HOUSE: Newburgh

Kitchen semi-overhaul.


When we bought our house in the wintry beginnings of 2006, the very first thing we did (well, after paying someone to take away all the junk that was behind by the previous residents) was get to work on the kitchen. We had only allowed ourselves three months of time to get the house in livable-enough condition, so having a place to prepare food was a top priority. The existing kitchen was unsafe; nothing in it was salvageable.

The average kitchen renovation in the U.S. costs $45,000. Yes, forty-five THOUSAND dollars. Considering a typical homeowner renovates their kitchen every 10 years, I find that number rather hard to digest.

Excluding appliances, I think we spent about $1000 renovating our kitchen. The freestanding stainless steel UDDEN units we bought from IKEA (now discontinued) were something like $175 each. The VCT floor was $1/SF. Our refrigerator was a floor model. The biggest expensive was our stove, a Siemens/Bosch model that we bought with the intention of keeping it for a long, long time—certainly more than the decade or so most homeowners keep their appliances.

The plan at the time was to do a quick, cheap, temporary renovation on the kitchen, live with it for a year or so, and then move the UDDEN units to the basement to function as work tables and storage space. We would keep the appliances, and then we’d plan our new kitchen “for real”. Well, almost 5 years later, the “temporary” kitchen is still in effect, and I concede that it has really worked out much better than I imagined it would.

Still, though, I’d really like to do a bit of a semi-overhaul of things in there, just to spruce up what’s gotten dingy, and to improve on the areas that aren’t working out so well. And so, a list!

We need a backsplash. It’s actually less an issue of getting food on the walls as it is all of the scuffing from dishes, hanging utensils, etc. I’m thinking just inexpensive, standard white subway tiles are the way to go. That’s what we have in the bathroom that’s next door to the kitchen, and it would be nice if the two spaces could be somewhat related.

We need better lighting. Right now we have something very similar to the Tidig lamp from IKEA in the center of the room, and although it looks nice and functions just fine, it wasn’t the best choice for a kitchen with a very high ceiling. Recessed lighting is out of the question for practical and budgetary reasons, so I’m thinking track lighting that runs the perimeter of the room might be a good option.

The refrigerator is too big. When we were fridge-shopping, we discovered pretty quickly that the small, slim models we liked were too expensive. We wound up buying an LG floor model (I like it because it doesn’t have any visible branding on the doors) because it was cheap and energy-efficient, but it’s just…huge. We’re only two people, and we don’t buy in bulk, so it just seems kind of silly. I think we should sell it and buy a cute little Smeg refrigerator instead. I’ve noticed the Sears outlet sometimes has them for half price. In a dream world I’d have an under-cabinet fridge, but they’re just too pricey.

Fortunately, I don’t really mind not having a dishwasher, and I’ve gotten used to the tiny sink. The only time it bothers me is after we’ve had a dinner party, and if I’m being honest, that really isn’t very often.

The weird corner to the left of stove needs addressing. I’ve never really known what to do with that space, but I think the right thing to do is wall-mount a slab of wooden countertop at exactly the same height as the stainless counter (maybe with a couple of hidden legs for extra support) so there’s a continuous work surface. Right now that corner is just totally useless. Maybe recycling bins can fit underneath. Or a dog bed, since Bruno loves to hang out and pray for scraps to fall while I’m cooking.

THE RADIATORS MUST GO. I hate them. Yes, they are cast iron, which I have in every other room and love very much, but they are not old and not cute. They are enormous and rusty and filthy and off-center under the windows, and they sit too close to the floor to clean under, around, or behind them. I also don’t understand why there are two, because the room isn’t all that big. I’d like to get rid of them and install a single wall-mounted steam radiator instead. It would be cheaper and more efficient than having the existing ones sandblasted and powder-coated, anyway.

We need someplace to sit. No matter how much I try to herd guests out of the kitchen, everyone insists on hovering while I cook, and there’s nowhere for them to put down a drink or have a seat right now. If we can get a smaller refrigerator and move it to the area where the long butcherblock (the one with the coffee maker on it) is, then we can move the butcherblock to the middle of the room and use it like an island with a couple of stools on one side.

I’d like to have a range hood. We’ve been putting off buying a hood for years, and it’s really time to just do it. I’m fine having the kind with a filter and lights—I don’t need it to vent to the outside.

The kitchen needs wood. I could see moving the Grundtal shelves to the basement and mounting wood shelving instead (Dan, when are you coming over to work your magic??). Above the sink, I’d like to run the shelves all the way up to the ceiling and use them to display…uh…I don’t know. How about the incredible collection of vintage Scandinavian and Japanese pottery I will someday own? Sure. That.

We really need to repaint. I don’t even know what color I’m thinking, but I can’t live with the pale blue any longer. It’s a lovely color, but I just keep wishing it were something else. Gray? White? You know, something wild.

Not so bad, right? Yes, I have dreams of refacing the hearth in brick or installing a tin ceiling, but I want to keep things simple (and CHEAP) for the time being. Now I just need a bunch of free time and loads of energy.

