Third kitchen-design option… and some seriously fancy kitchens.
So after last week’s post where I cut and pasted a giant cabinet on the sink wall… Everyone was like – No! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Put it on the range wall.
So, clearly you did not need me to write this post. But I am anyway. Because there are many
fascinating boring details to consider.
Ever since Pilar Guzman’s kitchen dug me a deep hole of envy, I have been obsessed with the idea of using a three-piece wardrobe to house various kitchen appliances… Or alternately, to house nothing at all and just move the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and everything else out to the garage so that it does not interfere with the fanciness.
Why don’t you use the three-piece wardrobe/portal to Narnia?
Originally, that is exactly what I wanted to do with it. But it is too big for any wall in our kitchen. And while many of you thought it would be totally worth it to cut it down, I cannot do that.
I am the supreme guardian of my possessions— I do not even like people being near my stuff. Let alone touching it… Let alone hacking into it with saws.
Even if we did use the Narnia cabinet, we still would not get the same effect as Pilar and the other brownstone-dwellers: all these inspiration photos are starting with built-ins that are original to the house, with space in the center that is greater than the side-units.
But the wardrobes I’ve looked at don’t have a large center section… So we would have to move the stove. The photo above has the stove in a small alcove and I think I would feel too boxed in.
Although, who knows? Maybe I would enjoy the added excitement of possibly setting fire to the surrounding walls while cooking?
Every single other wardrobe/built-in cabinetry I have looked at has been a disappointment: size, condition, everything.
I am watching a couple on eBay – some guy out in York, PA has quite a few… None of them are an exact fit/ideal dimension. But a couple of them could be forced to do my bidding.
Although, it is hard to get enthusiastic about paying three times what we did for the Narnia wardrobe, (which is in AMAZING condition,) when these others are closer to BAD condition.
Most of them are missing significant pieces… we could work around it because theoretically we would be removing the entire left-hand door/drawer for the refrigerator and would have spare parts… but still! The portal to Narnia is 27,000 times nicer and cost me next to nothing.
Maybe a non-wardrobe cabinet might be a better design for the space: like the mahogany breakfront in my last post. Or this one below on eBay.
I have no idea what price it sold for because apparently eBay has stopped telling you what the best offer actually was. Why this should be a secret, I have no idea.
This one specifically wasn’t actually an option, I love it – I think it’s beautiful. But it wasn’t tall enough– only 7′, but it gives you an idea of what else might work.
But then I am left wondering what to do over the refrigerator… The wardrobe design works well because the entire wall would be FINISHED– it would be a self-contained, coherent unit of fanciness.
But if we are placing a different style of cabinet next to the refrigerator, how do we incorporate the fridge in a way that doesn’t look like a homemade/unplanned/mess.
I have started looking at ideas for what you are supposed to do with that weird space over your refrigerator… And I cannot say I love any of them; let alone if I am trying to mesh it with some random old cabinet right next to it.
Get rid of the refrigerator entirely… Replace it with under-the-counter units.
Can I tell you how much I love this idea? I do! Feel free to send me $10,000!
We are not planning to replace any of the appliances. The ones we have are perfectly fine. And while I would love a panel-enclosed refrigerator, or a La Cornue stove… there’s this thing called money.
And in the cagematch of what I would prefer to spend it on: brand-new, glass-front refrigerator VS. giant-fancy-broken-items-of-gloriousness-residing-in-the-future-that-need-to-be-mine…The refrigerator doesn’t stand a chance.
So if we must keep the suitable-but-not-architectural-digest-worthy-appliances… The refrigerator’s current location is pretty much the only aspect of the kitchen that DOESN’T feel flexible.
I am not sure if I should interpret the difficulty of repurposing cabinetry as an indication that it’s a bad plan… Or if I just haven’t found the right cabinet… Or if all roads lead to the somewhat-easier solution of a repurposed island, paired with traditional perimeter cabinets.
Okay. Now this post is over… It is an accurate representation of my thought process:
now I’m tired.
March 10, 2015 @ 10:18 am
Keep searching!!! It has to be out there, waiting for you to find it!!!! I look forward to your posts, please keep searching.
March 10, 2015 @ 10:22 am
I vote for the bank table island.
P.S. Your photoshop skills continue to amaze…:)
March 10, 2015 @ 10:58 am
I’m with you on this one. I think the layout of the kitchen screams fabulous salvaged statement island. And then you just do minimal cabinetry along the walls/counters. Some beautiful antique tile work on the walls…Done and Done.
