I have a habit of starting many things at once. Case in point: the 8 books on my nightstand at varying stages of doneness.
It’s not that I don’t finish them (I do), or that I become disinterested (I don’t). It’s just that there are many things I want to get my hands into: things to paint! plants to plant! And I want to start all of it now.
One of these was a kitchen renovation I took on last year. While I didn’t do anything structural, it was pretty involved, and it’s still only about 85% done. (Did I paint the lower cabinets gray yet? Nope. Will I? Maybe). And I’ve been beating myself up over the fact that it’s not done, focused on the list of to-do’s to get me there.
That’s something I’ve always grappled with: the list mentality that goes along with any project. Too often I’ve caught myself thinking “I must finish XYZ and check these tasks off before I can relax.”
But I’m learning to be in the moment and focus on the “process of doing”, not just the end result. Chalk it up to making bigger life changes or a heightened awareness of the swift passage of time (yikes). I’m trying to be mindful of where I am this minute – instead of focusing on some imaginary finish line.
As it turns out, most tasks in this reno have been a blast: picking finishes, accessorizing, styling. Paying attention to these smaller moments is where the magic is (in kitchens, and in life). So that’s where I am, enjoying the decisions I’ve made, big and small, that have made this space mine.
Some highlights below:
1. The FloorsAh yes, my heavy-duty, smooth and buttery encaustic clay tile floor. It may be a favorite element, and what likely made this project stretch on for months vs. weeks (it took me awhile to choose a pattern).
The motif is baked into the top clay layer, so after years of wear, the pattern won’t wear away. I chose the Atlas II from Cement Tile Shop because it feels part farmhouse, part modern. The charcoal and milk colorway paired with a white grout imparts a faded-out look at the seams that I love.
2. Area Rug
This guy! $30 at Urban Outfitters. Every space needs a black accent for drama and depth. This also hides all manner of spills and sins.
3. Backsplash Tile
Speaking of, I was drawn to this ceramic tile because I was wanted a clean and minimal graphic like subway tile, but a bit more unique. This 2″ hexagon from Home Depot is a nod to the asphalt blocks I see on my runs (walks?) along the Brooklyn Promenade, a little something inspired by the neighborhood.
Plants simply bring warmth to a space in my opinion. Succulents are nice on kitchen counters because they’re tight and their leafiness won’t get in the way of cooking. And brightly colored planters allow for a color scheme that can change with the seasons.
This is where I got to add some “jewelry” to my design. I chose the simple dimpled Mid-Century Knob for the cabinets, and the squared-off Greenwood Pull for the drawers, both from Schoolhouse Electric. I love that they’re handmade in the US from recycled brass. The faucet is the Trinsic in champagne bronze from Delta, but the “wet bar” version, which works better in smaller spaces. It’s also quote sexy for something rated so highly for longevity and functionality (note: it is totally normal to rank the sex appeal of a faucet).
6. Accents / Kitsch / Doo-dads
Keeping in line with the brass, I added some character with a few small brass accents. I know the brass trend may have peaked, but I personally cannot get enough of it. You could say these additions speak to two of my favorite kitchen activities: crafting cocktails and popping open a brew. The plaque is from a road trip to that took me and a few friends through Malibu a few years ago. I may mount it on the island to make a real “I’m on a ship!” statement, but for now it rests in a book nook.
7. Custom Grill
Alright, last brass thing (promise). This custom grill covers a non-functionining heater and replaces and old, heavy steel grate. This picks up on some of the graphic qualities of the floor but in an old-school Grecian pattern.
8. Wood Elements – utensil holder, cutting boards, countertops
To balance some of the stark white and harder surfaces like the white wood cabinets and Caesarstone countertops, I used a 2″ thick walnut for the island surface, and echoed the finish in the form of a teak utensil holder and natural wood cutting boards. The cutting boards are in constant rotation and do double-duty, covering the electrical sockets when not in use.
So, this is all she wrote for now, the highlights from a journey still in progress. There could be more updates coming your way in the form of new accessories and details, but hopefully I’ll be too busying enjoying them to report back.
UrbanOutfitters – area rug
Anthropologie – planter
Whisk – teak utensil holder
Malibu Farm – brass plaque
Delta – sink faucet
ArchGrille – custom grill
Schoolhouse Electric – cabinet hardware
Home Depot – Merola Hexagon Tile
Cement Tile Shop – floor tiles
PH Architectural Woodworks – all custom cabinetry and millwork