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  • Reply Laura F. December 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    For the weird corner by the stove maybe you could cover a piece of 3/4 inch plywood with sheet metal (I don’t know the proper term for it, but it’s thin and you can cut it with tin snips). Then the material would relate more to the other counters and be a similar thickness as well.

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 10:50 pm

      I like that idea, but in practice I think the result would be disappointing. The surfaces would never match perfectly (metals are different tones and weights, and after 5 years of use, ours have acquired quite a patina of scratches), and there’s nothing more frustrating than “close but not quite”, you know? I’d rather have a deliberate contrast.

  • Reply michelle December 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    the color scheme makes your bright kitchen wares really pop.

  • Reply blulily December 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    WoW! your “temporary” kitchen looks really, really awesome! I love how you thought about a use for the counters after your remodel as work space. (Great idea for those of us looking for that)
    Have you thought about something like the black wall from your NYC apt behind those cool shelves that Dan will build for you one day? 😉 The black/wood combo is really nice on the eyes.
    Thank you for sharing your kitchen with us!

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 10:50 pm

      I think about black walls all the time! 🙂

  • Reply tallin December 2, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I love how your current kitchen doesn’t look, well, kitchen-y, but still has all the function of a kitchen.

    For what it’s worth, the kitchen in my parent’s house hasn’t been renovated since the house was built in 1959, save for my parents changing the electric range to a gas one when they moved in 10 years ago. Even though it’s due for a renovation, it’s hard for me to justify doing it when everything still works well. I can’t even begin to imagine renovating every 10 years…what a wasteful nightmare!

    Best of luck with your renovation!

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm

      If the old kitchen was usable, I would have kept it and fixed it up! I wish it were from the ’50s (or older), but it was very cheap ’80s laminate, and it had obviously been moved from another location. The particleboard was all exposed and swollen from water damage.

      I wish I could see all of the kitchens my house had before it was mine!!

  • Reply Laurel December 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    That corner by the stove is odd. If/when you put in different cabinets, it would be a prime location for a lazy susan and one continuous L-shaped counter. (I mean a lazy susan installed inside the cupboard.)

    (Also, love the little plants on your shelf!)

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 10:53 pm

      We’re not putting in new cabinets anytime soon, but if I were, there would definitely be a lazy Susan involved!!

  • Reply annette December 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    so…when do you start?!

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 10:53 pm

      Hahaha, I wish I knew!!

  • Reply Daffodil Campbell December 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Hello Ms Anna 🙂

    We have had to renovate 3 kitchens, and with no IKEA in sight on Maui, I had to make do with whatever I could find that was either a floor model, way marked down, closeout, or didn’t cost a fortune to ship. Two things that I am sure you have already considered but wanted to provide feedback on:
    Ceiling tiles – I wanted tin but our old ceilings couldn’t support them (they are made of canic) so I bought decorative ceiling tiles made of foam, painted them, added shading oh-so-slightly and now voila, they look like tin ceiling tiles. They were very cheap, slightly insulating, and super fast to cut/install. We get compliments on them all the time. When painted nicely, they are pretty awesome.
    Range hood – after much debate and discussion, we bought a combo microwave/hood in stainless. I know, I know. The aesthetics! GAH! But it made a lot of sense with very limited counter space, and while I wish we could forgo the microwave entirely, the fact is I use it to defrost sauces and soups that I make in bulk, and to reheat my tea and leftovers. So just wanted to reassure you, it wasn’t as supremely awful as I thought it would be.

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 12:10 am

      What’s canic? I tried looking it up, but got nothing useful! And I’ve never seen these foam tiles you mentioned! Do you have a link? I’m curious!

      I’m convinced that one day we’ll come across a huge lot of salvaged pressed tin at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store or something. 🙂

      I know those over-stove micro/fan combos are very practical, but even if we wanted one in our kitchen (and we don’t—we very rarely use the microwave), we couldn’t have one. Because our stove is set in a sloped hearth, anything we put over it has to be quite high, and it won’t be next to or under a row of cabinets (which I think is really essential if you’re going to have one of those combos!). You see what I mean?

  • Reply Deda December 2, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    We just redid our galley kitchen and I spent some time (okay months) banging my head against the wall about small fridge costs. Ours had to be counter depth and preferable with a bottom freezer. I found my answer with summit appliances which is a small manufacturer in the Bronx. It’s just right for 2 people, the inside is perfectly designed to make the most of about 13 cubic feet and it was about $1300, which felt way better then the $4300 leibherr option. (The only other one that would work.)
    I’m so happy with it.

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Deda, I will definitely check them out!! (Leibherr was my first choice, too, but geeeeeez…so spendy!!)

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      Here’s a link to Summit Appliances in the Bronx, just in case anyone else see this comment and is curious…

    • Jo December 11, 2010 at 8:15 am

      I got my very small Polish-made fridge from Summit and I love it. It’s just over five feet tall, two feet wide, and under two deep, and it fits perfectly in the one place it could sit in the 1948 kitchen.

