Kitchen Renovation Update: Closets, Colors, Cabinets and More!

It’s been a while since we’ve chronicled the kitchen renovation on the blog! Here’s how things are taking shape so far.

The Guest Room

The kitchen renovation wouldn’t be possible without the guest room playing a major role. If you remember, in order for us to remove the massive furnace closet taking up 6′ of space in the kitchen, we needed to steal room from the shared wall of the guest room. Our guest room was always an awkward shape (a result of home updates over the decades prior to us), so taking that space from the guest room was a non-issue for us. As a reminder, this is what the guest room used to look like, and this is a quick mock-up of our plan:

And, and! We’re making so much progress! The walls are down, the furnace has been moved (more on that in a minute), and framing is in. The new closet will have a light (for the first time ever), and we’re installing additional outlets in the room and the closet (hello, hidden vacuum cleaner!). It was our contractor who suggested adding a pocket door to save even more space in an already small room, and we were so in. We’ve worked with our contractor for years, he knows us really well, and he’s always down to come up with creative solutions to bring our ideas to life.

If you’ve never seen what a pocket door looks like without drywall, now you do! (We’ve also shared the anatomy of a pocket door in the past, too. We love our pocket doors!) Our contractor purchased the pocket door hardware, and we picked out a simple 24″ door. I’ve since ordered a slim dresser, mirror and new rug for this room, and we plan on giving it a mini refresh in the next week. This is also the last room in our whole house where the squat 3″ baseboards remain, so we’ll be pulling that up and installing the same 6.5″ trim we have throughout the rest of our home.

For those that have asked, this is the pocket door hardware we ordered. Clean lines, great price, and enough of a lip to easily pull open and closed.

The Furnace

The furnace shuffle has happened! As of today, our HVAC contractor is finishing up the connections. The photo below, on the right, is still temporary connections, so it looks different as of this morning! There was a delicate dance between our GC and our HVAC contractor, since it required demo up front (GC), removing and moving of furnace (HVAC), additional demo and moving of gas lines (GC) and final hookup and install of the furnace (HVAC). Just like our GC, we’ve been working with our HVAC contractor for years, and he also understands how, um, particular we are about, well, everything.

old furnace location
new furnace location

He was able to problem solve everything from the move, to the size and scale of the closet, to re-routing ductwork that allowed us to completely eliminate a kitchen soffit! He even relocated the furnace return so it was less visible, and for that alone, I will love him forever. The only downside – which is also a bit of an upside! – is that we ultimately made the move to a high efficiency furnace in the process. Not only for us, but for our downstairs neighbors, too. While this was an unexpected up front cost (downside), we’ll have lower utility bills effective immediately (upside!). I’d also be amiss not to mention the SOUND. It’s so much quieter! It feels really, really good to finally re-do some of the work that was done prior to us, in a way that not the most efficient.

The Appliances

They’ve been ordered! I can’t speak about them much since we don’t have them yet, but we couldn’t be more excited with where we landed. After visiting our local Abt (for which many of you were just as excited as us – wow, that place is like adult Disneyland!), we fell hard for Fisher & Paykel appliances. We chose all panel ready, meaning they’ll have cabinet fronts and blend right in, with the exception of the range, which is induction! After reading Ashley’s post on environmentally friendly cooktops and doing more research of my own, I couldn’t feel more confident in this decision.

The Decisions

Not surprisingly, demolition has required a lot of decision making, and quickly. While we did a lot of our homework up front, you just never know what you’re going to find behind the walls of a 135-year-old house. Knock on wood, but I think a lot of the demolition and framing decisions are behind us, and it’s on to the fun decisions – like cabinets, colors and tile!

The sample door (below) is the ‘Madison’ from Cabinet Joint. We will dive more into our choice to go with Cabinet Joint as well as the configuration once we finalize them ourselves, but I can say we’re thisclose to signing off on the plans! All tile samples are from The Tile Shop, and the colors are Sherwin Williams.

I can’t shake the idea of a red kitchen. Not too bright, not too cranberry, not too pink, maybe more… terracotta? Like, a soft red. Scott surprised me by loving this idea from my first mention, so I think it’s time to listen to my gut and run with a color that makes me happy! Right now, that color is SW Reddened Earth, which feels like the perfect mix of soft red, terracotta and muddy mauve. We picked up some samples and will start testing them around the kitchen soon!

