the second-floor joists and planked subfloor, along with layers of wallpaper and an adorable vintage flue cover I’d never seen before: Meantime, I spent the weekend on an emotional seesaw, alternating between giddy excitement about the new space and […]

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New Direction

Kitchen Reno

Before I got distracted with kids’ birthday cakes, Ben presented us with a revised kitchen plan! Reimagined without faux posts and beams, the room now incorporates solid upper cabinets on the western wall, as well as the open shelving I wanted. Losing the supports allows us to mount three 9-inch-diameter pendants over our 7 ¼-foot-long […]

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Back to the Drawing Board

Kitchen Reno

Periodically, I have to be reminded that I don’t live in a centuries-old farmhouse. Although I like to imagine our family in a Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn type of place on acres of land, we have chosen to live in Portland for the convenience and the community we have found here. (How […]

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Fits and Starts

Kitchen Reno

The other thing that happened during our initial meeting with Ben and Mike was we began getting really excited about our kitchen. The first design we solicited from a different company was beautiful, but didn’t ultimately seem workable for us. For example, the windowed china cabinet I wanted for storing glassware was positioned next to […]

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On Babies and Budgets

Kitchen Reno

Mark and I have a tendency to catastrophize in times of stress. One example: when our kids, who were both spectacularly bad sleepers as babies, would wake up hourly during the night, our bleary conversations usually went something like, It’s never going to get better! I know, it’s not! Clearly we’re doing something wrong. Right, […]

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First World Problems

Kitchen Reno

As I’ve mentioned, our kitchen has infuriatingly little cabinet and counter space for a room of its size—290 square feet thanks to a wall that was knocked down sometime before we owned the house. The storage squeeze has led to some desperate organizational measures on my part, such as converting a broom closet in the […]

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