My kitchen of little open space needs the wardrobe/tall cabinet fix because I CAN’T have an island, not because I don’t WANT an an island.
March 10, 2015 @ 12:09 pm
I “third” Diane’s idea. Victoria, you are making this a THOUSAND times harder than it has to be. Make the island the focal point with a fabulously fancy, everyone-else-will-die-not-having-this piece d’resistance, and go with traditional, though lovely, cabinetry around the perimeter.
Guests do not LIVE in your kitchen; especially since the rest of your home is filled with so much wonderful eye candy, but with the island, they will see and appreciate your flare for the decadent in that room as well. And if guests DO spend a lot of time in your kitchen, put them to work… around the fabulous island! There. Problem solved. Now get to gettin’!
March 10, 2015 @ 10:24 am
Paul could build you a cabinet that would rival any of these that you have considered and it would fit perfectly to your existing kitchen and appliances. New furniture and cabinetry can be fancied up to look like antiques! And when you do finally make your decision on what to do, make sure you leave yourself some flexibility so that when your current stove or fridge die, you have more room if needed.
March 10, 2015 @ 2:54 pm
Love this idea! You can do wonders with new or reclaimed moldings. Paul can copy Pilar’s kitchen and it will cost a fraction of the cost.
March 10, 2015 @ 10:25 am
I live in York if I can help.
March 10, 2015 @ 10:27 am
Being forced to rethink your original ideas for ones more practical may end up being serendipitous. When you decide the perfect compromise – one that not only satisfies your soul but saves a ton of money you are going to be so happy and proud. you can do this. Think of all the old worthless stuff you can buy with what you’re saving.
March 10, 2015 @ 10:32 am
Don’t give up! You just haven’t found the right piece yet! Or the right configuration!We are just finishing a project for a client where we used some pieces from a drugstore (apothecary cabinet, display counter and back cabinets) for an in home bar. It took a lot of searching to find the right pieces and then a lot of tearing hair out and general tantruming to figure out where to put the necessary appliances and how to fit all of the pieces into the space. Totally worth all of the angst in the end and I can’t imagine doing a kitchen ever again without incorporating antique pieces somewhere. ( you kindly included our kitchen in one of your past posts — we used an antique printers cabinet for our island — just hang in there!)
Melissa @ HOUSEography
March 10, 2015 @ 10:34 am
I still think the ultra fancy, barely functional kitchen island is the way to go. If you lose storage or whatever then that’s totally fine. You can make up for that with not so fancy cabinetry on the walls. I can see some fancy open shelving as well with corbels and marble etc. The lower cabinets could be dark and ultra fancy looking even though they are new. I think cutting something down is still a good solution – none of this stuff is sacred – except to you of course!!
March 10, 2015 @ 10:36 am
I like to think I like to cook. And I’m very particular. And I’ve lived through a reno, so now I’m living through you… You are right – the stove in the corner is squished and doesn’t look inviting in any of the pics – even Pilar’s. Nor does what any of them did over their fridges. I think you need to figure out how you want your kitchen configured and go from there.
The best use I’ve seen of the wardrobes is like in the middle of Pilar’s – fancy storage. It’s ‘cabinet’ functionality, but way over the top. The one with the blue backsplash and the weird white cabinets plunked in the wardrobe???? They couldn’t even match the style of the doors? Come to think of it, look at that one closely – the right and left doors don’t even match – that was salvaged.
Which is my next point. There’s nothing wrong with ‘salvage’. Ever notice how you don’t need the back or really even the sides of these wardrobes? Pilar has subway tile for the backs and I can’t imagine anyone would encourage you to cook smack next to old varnished wardrobe sides…All you really need are doors and the trim pieces on top and down the columns.
Design the kitchen YOU WANT. Then find a crunky piece you like the style of and some really good decorative parts of. Forget the dimensions and if it’s not in great shape, all that means is you’ll be able to get it for a song. Then have a carpenter (maybe one named Paul?) make the boxes to fit the space you are putting it in. Boxes are easy. Then the only pieces you have a cabinet maker replicate are the doors and/or trim to match your exact space. No more wrangling over finding the perfect sized, perfect proportioned piece in perfect condition for $150 – that’s within driving distance. Now you have the look you want (a Victorian-esque kitchen), with the plan that worked for you (because Paul made everything to fit existing walls and appliances), with some ‘custom woodwork’ (the fancy cabinet-maker bits of trim or doors to match the one you wanted). At a much reduced cost. It can look as ‘found’, ‘original’ or as ‘built-in’ as you want it to. You even get to pick your wood and stain! This sort of solution also allows you to do whatever YOU want over the fridge (or any other weird issue ) – because it doesn’t rely on you finding a cabinet that solves the problem for you. It allows you to solve it your way and trim it up VEB-style…
Well, that’s my five cents, anyway.
