The Kitchen: Reveal and Review

We “finished” the kitchen almost two years ago and I have yet to post a full reveal. Tsk tsk… bad blogger. But it was a hidden blessing because now I can do a reveal with lots of pictures and reviews at the same time. Two blog posts in one! You can thank me later.

First up: The Cabinets

We have quite the mix of cabinets in our tiny kitchen. First, we have the original built-in-place cabinets that we painted white. We are still happy with the decision to save the original cabinets. We love the look and the second paint job with Benjamin Moore Advance paint is holding up great.

Read more about the original cabinets here and here.

original cabinet

Then we have the new cabinets. They are shaker-style full overlay cabinets from Ultracraft. The uppers and nook cabinets are painted maple in arctic white and the lowers are cherry in chestnut stain. We still love these cabinets and they have held up nicely. The cabinets have great features like soft close hinges and drawer dampers and my favorite: full extension drawers. You can see the entire contents of the drawer – this way nothing gets lost far in the back. My second favorite feature is the pull out spice rack next to the stove.

Read more about the new cabinets here.

cherry lower cabinets

We went with 45″ tall uppers that go all the way to the ceiling. I would recommend anyone use the tallest upper cabinets they can. Not only does it look better, but it provides some much needed extra storage in a small kitchen.

shaker kitchen cabinets

shaker kitchen

The Countertops

Our counters are Silestone Quartz in Ivory Coast. Love love love the counters. They still look as nice as the day they were installed. They clean up easily and require no maintenance.

silestone ivory coast countertops

In the nook we have Ikea oak butcher block counters. They still get a thumbs up even though they are a little more upkeep. They need an oiling with mineral oil every couple of months. They don’t get hard use like the silestone (they have never seen a hot pan or a sticky spill). So I can’t comment on how well they would work for true kitchen counters, but for our nook they are great.

Read more about the countertops here.

Backsplash tile

lantern tile backsplash

We took a risk and went with something unique for our backsplash with the blue lantern tile. We still like it. It adds a nice punch of color and personality to the kitchen. It cleans up great as well. I just wipe it down with a damp cloth every night. The grout has held up great and never stained.

Read more about the backsplash here.

The Nook

The nook was just an empty little space off the kitchen when we moved in. We added cabinets, a pull-out kitchen cart, and open shelving.

kitchen nook

kitchen  nook

We are really happy we kept the nook. I love the open shelving for all the dishes I use daily.

The pull-out cart that we designed to slide under the cabinets is a great feature. It provides extra mobile counter space and the opening can be used as a workspace when the cart is pulled out.

kitchen nook stool and cart

bekvam kitchen cart

Kitchen nook workspace

Read more about the nook here and here.


The stove and refrigerator were here when we moved in. We bought a new dishwasher and have been very happy with it. The only downside is a cycle can take up to 3 hours but we usually run it at night after dinner so it’s not a big deal. Besides that, it’s relatively quiet and looks great.


We also added a range hood that we did not get properly vented until last year. So for a year it was just a decorative metal thing above the stove. Having a good range hood makes all the difference in a tiny kitchen. Not only does it remove cooking odors, but it takes away a lot of the heat – making the cooking experience far more pleasurable.

Kitchen hood

Sink and faucet

We love the Kohler enameled cast iron sink. It needs a good scrub down with baking soda about once a week to keep it looking white and shiny.

kohler sink

The faucet…this is the only bad review I have. We love the look of the faucet but that’s where it ends. The pressure is hard to regulate. The flow of water goes from a trickle to a geyser by moving the handle a millimeter. And temperature is the same thing: ice cold to boiling hot with a small touch. We are used to the faucet and in general don’t get burned or covered with water. But all guests splash and/or burn themselves. Not the greatest faucet, but she sure it purty.

kraus faucet

All in all, we are still very happy with the kitchen and the products we chose to fill it with. Hope the reviews are helpful. If you have any questions ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Complete source list:
Wall paint: Glidden Antique Beige, satin finish
Trim and cabinet paint: Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Super White, satin finish
Cabinets: UltraCraft Cabinetry, Destiny Line, Shaker Style, in Arctic White Maple and Chestnut Cherry
Countertops: Silestone Quartz in Ivory Coast and Ikea Numerar in Oak (discontinued, Numerar in Beech or Akerby in oak are good substitutes)
Backsplash Tile: SomerTile Morocco Blue Porcelain Mosaic Tile
Sink: Kohler Mayfield 25″ x 22″ in white
Faucet: Kraus single lever pull-out sprayer in satin nickel
Range Hood: NuTone 30 in. Pro Style Range Hood in Stainless Steel NSP130SS
Dishwasher: Kenmore 24″ Built In Dishwasher in Stainless Steel Model#12093
Cabinet Hardware:
Pulls: Top Knobs, Cup Pull in Pewter Antique Finish m1211
Knobs: Home Depot Liberty 1-1/4 in. Top Ring Round Cabinet Hardware Knob in Antique Iron.
Shelf Brackets: Ikea Ekby Valter 11″ in birch, painted white
Kitchen Cart: Ikea Bekvam painted with Behr Spring Stream
Stool: Target Carlisle Metal Counter Stool in Grey


Built-in Refrigerator

Finishing the nook has started me on a kitchen finishing rampage. All the little details that have haunted me for the past two years are getting crossed off the list.

