Kitchen Reno

Maine kitchen

A Renovation Revisited

Kitchen Reno

It’s been a little over five months since we wrapped up our kitchen remodel and the space has been working so well, I sometimes worry that I’m taking it for granted. I have scarcely given a second thought to decisions I questioned and/or agonized over during the design process, such as incorporating open shelving (it’s so handy to have our everyday dishes there), opting for mostly white cabinetry (yes, marks are visible, but they’re also easy to wipe off), and swapping out the room’s original Douglas-fir and heart-pine flooring for new birch. I loved that warm, patinaed (some would say “worn and water-stained”) old floor, but I like the way the birch complements the clean look of the reimagined space even more.

With all the lunch packing, dinner making, picture drawing, Matchbox car racing, and rushing in and out that happens in our kitchen, I sometimes go weeks without really seeing the room. Then I’ll have a moment, like last weekend, when I was peering into our giant utensil drawer and remembered all the times I had to pry open the former tiny drawer to remove a lodged fork. The interior of this drawer also bore the penned signatures of a teenager who use to live in our house and, like all the old drawers, fell out of its box and sprinkled sawdust when you opened it. Reflecting on details like these, I am overcome with gratitude for our efficient, beautiful space and the team at Block Brothers Custom Cabinets who brought it to life.

As for things we’d do differently, so far I only have two. Chief among them: I would not have put matte paint on the walls. I love the way this finish contrasts with the satin we used on the cabinetry and trim, and we were told this particular matte formulation is as durable and cleanable as other sheens, but it shows every fingerprint and oil spatter. And in the bathroom off the kitchen, where we used a deep blue-green matte paint, the walls are constantly speckled with water spots. (Those who don’t have aggressive hand-washers in their house may not have this problem.) Second, while I adore the natural look of the hickory table Ben Block made for us, we have not kept up with the waxing that is required to keep it from drying out and absorbing spills and marker. So I think we’ll have to apply a few coats or polyurethane soon ­— sorry Ben!

What lessons have you learned from your renovations? Please share your thoughts below!