      Also–I don’t know if anybody’s mentioned this yet, but if you’re going to put in a vent hood, go ahead and go all the way and vent it to the outside. It will save you heartache in the future. Promise. Interior-vented range hoods are pointless; you’d do just as well to put up a ceiling fan.

    • Anna @ D16 December 12, 2010 at 10:35 am

      Easier said than done in a very old house, though!

    • Fiona February 27, 2012 at 9:23 am

      Just wanted to give my perspective (late). It may depend which brand of Summit, but I had one and was NOT happy. I need a counter-depth refrigerator in my new place, and I would definitely spend more to get better quality.

      It broke once (in four years) and it was just an awkward refrigerator. It also didn’t keep things very cool. Just my experience.

  • Reply Adam December 2, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Your “temporary kitchen” is 1000x better than my permanent kitchen, but I really like the ideas you have for your semi-overhaul. I like Laura F.’s comment about using sheet metal as a countertop surface for what you want to do with the corner by the stove. I also like your idea of putting in a smaller fridge and moving the butcher block to the middle of the room- would you have stools as well? The fridge you linked to is beautiful! My kitchen is very small, but as you said, every time I have people over they always manage to end up in the kitchen. As for color, I like the idea of a soft gray in perhaps the same intensity as the blue. I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 12:11 am

      Yes, we’d definitely need a couple of stools!

  • Reply bernard cerone December 2, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    you can exhaust outside. there is a flue over the stove… just plastered over as i remember.

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 9:14 pm

      Bernie, I think we discovered that it’s been blocked off. I’ll check with Evan, but I don’t think it’s open.

    • bernard cerone December 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm

      i was thinking that was a possibility

  • Reply Tess December 2, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I remember the first time I read your blog and you were working on the kitchen. I have to say, I have always loved the way it turned out. I also think people get too crazy with the expensive kitchen renovations! We did the same sort “temporary” kitchen when we bought our house. I feel like my overhaul list would be the same except I bought a refrigerator that is too small. It does need to be repainted. I have the same problems with odd unused corners. No dishwasher here either, only want one for Thanksgiving. Good luck with the overhaul! I am afraid mine will have to wait, we need a new roof first 🙁

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 12:13 am

      I think all of this comes with the territory when you have an old house, Tess!

      I feel you on the new roof, too. We had ours silvercoated last summer and then again last month. Fingers crossed that we can put off getting a whole new rubber membrane (we have a flat roof) put down for another 10 years!!

  • Reply Lauren @ chezerbey December 2, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Your kitchen is already so cute, I love all the little details!

    I second the comment on the Summit fridge (FYI – they also seem to be sold under “Conserv” and “Vestfrost”). We ordered ours from 4 years ago and it was only $1000 and we got free delivery. I use them all the time on residential projects and haven’t heard any complaints. Great for two people, great for small spaces with tall ceilings, very energy efficient. The Liebherr’s are nice (the handles are, hands-down, the sexiest refrigerator handles out there), but not worth the extra $$$ in my opinion.

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 12:13 am

      That’s really good to know, thanks!! I was unfamiliar with the brand, and it’s cool to see that they’re local to us.

  • Reply Matt December 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Anna this is great. I need to redo my tiny kitchen too, so I’m excited to see your project unfold. I hear you on the fridge issue. I wanted an under-counter setup, then loved the SMEG too, but I ended up getting a Whirlpool 9.7 Cu. Ft. in black. It works great, is perfectly small, and is actually EXTREMELY cheap. Just a thought.

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 12:14 am

      Thanks for tip, Matt. That is a nice, simple-looking fridge, and WOW is it cheap!!

  • Reply Misa December 2, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    i am all about those smeg refrigerators. what color would you get?

    by the way, the very first blog article of yours that i read was the one in which you expressed your disinterest in granite counter-topped cherry-cabineted $45,000 kitchens and, i swear, my pupils turned into little hearts like a cartoon skunk.

    • Anna Elena December 3, 2010 at 10:45 am

      Me, too!

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 11:04 am

      Hahah!! I love that visual!!

  • Reply Sarah December 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    We did our “permanent” kitchen for around $6K using Ikea as our main resource and I’m super happy with the results. We still have tile backsplash to install (a splurge from Ann Sacks) and lighting to do properly but we managed to get cabinets (all Ikea) and appliances (again, all ikea except for the dishwasher which we had, but including a hood vent) for about $4K and then with custom quartz composite countertop and the fancy pants tile we are in about $6k total. Far from the $45k (who the hell really spends that much, I mean really???) And I’m incredibly thrilled with what we ended up with. I’m sure you know this, but take perfect measurements and don’t move things around too much and you can do wonders with relatively little money. I will say, that funky corner by the stove could totally be solved with a corner unit from Ikea with a pull out “3/4” lazy susan. Our dishwasher sits in approximately the place your stove does and we got the corner unit to sit right up against the dishwasher and i can’t believe the difference its made for storage. We don’t even really need wall cabinets with the amount of stuff that corner unit holds.