March 10, 2015 @ 10:47 am
I second this – Suzeraine you are a genius!
March 10, 2015 @ 11:17 am
I love this idea. Much cheaper and more unique to you. My husband made a corner cabinet out of bits and pieces in our 1885 house that everyone thinks is original. And he is not the carpenter that Paul is!
March 10, 2015 @ 11:26 am
You had me at *I’m very particular*!
I agree with you completely. Salvage? Great. Repurposed? Love it. And yet… So often after weeks and months searching for the perfect piece, spending a gazillion dollars to make a square peg fit a round hole, and ultimately jeopardizing the mental health of ourselves and those nearest and dearest, we end up with… Patchwork chic?
VEB, you’re way too fabulous for that.
March 10, 2015 @ 11:50 am
I think this is the right approach, as Fagan in Oliver would say “lm reviewing the situation” take the bits you love and fashion them into an original GBF that is unique to you. Your miracle worker Paul can make it work and then you can once again astound us as you always do with your brilliant concepts and ingenious ideas! Of course Paul may not love us for this but we and Elvis will cheer you both on.
March 10, 2015 @ 12:25 pm
Terrific idea. More work for Paul, of course, but he seems to thrive on long, difficult jobs.
March 10, 2015 @ 12:32 pm
This seems like a real possibility to solve some of the frustration of finding “The Thing” With your tenacity you will definitely find “The Thing” but you and Paul may be so old and crotchety from missing all that dancing and FUN! You may not even be spry enough to give a S**T any more. I SWEAR I see your kitchen and it is stunning. Super duper island piece, and some cabinets with Victorian embellishments. I would still pursue the handsome huge cabinet but as free standing, perhaps in the adjacent room as pretty storage for pretty treasures, like the shrunken heads of those who disagree with your present troll driven goal. Love ya-Uh…… can we all meet at your house to see the finished product?
March 23, 2015 @ 9:59 am
I second (third, fourth…) this!
March 10, 2015 @ 10:40 am
Keep all your appliances, just move them!! Move your stove into an island. Once you have that wall freed up, you’ll find the perfect huge furniture piece for small appliances plus. Also consider fitting your fridge into another piece of furniture later on. Keep in mind the Pilar favorite is actually in a space smaller than yours. I have every confidence you’ll figure it out!!!
March 10, 2015 @ 10:47 am
The great thing about all of it is the way you know the right thing when you see it.
Obviously you haven’t seen it yet since you are still uncertain.
March 10, 2015 @ 10:48 am
“Maybe I would enjoy the added excitement of possibly setting fire to the surrounding walls while cooking?”
You ARE a hoot!!!
March 10, 2015 @ 10:51 am
I’m having “angst” with you and your kitchen again!!! But love the read…I like Suzeraine’s ideas….pieces and parts, lovely trim, boxes, your own colors, paint and/or stain, custom done by YOU and Paul…it’s an original kitchen and I’ll bet the neighbors will be envious of your kitchen and you can help them redo theirs!!! We are working on a Butler’s Pantry right now…took a unused section of the LR, close to the kitchen, wanted the wall enclosed, shelving in wood, blah, blah…..ending up with 5 chrome shelf units from HD, a grommet shear curtain across the front, happy, happy, happy…I have sooooo much storage, I am elated. Its for us only and it’s removable if we move. Not everyone’s cup of tea but suits us fine. Pictures will go on my website when done…..have a lovely day finding all those parts…your kitchen is going to be great when done. karan
March 10, 2015 @ 10:55 am
The Victorian Oak built-in cabinet you’ve been following on ebay sold for $1800. I looked it up for you!
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
March 10, 2015 @ 12:48 pm
How did you see that??? I opened the original listing and everything and all it showed me was “best offer accepted”! I even googled how to find out and google (lied?) and told me ebay stopped showing the price?
