Sunday, January 18, 2015

Our Next Before-And-After: The Real Winner!

One of our major victories in the battle of home renovation was the transformation of our kitchen in Callicoon.

It started out basically gutted, though laden with ailing appliances. The fire-friendly double oven-stove was positioned in the middle of the room, probably because when you plugged it in, it smoked and sputtered if you looked at it funny, let alone when you tried to use it (if one was capable of overlooking how greasy and gunky it was...) The refrigerator was an "energy-efficient" model circa 1992-- approximately the size of a station wagon and lined with mold-- and the sink was a high-class home depot particle board/decaying cabinet operation that had been on the receiving end of many mice families and a considerable amount of water damage.


We began our transformation by pulling up the old linoleum flooring, refinishing the floors, painting the whole thing top-to-bottom with primer and then paint; and then we were ready to tackle the big stuff. We brought our beloved Chambers Stove from our old house in Sparrowbush (and sent the fire-trap packing!), found a fantastic out-of-the-box Summit Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator on Craig's List (normally $1,200.00, ours cost $350.00 delivered) because it has a minuscule ding on the front door. Lucky for me, I've got a 2-year-old who is bonkers for magnets, so I challenge you to locate this teensy ding if you're ever in my house.

Not only that, but this Summit Bottom-Freezer is quite possibly the nicest not-high-end refrigerator I've ever encountered, and I now recommend the non-dinged version to clients all over NYC. I admit, it doesn't hurt that I paid about 1/5 the typical price...


Then began the challenge of the cabinets and the sink. I had acquired an incredible set of solid-wood kitchen cabinets from Build-It-Green in Gowanus, Brooklyn for a whopping $450.00 (Yep! For the full set! Three huge lower cabinets and two sets of 60" wide uppers with glass cabinet doors!!!) The challenge was that those cabinet didn't exactly fit into our kitchen, nor did our ginormous 400 pound cast-iron farm sink fit into those cabinets. John and I worked with a handy friend of ours and spent a series of tense days looking at those cabinets from all angles, me drawing-and-re-drawing different configurations until we finally figured out how to make them fit the way we wanted. (Though the uppers are still waiting for us in the barn until we renovate the pantry, where they'll be eventually be installed...) With a fair amount of retro-fitting and rejiggering, we made it all work, and now they're the star of the kitchen. Especially after we primed-and-painted them all Benjamin Moore's "Night Train" (1567) -- things really came together.

The last step: We topped our counters with Silestone's Lyra Polished Counter Tops (courtesy of the Lowe's follow-up segment from my brief stint on NBC's American Dream Builders) and we were really movin' and a shakin'.

These days, that original kitchen with its linoleum floors and angry appliances feels like a distant memory. And thank goodness!!!


  1. I am so delighted to have found your charming blog. We purchased a small 1905 country bungalow last spring and have been doing fixer-upper projects ever since we got the keys. It is a dream come true to live in the country and to have space for a garden. I love your makeovers and I am excited to follow your blog. I'm going to add you to my favorite blog-list, so I won't miss a single post. There is so much inspiration here :)
    At the moment I am celebrating my three year blogging birthday with a Give-A-Way, please come over and get your name in the hat :)
    Your new blogging sister,
    Connie :)

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