  • Reply jenny December 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    wow! you did wonders! it’s a lovely space, but I can see that all the things on your list will enhance it.
    ikea is so cheap where you are. freestanding cabinets here (Australia) are quite expensive if one is trying to do things on the cheap. I foolishly bought some of the basic cabinets (faktum) thinking i’d get the kitchen done properly, and six years later, there they are. Well, umm, actually, I moved the three drawer cabinet too many times without help (OK, dragged it) and those silly plastic legs came off. yep, my kitchen is a disaster. But i’m going to use this post (and the ‘afters’) as an inspiration.

    love the blog Anna. an island of peace in a crazy world

  • Reply Jen December 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    hi Anna- I love your kitchen how it is now, and I know that whatever/whenever you decide to change it, it will be fabulous.

    this is kind of a funny question, but where is your trashcan from? We have been needing a new one for the kitchen, and I am not a fan of the metal, stainless steel ones bc they get so dirty and show fingerprints… I really like that white one 🙂

    thanks for all your inspiration!

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      Jen, we’ve had the trash can for years now, and it’s great — it was a bit of a splurge, but it’s well-made (steel) and looks good. It’s from Simple Human. They don’t make the exact same model anymore, but this one is very similar.

  • Reply shashi December 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Hey Anna,
    I face a few of the same problems in my kitchen, weird corners near the stove and minimizing the space that appliances take up. For the fridge, not sure how big yours is, but we went with this:

    it has the counter depth with a bottom drawer and it’s doesn’t over take our kitchen. I know what you mean about the tall slim ones – we couldn’t do that because our ceilings were too low and the cost wasn’t in our budget. I did months of research and am really happy with it. Not sure if this is what your looking for but maybe it will give you some ideas.

    I’m also facing the back splash and vent/hood issue, things we sacrificed in our initial overhaul but eventually want to replace. Looking forward to seeing your ideas!

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 12:33 am

      Thanks, Shashi. I’m glad to see there are some less-expensive options our there nowadays for smaller refrigerators!

  • Reply April in CT December 2, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Oh how I’m loving your kitchen. The simplicity! It makes me want to do a complete clean out of mine, which I’ve been putting off for months now. I love recognizing Ikea items that I have too in other peoples photos!

  • Reply Alejandra December 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Does the kitchen flow nicely when you’re cooking? I feel like the fridge is out of the way – like I’d be running back and forth quite a bit.

    I love the stations though – the last photo – the coffee station and work space…I love it!

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      Everything flows perfectly, with the exception of the coffee area. I never use that worktop for anything! It’s dead space.

  • Reply PhillyLass December 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Erm, dumb question alert: how would the new steam heat unit integrate with your existing heating system? Can you just swap the Runtl for the cast iron unit currently in your kitchen?

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      Yes, the cast iron radiators are steam-heat also! Runtal units do the same thing, they’re just a different shape and they mount on the wall. It’s really as easy as having a plumber disconnect the pipe for one and attach it to the other! 🙂

  • Reply erin / dfm December 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    oh anna, i am so so excited! you’re going to do awesome things; i just know it. also? $45,000? GROSS.

  • Reply jennifer in sf December 2, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    This makes me simultaneously really relieved and kind of sad that I can’t do anything major in my tiny rental kitchen!

    I love all the red with the black in your kitchen. More wood is gonna look awesome.

  • Reply raina December 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Hah- got you beat- our temporary kitchen lasted 10 years and some things (like the ugly range hood) are still there. Why oh why is a decent kitchen so dam $$$. We replaced our cast iron radiator with a wall unit- way better.
    Try for a under counter fridge.
    We are currently doing a kitchen in a new place we bought (and are going to rent out) and trying to source as much from there.

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 12:34 am

      What a great resource!! Thanks, Raina.

  • Reply Sandra December 2, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    I like your kitchen very much. But I agree about the color of the walls, it doesn’t really go with the rest of the kitchen.
    I’m definitely going to take inspiration from you when I renovate my own house. First I just need, you know, a house. Hehe

  • Reply julie December 2, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    I would go for the Smeg fridge. I have loved them for what feels like eons. I didn’t realise Udden was discontinued now, shame. Those little round handles are cute.

    I’m redesigning your kitchen in my head right now to try to solve that little corner problem near the stove. This is probably completely crazy but here is what I was thinking. Have a frame similar to the Udden frame fabricated to take a cabinet (fabricated similarly to the Udden in a black laminate or black painted finish) to go in the corner (with or without door, depending on whether it would open or not). A custom stainless top fabricated for all three cabinets would bring everything together. I really like the idea of a seamless stainless top and I think you would like it too 🙂

    I’m not sure about your measurements or budget obviously, but maybe this will help get some ideas flowing. I don’t think we would be breaking 45K that’s for sure. That is just crazy talk people.

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 12:38 am

      My budget for that corner is about $25, so I think having anything custom-fabricated is out of the question! 😀

      Honestly? We’re looking to do this overhaul for a couple hundred bucks, tops.

