Sunday, August 28, 2005
The Purple House #2
Charming, renovated kitchen is where family shares joys, sorrows
Sun Aug 28 2005
Room for Change/Connie Oliver
LINDA WENSEL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Charming renovated kitchen is where family shares joys, sorrows
(Part 2 in a series of 3)
LAST week we met Laurie and Willie Goetz who were kind enough to allow us into their charming East Kildonan home. The couple has maintained the architectural integrity of their 1921 home wherever possible. The high ceilings, large decorative trim, arched doorways and hardwood floors are at the heart of what this home is all about and also why the Goetz family loves it so.
The family's antiques and collectibles are in keeping with the essence of this house and are wonderfully displayed and accented. The only room that has had a major overhaul is the kitchen. Blending a new style with existing vintage design is a daunting task, but one that the Goetzes did beautifully.
In planning their design the couple spent some time poring over magazines and kitchen pamphlets to get some ideas of the type of style that would suit their needs and the homes character. Laurie advises me that they made a very conscious effort to tie in the kitchen to the age and the character of an older home. They compiled a list of all of their favourite features, details and finishes and were happy that they agreed on almost every point.
"Once we decided on our cabinet design and type, we got several quotes from different cabinet makers and were amazed at the different range in price quotes that we received," says Laurie. "I would always encourage others to get more than one estimate. It totally pays off, especially when you're on a tight budget. While we planned to do much of the work ourselves, we did go with a professional company to custom build our cabinets." I commend the Goetzes on their choice to have the cabinets custom made. The irregular layout of the kitchen and the angled ceiling are a challenge, even to professionals. The outcome is spectacular and well worth the additional cost, in my view. They did save money by installing the custom cabinets once they were ready.
With the cabinets ordered and being built, Willie and the couple's four boys had the greatest time gutting the old existing kitchen. Tearing down walls and ripping out cabinets is a job that these young men could really sink their teeth into and it's nice that the entire family could be involved in some way. Working within the existing outer walls, the couple was able to expand the kitchen space opening walls at the dining room entrance, the mud room entrance and the stairway area to the second floor. Willie made the extra effort to arch the main doorway (from the dining room) giving it an Old World feel. Fluted casings were added around all of the new entryways and were painted with an antiqued finish similar to the cabinets. The couple decided to keep the original pot-bellied stove as a unique feature in their new kitchen. "We hired a stone worker to apply an amazing cultured stone finish on the one piece behind the old stove," says Laurie " and we use it all winter to add warmth and a cosy ambience to the room."
This added feature took more time and labour, but is well worth the effort. It really supports the vintage look that the couple was going for.
On a large job such as this it's nice to have help along the way. Willie installed a heating floor system in preparation for new ceramic tile flooring before his brother, Sieg, installed the ceramic tile flooring. When the cabinets were ready, these two handymen installed them. Their friend, Henry, built the hood fan per the couple's design and once installed, Laurie put a coat of Venetian plaster over top to match the plaster finish she created on the stairs. All the windows have been replaced and most of the openings enlarged. Some new windows were added as well where there were none. The kitchen is on the west side of the house, so the couple wanted to bring in as much light as possible.
"Our brushed stainless-steel appliances were purchased new," advises Laurie. "In our 20 years of marriage, we have never owned a new appliance, not even a toaster. I was so thrilled that I hugged my oversized fridge until the delivery man asked me politely to move aside so he could carry in my new gas stove convection oven," Laurie chuckles. I think most women know how this situation feels. While I have had new toasters over the years, the new appliance bug still hits me from time to time.
Laurie shopped around to find the perfect counter stools for their gorgeous granite countertop and chose an amazing Tiffany-styled light fixture to hang over the breakfast nook. New co-ordinating dishes and flatware complement some of Laurie's vintage pieces that she wasn't ready to part with. A caramel-coloured paint was applied to the walls and complements the warm tones of the space.
Doing a major renovation job yourself can be a lesson in patience. A kitchen job is especially taxing because of the lack of cooking space available during the work phase. "Dust and clutter seemed to spread throughout every room," remembers Laurie. "Because we were doing most of the work ourselves, things obviously took much more time than they would have had we hired out. Many of these months we were doing dishes in the upstairs bathroom or eating out of paper plates," she says. "You can only imagine trying to feed four constantly hungry boys under these circumstances." To keep her composure during the difficult times Laurie took long walks or bike rides when possible.
The entire renovation took about six months, which isn't bad considering all that was accomplished. There are still some minor details to tend to, but for the most part the kitchen is functional and beautiful.
"Our kitchen has truly become the heart of our home," says Laurie. "It is where we share meals with our family and friends, share life's joys and sorrows, laughter and tears. It is where after-school snacks are devoured and homework is done. It is where quiet reading on a cold blustery winter day (and we have plenty of those) in the middle of winter with a wood fire burning brings a sense of comfort," she says fondly. Now that the kitchen reno is complete, I can only assume that it was all worth it. Laurie is delighted with her new kitchen, but said: "Just don't ask if I'd ever do it again."
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