March 12, 2015 @ 7:00 pm
I haven’t checked recently but as of last month, you could find out the price if you click on the original listing and then scroll down to the bottom right and click on the “Print” option. You’ll see the accepted offer in the preview!
I can add myself to the list of followers who are taking your kitchen issues to heart. I was in Ronks yesterday (outside of Lancaster) and saw a huge Victorian armoire and thought “That’s so cool. A real VEB piece. Maybe even for her kitchen.” Ha ha.. we’re obsessed.
March 10, 2015 @ 10:58 am
In our 1868 brick “farmhouse” the black refrigerator is under a stair landing in a corner — basically in an alcove where, as inappropriately modern, it “disappears”. 🙂
March 10, 2015 @ 11:05 am
Have you done a kitchen remodel? Having spent the last 12 months recovering from my second back to the studs kitchen remodel I have to tell you your comments make me think you are not emotionally or financially prepared for the truly painful, financially shocking experience a kitchen remodel can be. Maybe you should look at redoing a different room while you and P get some pre-remodel counseling, suit up and save up. DB
March 10, 2015 @ 12:21 pm
Been there, done that, still stings.
March 10, 2015 @ 11:06 am
Suzanne’s post wins, but if you wanted a pared down (probably not, I’m assuming) version of Pilar, you could always try sticking a beautiful ornate corner cabinet in somewhere. Actually, I think you should pitch an article to Pilar (she is a magazine editor, isn’t she?) about your kitchen reno process. Then she’d have to show you her design secrets, right? Possibly?
March 10, 2015 @ 11:11 am
So…when you write you sound desperate, like someone who is looking for her soul mate. What does everyone tell you then? Stop looking desperately; try another new something (which will most likely be looking for another sample of glorious-ness) and when you turn around…there he/it will be.
I am usually not at all into your glorious-ness…but I have to say I love this idea. It is quite stunning. And I like where so many had you put it today. Perfect spot. Whatever you do, DO NOT go the traditional and fancy island route…it will be a regret to your last day in this house!
Oh yes, I send my sympathies over the refrigerated drawers. I sooooo wanted them too, but alas, the money was just too much.
Totally get not wanting to hack up the unit. BUT after looking for years for the perfect old, old, old cupboard to house my TV and accompanying junk…I drilled a hole into a cupboard that had survived in tack for over 200 years which had not been inexpensive to begin with! It is the exact look that I wanted…not a single person walking into my home can find the TV. No regrets what so ever! And I am a Purist! But what I wanted didn’t exist and steps had to be taken.
And lastly, I am sending you added energy to deal with all this trauma. For me, and it seems for you …it is indeed traumatic! The perfect pieces are out there. Keep the faith.
March 10, 2015 @ 11:22 am
I think based on your size, layout, and taste constraints, you would be better off hiring someone to build a piece that fits what you want, then adding the ornate woodwork details that will make it LOOK Victorian, not trying to make a vintage piece fit where it just won’t. I had the same exact problem with my kitchen remodel – odd layout, applicance size and location was virtually non-negotiable, but I was able to hire an “architectural wood design” company to make a large island, wall unit and curved wood hood for me to my exact specs, then fancy them up to fit the style of my new kitchen (think Marie Antoinette meets shabby farmhouse). I was surprised how cost-effective that route was and those pieces are truly what make my kitchen pop now – right size, right scale, and right style. It’s at least worth checking out before investing a couple grand into something that only halfway works – save that money for other giant fancy things that work 100%. Good luck!
March 10, 2015 @ 11:37 am
Don’t you think that all 3 appliances (stove/oven , refrigerator, ) in one wall unit is going to make the piece look too heavy? Why denigrate a perfectly beautiful piece of awesomeness with, of all things, 21st century appliances. Perhaps, lighten it up with just the stove in middle and pretty, glassy, shininess to the left and right. Use an igloo cooler for your frig, but keep it on the back porch. Go with suzeraine’s idea. Use vintage salvaged ‘pieces’ to make ordinary boxes extraordinary.
March 10, 2015 @ 8:04 pm
Ha! I had the same thought as you, Martha. Just get rid of your refrigerator altogether and just keep a couple of coolers stashed out of sight.
March 10, 2015 @ 11:37 am
So, possibly dumb question here, but since Paul is such an amazingly talented guy, could he maybe BUILD something instead of you finding something pre-built that doesn’t really fit your needs?