  • Reply Nat December 2, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    sorry, off topic comment, but you should check out blog: I think you might really like it 🙂

    just a thought.

    I think your kitchen is fabulous as is, but that’s in photos and you’re living with it. I’m such whatever improvements, it will remain too good for words 🙂

  • Reply Matt December 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm


    I highly doubt that the average American kitchen reno costs $45k, and that it’s done every 10 years. What’s your source for this?

    Also, when compiling your costs for a renovation, you NEED to include the costs of your appliances, else it really ceases to be an accurate accounting. Therefore, your temporary reno cost well over $1k…

    Sorry to be a Debby Downer, but just thought that your readers would appreciate the full story…

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 10:40 pm

      I think I was pretty clear about the fact that I didn’t include the appliances in my $1000 tally, but if you’re wondering how much they cost, they were just over $2000 together. I left them out of the total because I didn’t consider them temporary—there was never an intent to replace them. $1000 was the budget for the “temporary” portion of the renovation, and yes, that number is absolutely accurate.

      There you go, now you have the “full story”.

      My source for the averages is This Old House magazine. Keep in mind that there don’t appear to have been estimates made since 2008. I suspect the numbers will skew lower now given the poor real estate market.

      I’m not trying to have a contest or brag about how little I spent, I’m just making a point—if you buy a house with a dilapidated kitchen, and it doesn’t have to be disposable. You can fill in whatever numbers you like; the meaning is still the same.

    • whatever December 2, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      more like debby douchebag

    • Anna @ D16 December 2, 2010 at 10:59 pm

      I’m going to leave this comment because it’s hilarious, but please…let’s not get nasty.

  • Reply Jo in NZ December 3, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Love the kitchen as it stands.
    Will love seeing it evolve also.
    Oh – and love that this blog is 99% snark free 😉
    Love is all around, really.

  • Reply Cat's Meow December 3, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Your temp kitchen is very cut, but I agree that practicality is high on the list too. Our kitchen is 12 years old, came with the building so cheap. Only the stove and I think fridge (we have smaller ones here in Europe) was replaced two years ago by the previous tenants. We bought a new dish washer. The kitchen looks okay with basic white square tile backsplash and simple grey cabinets (only little bit of swelling from water) but I could use some improvements.. so maybe in a few years we will have a remodel, But 45% every ten years is just wasteful and crazy. And who in their right mind would want to go through the hassle?????

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 6:33 am

      I really believe that the kitchen renovation frenzy in the US was (is? Who knows at this point…) in large part driven by real estate agents telling sellers that investing in a remodel is the best way to “maximize their investment”. Somewhere along the way the trend in kitchens veered toward using very expensive materials, and coupled with a housing boom that led to inflated labor costs for this type of work, we wound up in a situation where the amount of money being spent to renovate a kitchen was totally out of line with the true value of a house—something that’s becoming painfully clear to a lot of people right now. I think that the supposed “green” movement has a payed a role, too, with people disposing of appliances with a lot of life left in them…not realizing, of course, that the amount of energy used to dispose of the original fridge and build the new one was likely greater than any amount of energy that could be saved through usage.

      I could keep going with this, but I’ll make myself shut up now. 😉

  • Reply Bianca December 3, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Hi Anna

    Love your blog and have been following ever since I renovated a little Victorian semi detached in Cape Town, South Africa. I am originally from the States but moved here quite a few years ago with my parents. I bought our little cottage with my husband at the beginning of the year and renovated it from a complete 100 year old mess into a white and airy beauty in just 6 weeks.

    We don’t have Ikea here so sadly no premade kitchen units for us, however I think all of your projects indicate it takes a little research, a lot of determination and a good eye for a bargain to do a renovation on a budget.

    I love your kitchen as is, perhaps because it reminds me of a small cafe kitchen, a little bit of industrial chic combined with that perfect touch of homeliness.

    My personal recommendation would be to start with the Smeg (a little luxury goes a long way). After living in your budget kitchen for so long I think you deserve to splash out a bit 🙂

    Finally a mix of black walls and white would be my personal choice if you changed the colour 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 8:28 am

      Thanks, Bianca, I’m glad to get another vote for the Smeg! Whether it’s actually affordable for us at any price right now is questionable, but I really do love them. 🙂

  • Reply Victoria Bellow December 3, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Love your kitchen… the Black wood really adds a clever layer to the space, reflecting the fabulousness. Pops of Black looks elegant, I agree that this space will lift it to sophistication.Thanks for sharing..inspiring.

  • Reply xylostar December 3, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Hey there check out Linseed by Dulux – maybe in a half or quarter strength would suit, its a warmish greenish grey, and looks great with red, black, steel and wood… Not sure if you can get it in the US though, but you could try and match it…

    Um just wanted to know how your karlstad sofa was going? As I am contemplating buying one in the same fabric – as my cattle dog (aka furry baby) has scratched the shiz out of my leather sofa :o(

    Oh and thanks for your blog ;o)

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 8:26 am

      Dulux is sold as Glidden brand paint in the US. I’ll see if there’s a match, thanks.