Once we nail down the color, we can decide on the tile. I can already say that I’m leaning towards the square tile (bottom right), perhaps with a soft grey grout. And countertops? We are SO torn between soapstone – something we considered in our first kitchen renovation, but chickened out – or a brighter quartz. Maybe even marble. Can you tell I honestly have no idea? Heh. We know that there are a lot of opinions on countertop materials, but I’ll say that we would be perfectly happy with a natural stone that may patina, show age and/or requires maintenance. There’s beauty in that, I think.

I’m pretty sure this brings us to today, but make sure to follow along in Stories @yellowbrickhome for day-to-day updates! I really dive into detail over there, and your enthusiasm for this renovation is contagious. Thank you for being a part of the YBH community!

PS: This post explains why we’re renovating the kitchen, and I recently shared this 135-year-old item we found behind the walls.

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  • Stacy4.20.22 - 6:09 AM

    I LOVE soapstone, and in a house as old as yours I think it would be gorgeous; soapstone just feels like an “old” material to me. It seems like your kitchen gets enough light to make a darker cabinet + countertop combo work, but I understand the pressure too choose something brighter. I’m sure it’ll be beautiful either way – I know, so helpful! – and I particularly love kitchen renovations, so I am excited to follow along with this project!ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.20.22 - 8:56 AM

      I’m still looking at inspiration photos to determine if I want dark or light countertops… it’s so tough!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle4.20.22 - 7:45 AM

    The cabinet profile is really a beautiful choice and the colors are very “you” and where your home has been trending color-wise for the past few years so stick with your gut! On the guest bedroom debate – you made mention of a daybed type situation giving more room in the room and I have to ask you; why? Why do your guests need more room in the room vs each person being able to get out of bed without climbing over someone else?  I would argue the point of the guest room is for your guests to spend time with you – outside of the room, so I’m not sure why with a closet and a dresser they’d need more room than that other to change and sleep. Also there’s the aging consideration as your parents get nearer my parents age and getting out of a regular bed takes time, let alone multiple times a night. Maybe a floor plan sketch would help lay it out? Maybe a dresser isn’t really needed at all? Would under bed storage be a more practical solution for a smaller room? I think there’s so many other options to look at – can’t wait to follow along. ReplyCancel

    • Amanda4.20.22 - 9:26 AM

      I 110% agree with the comments regarding the bed positioning!  I HATE climbing over someone to go to the bathroom at night. I also do not sleeping against a wall- it’s always so cold! I think in Lucy’s room the daybed idea is such a delight, but in this application it would end up frustrating guests of all kinds, not just those aging.ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.20.22 - 10:26 AM

      Thank you for your thoughts! We’ve been considering ALL of these things. Can’t wait to share where we end up – we’ve already ordered a few items!ReplyCancel

  • Bailey4.20.22 - 7:57 AM

    Looove the red paint samples!! But it’s not clear if the color is for cabinets or walls?? Can’t wait to see it done!!ReplyCancel

  • Megan4.20.22 - 8:59 AM

    My living room is Canyon Clay and I LOVE IT. Can’t wait to see how the kitchen turns out!ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.20.22 - 10:24 AM

      Oooh, how can I see pics?! Can you DM me on Instagram? I’d love to see!ReplyCancel

  • Joanna L4.20.22 - 9:00 AM

    Just wow. I am so excited to see this kitchen come together. You two are always an inspiration around my house! ReplyCancel

  • Megan Powell4.20.22 - 9:34 AM

    Looking GREAT! So cool to see how much extra room you’ve already got! And the red terracotta colours, are gorgeous. When I was first reading it I was like “really?!” but then I saw the colours and now I’m like “Oh yeah” that’s going to be gorgeous! ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey4.20.22 - 10:45 AM

    I can’t wait to see this come together, it’s going to be so unique and beautiful! I’m personally team soapstone all the way! I think the warm cabinets and dark counters would be amazing! Looking forward to seeing what you choose :)ReplyCancel

  • Betsy4.20.22 - 12:12 PM

    How long did the moving of your furnace take?  I’ve commented before, that I am also moving a furnace, and water heater, to gain almost the exact same square footage in my kitchen.  But the thought of no A/C, in the humid summer, is making me nervous.  With 2 big dogs, the thought of finding temporary housing is daunting.  I know mine will probably be different.  But a guesstimate would be awesome.  Looking forward to seeing where you end up.ReplyCancel