This past weekends victim…the “built-in” refrigerator. In our wonky house the fridge is actually inside a small space that is inset in the wall (basically a closet). This was not some clever space saving design decision. It’s just the way it was when we bought the house, and with no other space in the tiny kitchen for a fridge, it remained there.

We think the space originally might have been a pantry and at some point the doorway was sloppily widened to house a refrigerator. The floor of the space is the same tongue and groove hardwood as the rest of the house, but it is 4″ higher that the rest of the floors. And it gets even wonkier…It is also the only access to our attic. Gotta love old houses.

When we designed the new kitchen, I wanted the fridge to have a purposely built-in look. As opposed to the “cut a big hole in the wall” look. But something got lost in translation between the carpenter who installed our kitchen and my built-in fridge dreams. The rough cut hole was still there, the bottom of the cabinet left exposed, and the “baseboard” hanging off by a single sad nail. It actually looked a bit worse. He thought it looked great, and being that he had screwed up a bunch of other stuff in the kitchen we decided we would fix it ourselves… and two years later we did it.

*A little side note on the mechanics of this cabinet: The space that houses the fridge is 40″ deep. Which is deeper than a standard base cabinet. The carpenter cut the back of the cabinet box off, so there is a 4″ frame of cabinet box that attaches to the walls. He then took a piece of light oak melamine and cut it to the depth and width of the space. The melamine sits on cleats that you see in the photo above. Being that this space is also our attic access, a normal 24″ deep cabinet would not have allowed us to get up into the attic. This was very smart of the carpenter (I will give him that and that alone).

Now back to making things pretty… The first thing we did was unscrew the cabinet frame and slide it back so the doors would be flush with the vertical trim, giving the cabinet an inset look. We then detached the top trim piece cut it down and reattached it flush with the rest of the trim. We then cut back the cleats that held the melamine bottom. This was to enable us to attach a small piece of molding on the bottom to hide the shelf and be flush with the doors. At the very top, we attached cove crown molding to match the original cabinets on the opposite wall.

Built-in refrigerator cabinet

With the cabinet done we focused on cleaning up the fridge opening. We fixed the corner cut in the upper right corner, allowing us to finish the rough edge (to the right of the fridge) by adding a piece of corner molding. Finally, we added a 5.5″ baseboard at the bottom (remember the space the fridge is in is 4″ higher than the surrounding floor).

We then caulked all the little gaps and nail holes, and finished everything off with 2 coats of paint.

Built-in refrigerator

Built-in refrigerator

Built-in refrigerator

It took an entire day to finish and was so worth it. These little details make all the difference between the kitchen looking like a crappy DIY job and a well-designed, custom kitchen.

The Nook: Part II

I posted about the kitchen nook two years ago, and I am now very ashamed that it took me two years to actually finish it. We finished half the nook with the kitchen renovation but the wall opposite the countertop sat unfinished…until now!

We originally planned to do the same open shelving we had done on the other side. But, we had trouble finding the studs in our 100 year old plaster walls and were generally worn out on anything to do with updating a kitchen.

I ended up buying some cheap Ikea metal shelves. They worked okay but weren’t very stable on the unlevel floors and the bottom two shelves were basically useless because they are within snout reach of our dog.

So after two years of staring at those wobbly, dog hair covered metal shelves I could take no more.  I decided it was time for some out-of-dog-reach, attached-to-studs, matching shelving to go up.

I actually managed to find the studs with a stud finder (shock #1), and they were on 16″ centers (shock #2). I placed the shelves at the same height as the shelving on the opposite wall to make everything nice and symmetrical. I used the same Ikea Ekby Valter brackets (painted white), and 1×12 pine boards also painted white.

kitchen nook open shelves

I’m so happy to finally check these shelves off my list.

kitchen nook open shelves

Finishing the nook involved more than just the shelves. I also had to finish painting the ceiling, touch up the wall paint, paint the trim, and add shoe molding the the baseboards. It feels so good to not stare at all those unfinished projects everyday.

By adding a stool we can also using the nook as an extra eating area. I just pull out the kitchen cart and voila little breakfast nook for one (or two if I get another stool).

kitchen  nook

We debated adding one more lower shelf but decided to leave it as-is for now.

The other “original” side of the nook  looks pretty much the same as it did two years ago with the exception of a new kitchen aid mixer and toaster oven.

kitchen nook

After living with this kitchen for two years we are still really happy we decided to keep the nook and not just blow out the wall and continue on the kitchen. It serves multiple purposes (pantry, prep space, baking space, eat-in area) and adds some much loved character to the house.


Wall paint: Glidden Antique Beige, satin finish

Trim paint: Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Super White, satin finish

Cabinets: UltraCraft Cabinetry, Destiny Line, Shaker Style, in Arctic White Maple

Countertops: Ikea Numerar in Oak (discontinued, Akerby in oak is a good substitute)

Shelf Brackets: Ikea Ekby Valter 11″ in birch, painted white

Kitchen Cart: Ikea Bekvam painted with Behr Spring Stream

Stool: Target Carlisle Metal Counter Stool in Grey