      The Karlstad sofas (we have two, a 3-seater at the house, and a loveseat at the apartment) are GREAT. I cannot recommend them highly enough—they look fantastic, they’re well-made, totally affordable, very comfortable, and I expect them to last for a good, long time.

  • Reply Kathleen December 3, 2010 at 8:36 am

    $45,000!?! We moved into our 1929 home with a kitchen that had been updated in the ’80s to look like it was made in the ’50s. It was just bad. We did a complete overhaul (including custom built cabinetry) for less that $5,000.

  • Reply a perfect gray December 3, 2010 at 8:48 am

    really cool job. love the open shelving. smart to live with your economical arrangement then figure out what you need from there. the art piece really makes the space sing, I think.


  • Reply ModFruGal December 3, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Well it’s holding up well! We had to gut our kitchen from swollen patricleboard/water damage too, and needed all new appliances as well…boo. Good luck, it will be awesome.

  • Reply Dusa December 3, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Is there space for a pair of stacked stools to the right (as you look at it) of the coffee island? Your guests could use the counter there as a cocktail resting place. And add me to the list of ‘black wall with wood shelving’ lovers! I also love the idea of a wood counter fit piece in that little funky angle! Oh, and speaking of coffee island, what about staining the legs with your ebony stain? I think that would look hott with 2 Ts!

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Hott is always better when it has two Ts. 😉

      There’s no space at all next to the “coffee island”. The pantry is perpendicular to that wall, and the door opens within a 1/2″ of the edge of the island. Tight fit! I think I really need to move that island to the middle of the room so that it functions as, well, an island.

  • Reply Erica December 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I feel like also read somewhere (possibly in Old House Journal) that the average US homeowner renovates their kitchen every ten years. It flabbergasts me. I’m coming up on 9 years in my old home (that I’m renovating on a ten year plan that may have to become a 15 year plan) and the kitchen was the first thing I did, too, and like Anna did with the plan of it being a “forever” kitchen. I just (really, just, over Thanksgiving) repainted the kitchen walls and ceiling (tweaking the colors a little) and had two extra lights installed about a month ago. I don’t see myself doing anything else to this room unless/when appliances die (just replacing them). Which I hope will be many moons from now.

    I think Anna’s kitchen is very cute (radiator included), but totally understand the urge to repaint.

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm

      I just left you a comment at your blog, Erica—your kitchen looks great!

  • Reply Dan December 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Right now! *rips off clothes to reveal spandex onesie, runs to Newburgh*

    Let’s do it! I’ll email ya. Kitchen’s going to be bomb (smeg! gah!). And if that isn’t the cutest toaster ever… I don’t know what is.

  • Reply Steve December 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Anna, what is the dimension (width) of that clear space between the range and the face of the black cabinet?

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

      It’s about 8 inches or so. The drawers clear the stove, though—there’s no overlap.

  • Reply Lisa December 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I’m sure your renovation will be great, but I’ve just put your Before pictures in my style folder for my own renovation. I love how your current kitchen looks.

  • Reply Steve December 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Would something like this work next to the stove?

    • Anna @ D16 December 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      There’s already something very similar to that over there, actually. I really need to make a continuous run of countertop so things feel united and complete. Believe it or not, I don’t need any additional storage space!

    • Steve December 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      In that case, I would simply buy the appropriate length of Ikea Numerar butcher block countertop and cut it to fit. Sand the edges or use a router.
      You could probably support the perimeter of it with a rim of 1″x2″ wood along the wall, and put a triangular plywood gusset or metal bracket next to the range.

      Perhaps you could even just rest the counter on top of the rim support. Then you could lift it off as-needed for cleaning the floor in the back corner. It looks like the thickness of Numerar might fit right over top of the existing cart.

      Regarding the stove hood: years ago I saw a San Diego doughnut shop that had a custom whimsical vent hood: a giant upside-down metal funnel attached to a flexible metal duct… it looked like a Dr. Seuss contraption. The exhaust was presumably hidden in-line in an attic space or up on the roof.
      Another option would be to just mount something up at the ceiling level, almost like a bath fan. I wouldn’t recommend recirculating charcoal systems anymore, especially if you like to cook spicy foods.

  • Reply Wendy December 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    We have this LG refrigerator and we love it.
    It has a bottom freezer and it is 24″ wide. It is great for two people and we have no problems during the holidays – it holds alot.

  • Reply Ana December 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    In Texas, refrigerators don’t come with the house. Since I have a tiny, completely vintage 1950s kitchen, I went with a white 24″ LG bottom freezer model because I couldn’t afford a Smeg. Just wanted to throw it out there — the LG works really well and is perfect for small spaces. Plus it was cheaper than the Summit and Liebherr models. I’ve had mine for a year and love it. (You know you’re an adult when you have strong feelings about appliances.)