    • Scott4.20.22 - 1:24 PM

      All in all it took about 2.5 working days. We always try to handle work like this in the spring and fall if we can. Avoiding extreme high or low temps make a day or two without HVAC more bearable. Hope this helps and best of luck with the move.ReplyCancel

      • Betsy4.20.22 - 4:06 PM

        Thanks for the quick reply. Scott!  I can handle 3-4 days, making other arrangements for accommodations.  Would be much easier, without 2 big dogs.  Look forward to seeing where you end up.ReplyCancel

  • Julie4.20.22 - 12:30 PM

    Yes to outlets in closets! You are the first person I’ve read who’s mentioned that concept. Yah, hello vacuum in the closet! We are finished up our duplex build and I had the electrician put outlets in ALL the closets – “hello, cordless vacuum port, charging stations galore!”ReplyCancel

    • Scott4.20.22 - 1:21 PM

      Yes! And we’re huge champions of outlets in pantry spaces for hidden microwaves and small appliances too.ReplyCancel

  • nancy4.20.22 - 1:29 PM

    i have soapstone on white cabinets and love it. i prefer the soapstone to the quartz (a white with grey speckles) i have on my blue/grey cabinets.  The soapstone is a much nicer surface and easier to clean.  the quartz never feels clean and streaks.  i learned two things searching for the soapstone 1/ we are lucky to live in the chicago area where i could find choices in my soapstone 2/ i prefer a soapstone that reads black as opposed to green.  i had to search for it (and get it wet to make sure).  if i redid my kitchen i would do it all in soapstone.  but i can see your hesitancy with the terracotta cabinets.ReplyCancel

    • Scott4.20.22 - 1:35 PM

      Great feedback! Do you mind if we ask where you ended up finding your soapstone slabs?ReplyCancel

      • Nancy4.21.22 - 10:44 AM

        it was damar natural stone imports in northbrook.  unfortunately that was in 2015 and it is no longer in business.ReplyCancel

        • Scott4.21.22 - 12:21 PM

          Oh, bummer! I’m sure we’ll find some local options.ReplyCancel

  • Jonib4.20.22 - 2:04 PM

    Thank you for still posting to your blog. I’ve lost so many wonderful blog reads to Instagram!ReplyCancel

  • M4.20.22 - 3:45 PM

    Is the door to the furnace closet in the kitchen or the guest room? ReplyCancel

  • Yellow4.20.22 - 5:15 PM

    We installed soapstone in the kitchen of our 1930’s Tudor revival over five years ago and it’s still the most beautiful thing in the room. After the initial oiling there’s been zero maintenance and we’ve never had any issues. 10/10, highly recommend!ReplyCancel

  • Cici Haus4.21.22 - 8:46 AM

    We chose soapstone for our last kitchen (my dream kitchen!) and I am obsessed. I don’t know that I’ll ever use anything else! ReplyCancel

  • Cailin4.21.22 - 8:50 AM

    You should consider quartzite counters! Beautiful natural stone that’s super durable – I’m in the middle of a kitchen remodel myself (!) and went with Taj Mahal quartzite and actually that survivor color works probably look stunning with the color scheme you’re doing! Good luck with everything!ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.21.22 - 10:09 AM

      Thanks, we’ll check it out! We have quartzite now and love it, but we’d also like something with a more matte finish.ReplyCancel

    • Cailin4.21.22 - 6:15 PM

      Whoops, auto correct, meant to say that particular color would look stunning with your color scheme!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel4.21.22 - 11:12 AM

    K Can I please have you design my kitchen? ;) I am so excited to see how it turns out. I just got my <a href=””> kitchen cabinets refinished</a> to their original color that looks similar to the darker color option you are looking at. I have loved it and it is so versatile. I highly recommend!ReplyCancel

  • Sandra4.21.22 - 6:40 PM

    We are gutting our kitchen in our reno this summer.  All my choices are unconventional and my contractor/designer has warned me of limitations but he’s happy to do what I want. My countertops will be soapstone and, on the island, butcher block.  My floors cork – we have cork flooring now and love it.  And my cabinets will be stained maple (except the island that will be matte black.).I have coveted soapstone countertops for years and can’t wait.ReplyCancel

  • Meredith4.22.22 - 8:28 PM

    Love the idea of soapstone with the red cabinets in terms of being lower contrast between the two! Maybe thinking about it that way will help you make a decision one way or the other :) it’s going to be so beautiful!ReplyCancel


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