The kitchen windows face to the north, to the driveway, so that I can see whether my guests are arriving for dinner. The bump-out picture shows these three windows from the outside. The bump-out gives me a slightly deeper countertop near the windows, providing space for some plants.
The concrete countertop is by far my favorite part of the kitchen. T.B. built forms on the lower cabinets and poured the concrete in place. We added a coloring powder to the concrete before pouring, which gave it a nice brown color. After the concrete had cured, T.B. spent a couple of days polishing the surface so that it is silky-smooth, and then sealed it with several coats of acrylic. It is not quite bulletproof, but not at all delicate either. It has the seamless feel of Corian or granite, but has a wonderfully earthy, organic look to it. The materials are less expensive, of course, but the overall the cost is in the same range as these other materials, because of the intensive labor required for building the forms, pouring and working the concrete, and polishing and finishing it.
The cabinets are made by Kraft-Maid, sold through Home Depot. They have a clear maple finish, and shaker style moldings. The original plan called for an additional maple cabinet at the end of the peninsula, but when we placed it on the counter the effect was awful. It blocked too much of the view to the river, separated the kitchen from the great room, and took up a substantial chunk of counter space.
I didn't want to completely eliminate that cabinet, however, as I needed a place for plates and bowls -- and I wanted it to be convenient to the counter, the dishwasher and the dining room table. In trying to come up with a more open cabinet, I remembered what T.B. had done in my storage shed, using threaded rods to hang shelves. So we adapted the threaded rods notion for the kitchen. The shelves are MDF, painted to match the other interior trim colors. The threaded rods are secured inside the soffit at the top, then go through holes in the shelves. Sections of painted metal pipe separate the shelves from each other and also camouflage the rods. Nuts at the bottom hold it together. As it happens, I have been collecting plates and other serving pieces in various bright colors for almost 30 years, so this also gives me a fun way to enjoy them.
There is another special cabinet, almost out of site in the photograph above (see the gold trim at the top of the picture). It's built into the soffit over the peninsula, and is the perfect place for the turkey roaster, giant serving bowl, crock pot, waffle iron and other items that I don't use very often. I have a small oak stepladder that allows me to reach up there.
The range is made by Dacor. It has a gas (propane) cooktop and an electric convection oven. It has many of the features of commercial-style ranges at a much more reasonable price, and has so far been wonderful to use. The cooktop is remarkably simple and easy to clean up after a spill, which is important for a wild and crazy cook like myself!
There is a lot of lighting. The photos show the lights in the soffits and under the counters, but there is also a large skylight and a track light on the ceiling. I never need to turn them all on, but it is nice to focus light on the task at hand.
In the next chapter we'll visit the master bedroom and bath, but not today I'm afraid, as I've run out of time! -- Donna
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