    • Steve December 6, 2010 at 10:38 pm

      Ana and Wendy, thank you for those links to the LG refrigerator. I do a lot of work with people who are wheelchair users, and this refrigerator is just the right size and proportion! The large freezer is great for people who rely on frozen partially-prepared foods (e.g. boneless skinless chicken, etc.) to help them live independently.
      We like the freezers on the bottom or side-by-side where things are easy to reach, but so many of those refrigerator models are too wide and deep for modest-sized living quarters, especially when you also need to save floor space to manuever a wheelchair.
      This will be really helpful!

  • Reply Jessica December 3, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    About the Smeg, will the little freezer compartment bother you? Or is there a place to get ones with real freezers in the US? I was considering one but wasn’t sure if I could live with the little freezer compartment (frozen chilli! )

    I totally agree with you about the unfussy kitchen. I live in an “up and coming” neighborhood and if I see one more house get flipped where they put in granite countertops but put in the $80 a window vinyl cheapie windows into 1920s houses and don’t fix the wiring…well, I will become pouty.

    • Anna @ D16 December 4, 2010 at 8:16 am

      Oh Jessica, I hear you!! I don’t understand the willingness to scrimp on things like windows and electrical wiring, but splash out on countertops?! It’s completely nuts.

      The little freezer won’t bother me. All we ever have in the freezer is a tray of ice, a bottle of vodka, and yes…some little containers of frozen chili. 🙂

  • Reply jja December 4, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Since glass bachpslah is very popular at the moment in europe I could see black or red glass backsplash in your kitchen. Or maybe stainless steel?
    I like your idea of making temporar solution from Ikea and using those parts later for storage somewhere else.
    Smeg looks really super cute!

    I have my fridge of a similar size to yours but half of it is freezer so even at the moment with one person household it works great, also could not live without a dishwasher, again if only for me, but it runs every second day. If I cook I make same amount of dishes dirty as when cooking for more persons, then only the numer of plates/glases is different.
    When guests, like 2-3 times per month it runs twice on the same evening. My best friend.
    I made new kitchen last summer and decided against range hood (beauty reasons) and although I had one good (neff) for years, I don’t miss it now, I have huge window and am keeping it open or half open during cooking…I also didn’t like the noise.

  • Reply jd December 5, 2010 at 12:22 am

    echoing the horror of $45,000… i barely spent $4,500 on the whole apartment – granted it is about the size of a McMansion kitchen, but still…

    i managed to fit a fully functioning kitchen (and w/d combo) in a 5 1/2 foot wall.

    first thing to go was the ginormous fridge i had… i was eyeing the avanti under the counter fridge that also has an actual separate freezer. i too barely use a freezer, but for the rare occasion it is nice to have one that actually keeps ice cream and freezes some cubes. the stars aligned and i found a barely used model on craigslist. it has been great. i left room in the overall plan in case i wanted to add another small fridge. if one wouldn’t be enough for you, two side by side under a counter certainly would be.

    i was really amazed how hard it was to find good small appliances in the US though.

    eventually the under counter space will be curtained off to conceal the appliances. you can’t really see the fridge in this shot, but it is under the two burner range (de longhi). (also was going to do the ventless hood, but am going without for now.) in between the fridge and the w/d is a small oven/toaster/breadmaker. to the right of the shelves is a rolling counter that i designed out of pipe (spray painted white) and butcher block – sorry no photo. it has two shelves towards the back and fits two stools in front. when you get busy with the wood shelves for the wall, bet you could whip some type of counter up. however, i do confess there was a learning curve. i also have the same flip table you have in your apt and vintage folding plia chairs… their translucence keeps it from feeling too cluttered.

    since i didn’t do cabinets, i was worried i might run out of room, but a vintage cabinet i converted to a pantry seems to be doing the job. six months in and no complaints.

    viva the moderate kitchen!

    looking forward to seeing your results. good luck.

  • Reply amy from ara133photography December 5, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Beautiful!! I just love the touches of red against the black and white. The art on the wall is very cool! Wishing now that we could give our kitchen a makeoverd but alas it is in an apartment… 🙂

  • Reply Glenys Morgan December 5, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Last year I stumbled upon D16 researching white painted floors for my kitchen and now I keep checking in to see your progress and ideas. I bought a small seventy year old house a year ago and did an initial facelift, or perhaps it’s a bit more like botox, just a “freshening up” of the same floor plan. I relegated the refrigerator to the basement and have two refrigerator drawers, although a fridge and freezer drawer combination would also be a possibility. This gave me the space and site lines I wanted, and actually, I’m not really into stashing much in the freezer. I went IKEA for the quality for money and the look of glossy white. I haven’t decided on what the kitchen will be like eventually, but for $3000, I can rearrange them (as you know), or hang them in the laundry room (who doesn’t like white laundry?), or add different door fronts (last kitchen, custom black doors), or even sell them because they’re so easy to un-install, for lack of terminology.
    In a past life, I was a graphic designer but I followed another passion and became a chef, and some of my working relationships are with high end appliance companies; I’ve seen my share of kitchen renovations. One reason they easily hit the $45K mark is simply that kitchens were rarely ever well designed decades ago, and structural change is expensive, we all know that. I think if the bones are good, a great kitchen just needs that botox every ten years, not to mention the efficiency of appliances that function better and save energy. I couldn’t live with the same look for ten years but if the choices were wise in the first place, change doesn’t mean being wasteful, it’s really repurposing, recycling and regenerating.
    Great job on D16, it keeps me looking on the “white” path.

  • Reply tracey December 6, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Where did you get the picture above your stove?

    I love it!

  • Reply Brianna December 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I’ve always heard that warm colors are good for cooking spaces since it stimulates hunger and really bringths warmth to what’s considered the “hearth of the home.” My mother’s kitchen is a burnt red-orange which sounds horrible but is actually beautiful! A great idea for those strange corners, is installing a lazy susan shelving system. It turns so all the space is used even the far back corner. Just a thought.

    • Anna @ D16 December 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      I actually don’t need any more storage space, so I’m not planning to install new cabinetry (I think a freestanding lazy Susan might be kind of weird!). That area can be just for Bruno. 🙂

  • Reply jan December 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    When I saw this, I was like (wow you can still buy those)? Funny that was our plan when we moved in, and then much to my disapointment the UDDEN was discontinued. I think this is a perfect solution if you don’t have the crazy amount of money it costs to build a kitchen. So we are still kitchenless. IKEA – what were you thinking? Their other portable option, with the white and wood is just not as nice and much more expensive. Maybe I should go look on craigslist.

  • Reply jill December 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    hey love. my thoughts would be to transfer the shelves from over the sink (as you said you were planning on doing) and continue them (or maybe larger ones) down the wall that currently houses your small electronics. you could hide the bottom few shelves with drapes made from vintage tea towels. This would free up the island that could float the middle of the room and babysit guests =) i also suggest you paint the island firetruck yellow (is that a color?)
    all the best.

  • Reply Binyamin January 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Dear Anna,

    Compliments on the kitchen. I really really like it. I am browsing the Internet for your stove but I can’t find it anywhere..If it’s nothing much to ask can you give a model nr. so I can check if I can buy it in Europe? Thanks so much!

    Kind regards,

    The Netherlands

    • Anna @ D16 January 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      I don’t know the model number, sorry! It’s a Siemens range, which I believe is sold under the Bosch label in Europe.

      Keep in mind that it’s five years old now, so the designs have probably changed.

  • Reply Binyamin January 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Thank you for your quick reply! Remember me if you intend to sell it in the future 🙂

  • Reply Leslie January 13, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Hi Anna:
    I’ve been a long time admirer of your beautiful home and talent. Everything is just so lovely and inspiring. Love your kitchen- so clean and stylish.
    I have lately become obsessed with tall white porcelain cups/tumblers/drinking glasses – exactly the glasses (both types )you have in the last photo- the two sets above your coffee essentials and the cup holding your porcelain spoons. Do you mind sharing your resources? Many thanks!


    • Anna @ D16 January 13, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Thanks, Leslie!

      The mugs directly above the coffee maker (the ones with the black designs on them) are from Design House Stockholm. The tall white mugs (the ones immediately to the right of the clear glasses) are from IKEA. The smaller white ones to the right of those are actually glasses, not mugs…also from IKEA.

      My porcelain spoons aren’t in this photo (we keep them in a drawer), so I’m not sure which other ones you’re wondering about. The stacked mugs next to the teapot actually have wood spoons in them (is is those?). Those mugs are from IKEA, too, and they come in a set of two…with two wooden coasters and spoons. 🙂

  • Reply leslie January 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks Anna. Gotta love Ikea, but was just there so kicking myself that I did not spot them! Guess I will have to go back! Thanks again!

    • Anna @ D16 January 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      I’ve had all of this stuff for years now, so I have no idea if IKEA still carries the various glasses/mugs that I have.

  • Reply alexis January 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    There are also Blomberg fridges (not to be confused with our mayor!) that are counter-depth, tall and narrow. They’re comparable in price, features and efficiency to the summit/conserv but had slightly better reviews for durability when I was shopping for fridges. We’ve had ours for about a year now and have been totally happy with it (can’t remember which model we have, but it’s one of the less expensive ones listed on the aj madison site).

  • Reply huey April 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    hi, i saw that u are using gas stove. may i know where you store the gas cylinder tank? thanks.

    • Anna @ D16 April 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      We’re connected to the city’s municipal gas line, so we don’t have a storage tank. Our gas is provided by the local utility company.

  • Reply Greta May 7, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Anna I am about to embark on a ‘temporary renovation’ of my scary 60s (appliances) / 90s (decor) kitchen. Heading to Ikea in Australia tomorrow to order the cabinets! I was wondering what kind of metal shelving you used for your tempi-kitchen. Were these also from Ikea?

  • Reply Stephanie November 5, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Hi Anna! My husband and I love the microwave table/cart with the shelves above it. Where did you get that table?

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